Hello all! This post is going to teach you how to make your own crystal bouquets. It's pretty simple once you get the hang of it, but it IS time consuming (so don't be like me and wait until the last couple of months before your wedding to make them!).
However, because we didn't want to spend the money on flowers, making crystal bouquets actually saved us a ton of money. We made seven bouquets (mine included), and thirteen bouts for just about $100, give or take, and that was with leftover crystals and wire.
- Crystals – They can be any kind you want. If you want a good deal, I bought mine from Fire Mountain Gems and chose the Celestial Crystals. Just as sparkly as Swarovski, but much cheaper! I used 8mm, clear AB, bi-cone and round shapes. The clear AB ones give off tints of color. Also, I believe you can return unused crystals in case you get too many!
- Power Drill
- Pliers – Needle nose will be best.
- 24 or 26 gauge wire – 26 is a little bit easier to work with, but 24 is stiffer. I used silver wire for my bouquets, but for the photos, I used black so it would show up better.
- Wire cutters or scissors
- Hooks to put in the drill – I forgot what they're called, but you can find them in craft stores, you can see what they look like in the photo.
- A ruler to measure out the wire
- Ribbon to wrap the bouquets
Measure out 15 inches of wire or however long you want them to be. For these photos, I made them shorter. Put a crystal on the wire, and hook the crystal on the power drill. Pre-twist the wire near the hook, just to help get it started. This is just a preference, because it helps keep the crystal in place, so it doesn't get tangled in the wire as it twists up.
Twist the wire up using the drill, while holding the ends of the wire with your pliers to keep it straight. I couldn't find my pliers for the photos, so used little forceps, which also work really well since they're easier to hold the wire. It might be tempting to do this super fast, but be careful! If you're using thinner wire, the wire can snap. Go a little bit slower than the highest speed to make sure the wire doesn't break. Make sure to leave room to take the crystal off the hook.
Take the crystal off the hook.You can either leave the wire by the crystal with a little gap, or clamp it together. It just depends on your preference. Repeat as many times as you need to. (My bouquet had about 200 strands, the bridesmaids had about 100). The ends might be a bit straggly, you'll want to trim this off now, or later so you don't get poked by the wire!
You can put about three crystals on one strand, and it kind of makes a flower shape. I did this for the bouts for the guys/moms. I even put 5 beads on one strand for the pearl bouts that I made for the grandmothers, so they would make clusters. Just experiment, and see what looks good. You can always cut the crystals off the wire to start again!
Once you have all of your crystal strands, put them all together and fold the strands in half, or close to in half. This shortens the bouquet, which is why you want the wire to be about 15 inches in the beginning.
Take wire, and neatly wrap it around the wire to hold them in place. I used nearly a whole spool for this just to be safe it wouldn't come apart, and to tuck in all the ends. For the photo, I just did a small section to give you an idea of how to wrap it.
This is up to you, but I also wrapped the handle in black ribbon really tight. I ended up having to super glue the ribbon in place a little bit, b/c it started to unravel on some of them. It held fine after that. Then I added my ribbon. I just wanted to cover up the wire, and prevent getting jabbed by wire ends because I didn't do a very good job at trimming the ends.
Separate all the strands out. Start with the outer ones, and it's easier to make those the lower strands, then build up. If it helps, turn the bouquet upside down and pull the strands out. You'll probably need some kind of vase to put it in just to hold the bouquets after this step.
Add your ribbon if you want it (and if you don't know how to tie a bow, find a friend to do it for you, which is what I had to do!). I used two different kinds of ribbon for mine, and the bridesmaids.
In hindsight, I probably would have added more color to my bouquet so it would show up better (rainbow bouquet, anyone?), but it DID sparkle a lot! I used regular clear and lime green for the bridesmaids bouquets. For the bouts, I got some pearl beads, and different sized crystals (some from Hobby Lobby). It's fun to just play around with those.
Altering this process to make the boutonnieres:
Make the strands the same way you do for the bouquets, but smaller. I think I measured out 7 inches of wire, and then they're about 3 or 3.5 inches once you fold the ends up. As mentioned above, I added more crystals to some of the wires to make a more clustered effect. I also left them sans-ribbon. (This also gives you a good idea of how the bouquets are wrapped with the wire! Same thing!). Then I got some vertical pins to super glue on the back of each of the bouts, and they worked out great!