HOW TO: Make Your Own Corsage and Boutonnières on the Cheap… New Members, Confirmation, Etc.

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I love getting good ideas (and giving them) for DIY stuff on Pinterest and have a whole board full of ideas for church stuff. For me a perfect “Do it Yourself” project should have all of the following to be considered a success:

  1. There should be some significant reason to do the project myself vs. purchasing (either it’s easier, cheaper, better, or all of the above)
  2. The time investment in the project should not negate the money saved. (Time is money, people!)
  3. The end result should not look tragically “DIY’d” (See Pinterest Fails for some great laughs in this department.)
  4. The project should be fun and enjoyable (Admittedly this is subject to interpretation.)

One past DIY project that fits all of these criteria is the DIY photo booth I’ve written about here. I have several DIY “fails” that I’ve done once and never again because they’re not worth it. (Making your own baby wipes? Disaster in my experience. I digress.)

Here’s how this flower project came out using my criteria:

To point one: reason to do it yourself — For this project, the reasons were cost and convenience. Cost: Corsages/boutonnieres are $8-$15 on the inexpensive end of things, and these cost less than $2 each. (If I divided up all the money I spent on the number of coursages/boutonneires I made, the cost was $1.75 each, but I had a ton of supplies leftover, so the actual cost is even less.) Convenience: In my case, I had forgotten to order the flowers and remembered the day before I needed them. I called one place that couldn’t do it in time and wondered how much time I’d really be saving by the time I located a place that would do it and then drove over there to get them. I’m so glad I just took the plunge to give this a try.

To point two: time investment — The whole project took me one hour to do for 10 of them (five corsages and five boutonnieres) plus the time to shop for the supplies. It would have taken way less than that if I had done it before. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out how to make a bow that looked ok. I also spent about fifteen minutes watching various tutorials and researching the strategy before diving in. Now that I have all of the supplies I need (with the exception of flowers) I think making these in the future will be a breeze. Given that I saved (conservatively) $60.00 by doing these myself, I’d say that’s a good investment of time.

To point three: end result — These did not, in any way, look tragically DIY’d. They were certainly not fancy or over the top, but they got the job done, particularly for the occasion (a new member reception at church.) If I were doing these for a wedding or other formal occasion, I think I’d want to spend some time practicing in advance to make sure that the end result would be what I wanted to see.  I’d also play around with adding different greens or different kinds of flowers. The most challenging part (read: easiest to screw up) is the bow and ribbon, and those could be made in advance if you’re worried.

Other reasons to DIY corsages, especially in a church setting:

  • You can make them more eco friendly than buying (No plastic boxes or packaging needed to transport. You can skip the ribbon if you want.)
  • Endless customization options… Customize with funky jewelry you have lying around, for example
  • Fun project for a group (membership committee, for example)

Ready to give it a whirl? Here’s what I did (along with links to some really helpful videos):

First, gather your supplies.

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If you think you might want to do this sometime in the future, stock up on the supplies for everything sans flowers and make it easy on yourself when it’s time. Here’s what you need.

  1. Flowers (I used roses and baby’s breath. Both of them were from the grocery store.)
  2. Floral tape, like this. As you can see from the photo, I bought two packages. Didn’t even need 1/2 of one.
  3. Floral wire
  4. Ribbon: One of my biggest goofs in this process (and one I’ll definitely correct once I run out of the ribbon I have!) is to have bought a ribbon that doesn’t have a little bit of wire structure in it. This would have made the bow making process way simpler. I suggest something like this  (comes in a ton of colors!). What I had was more like this one. It worked fine, but it was hard to work with.
  5. Corsage pins (Don’t forget these! Can’t have corsages without being able to pin them on!)

Step two: Cut the flower(s) and tape.

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For the boutonnieres, I simply cut off the rose with a nice long-ish stem, maybe two inches. Cut longer than you think you want it at first, you can always make it shorter. Then I wrapped with the floral tape and called it good. (Note, do not tape over the very bottom if you want to get these in water if there will be a long time between when you make them and use them.)  I didn’t even add baby’s breath for the boutonnieres, though doing so would have made them a little more fancy. (Green leaves would be nice, too, but not an option at the grocery store.) For the corsages, I wrapped the baby’s breath together with the rose stem. Several of the tutorials I watch suggested wrapping a wire around the stem as well to give added strength. I think this would be more necessary with a flimsy flower stem. I didn’t mess with it for these because the rose stems were very sturdy. (Note: A friend with lots of flower experience reminds me that putting the wire through the stem and up in to the head a little and then taping will prevent the flower from drooping, particularly if you’re going to have some time between making and using. I didn’t notice any droop, but it was only about 18 hours in my case. Next time, I think I will do the wire step, just to be sure. It doesn’t take a lot of extra time.)

For the wrapping you should know that floral tape sticks on itself and works better when stretched a little bit. Also, it’s less sticky than you’d think. It takes a little bit of stretching and fussing to get it started, and to finish it off (at least in my non-experienced experience).

Step three: make a bow and attach to the corsage with wire. This is the trickiest part of the process, and I think there are a lot of options. The simplest option is to skip the bow all together. Ha! I’ve seen a bunch of intriguing bow making kits on amazon, but I know nothing about these. What I did was make the bow by wrapping the ribbon around my hand several times, slipping it off and wrapping a bit of wire around the middle. Then I wrapped that wire around the corsage itself. To get an idea, take a look at this video. The ribbon part starts at 3:23. (I did about 3 or 4 loops around my hand. The man in the video does 6.) Also, that video is great and shows the wrapping process as well. Wrapping starts at 1:45.

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Step Four: Admire Your Work!

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I stuck pins in the back so they’d be ready to go and then stuck them in the fridge. Not sure how long they’d last in the fridge with no water, but these were fine for the 18 or so hours they were hanging out before use. If you have less sturdy flowers or a lot of time between when you make and use, you might want to invest in some tubes like this. (I would imagine you could even re-use these, though I’m not sure.)

Other Videos I Consulted:

Corsage Bow – I tried this and it didn’t work for me. Looks pretty, though. I think using the type of ribbon shown in the video would help.

DIY wrist corsage – This one was mesmerizing to watch, but not all that practical for what I ended up doing.

How to Make a White Rose Corsage and Boutonniere – Same one that is linked above. By far the most helpful video.

Good Luck! Have you done this? If so, share your tips!  


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