Everything You Need to Know: How to Make DIY Boutonnieres

Love in Bloom: DIY Boutonnieres for Your Wedding
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Are you looking to DIY your wedding? Boutonnieres are one of the most fun ways to get your hands dirty. They're a small but elegant part of your wedding's aesthetic, with endless options for customization. Best of all, it's relatively easy to learn the basics.

We suggest using a hardy flower with a big head such as a rose or miniature calla lily; they can survive being handled. You can make a boutonniere the day before the wedding, and be sure to get extra flowers for practice. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make a boutonniere.

Step 1: Find Inspiration for your DIY Boutonniere

It's important to have a vision before actually making a boutonniere.

  • First, determine your overall wedding color palette. Your boutonnieres can either match it directly or be complementary colors.
  • As mentioned, a good place to start is with a large, sturdy central flower.
  • For accents, consider small flowers or leaves that stand out against the central piece. Ivy, baby's breath and even rosemary are good options.
  • Color variety is good, but try to keep it to two or three colors max to avoid things getting too busy.

Step 2: Selecting & Preparing the Bundles of Blooms

With your basic aesthetic locked in, your next step in making a boutonniere is to source some bundles of flowers.

  • Pick your bundles of bouquets.
  • Remove excess foliage and thorns, and pull off damaged petals.
  • Fill a sink or bucket with water, and holding the stems underwater, use the stem cutter or knife to cut the stems at an angle about two inches from the bottom.
  • Allow the flowers to drink for a few seconds with the stem ends underwater, then place the stems in a bucket filled halfway with cool water until you are ready to use them.
  • Knot Note: If you are working with roses and the heads aren't open yet, you can force the blooms open by placing the stems in a bucket of hot water; do this only for a couple of minutes just before you are going to use the roses, otherwise you might kill them.

Step 3: Choosing & Preparing Particular Flowers

Next, you'll want to pick the best flowers from the bundles you selected for making your boutonniere.

  • Choose a particular stem and/or flower for the boutonniere.
  • Use a stem cutter or sharp knife to cut the stem to a length of approximately three inches.
  • Create a bed for the flower: Take an ivy leaf, fern frond, or other bit of greenery and place it behind the flower.
  • Knot Note: The bed should not extend much beyond the top of the flower, and it should be visible from the sides.
  • Place a six-inch piece of wire behind the stems.

Step 4: Crafting the Boutonniere

Now it's time for the most fun part of your DIY boutonniere: actually making it!

  • Prepare the stems: Starting from the top of the stems, begin to wrap floral tape down the stems in a spiral to secure them together; wrap until about 3/4 of an inch is covered.
  • Trim away the excess stem and continue to wrap floral tape around the wire about three inches down, then wrap the tape back up toward the flower head.
  • Once you're back at the top, wrap the tape around several times to be sure it's secure.
  • Trim the excess tape.

Step 5: Securing the Boutonniere

When it's time to get dressed up, make sure you secure your boutonniere properly.

  • Finish the boutonniere stem: Trim the wired and wrapped stem so the total length is about 1 1/2 inches.
  • Curl the end around a pencil point and pinch the tip to finish it.
  • Attach a ribbon bow (if you like).
  • Depending on the weight of the boutonniere, insert one or two pearl-tipped pins into the stem to use later for attaching it to the lapel.

The DIY boutonniere is now complete! Mist it with water and place it in a resealable plastic sandwich bag (blow a puff of breath into the bag before you seal it to provide airspace around the boutonniere). You can place up to two boutonnieres in the same bag.

Adapted from The Knot Book of Wedding Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2002).

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