Monday, May 14, 2012

Brooch Bouquet Tutorial

This is ultimately how I wanted my brooch bouquet to look. I read a few tutorials and decided that this one and this one were very helpful. In the end, this one was what worked for me.

If you know me, you know that I’m a short cut taker. I like to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Reading both of the tutorials, it seemed like a lot of work was involved in the initial steps of twisting many strands of thin floral wire around each brooch to strengthen the “stem” and hold the brooch in place. What I couldn’t figure out, was why people did this, when there was a much thicker wire right next to the thin gage wire, that would be able to hold the same brooch up with only one strand versus what seemed like a thousand?

(Ummm…..duh? Of course I’m going to use the thicker wire. No brainer.)

Being the efficient person that I am, I snatched up a couple rolls of the thicker gage and went to town. Instead of twisting it around the pin of the brooch, I simply pulled Earl out and glued an L shaped piece of wire to the back. I made sure that the long side of the L, which would be the stem, was at least a foot long. I wanted to make sure there would be enough length to play with when making the actual bouquet.

So I rinsed and repeated about a bajillion times. And there were a couple casualties. I found on one or two of the silver brooches, that if they sat too long, the glue could just be peeled off (that big one in the left hand corner was one such casualty). It seemed like the weight of the brooch overpowered the adhesiveness of the glue. Oh well; can’t win them all.

The next step is where it gets a little dicey. I read one tutorial that instructed to create a few mini bouquets, and then combine them. This did not work AT ALL for me. I found the easiest thing to do was combine the larger brooches to create a mini bouquet, and then secure them with duct tape. I slowly added two or three brooches around the sides, and would wrap with duct tape again. I never tried to add more then four at a time, because it got a little tricky when trying to tape them. It was basically a huge puzzle where I had to fit all the brooches together.

You can see all my supplies in this picture. They included needle nose plies, wire cutters, duct tape, thick floral wire, and Earl, just incase.

Once I had assembled the bouquet, I cut about eight strips of burlap six inches long by two inches wide. I used these to hide the bottom of the bouquet that would have shown all the stems. I folded them over, and then used duct tape to secure the two loose ends at the base of the bouquet, where the stems all came together.

Don’t mind Earl, he’s just hanging out.

Then, I made sure everything was wrapped nice and tight in duct tape. You can see I chose a very bright colored tape. I covered the stems in burlap, making sure it folded over the bottom and covered up the wire at the bottom.

Then, I wrapped the bottom in twine! None of that girly, phoo phoo ribbon crap here. I started at the top of the bouquet, working my way all the way to the bottom. Once I reached the bottom, I worked the twine back to the top.

Once the twine made it back to the top, I secured the loose twine with my hot glue gun. I tried using corsage pins like the tutorial suggested, but couldn't get them to go in all the way.

I left a loose piece of twin because I’m still debating adding my Aggie ring to the bouquet for the night.

And that, my friends, is how you make a brooch bouquet.

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