How to DIY your own brooch bouquet

June 24 | Guest post by Uggh

Tribe member Uggh took a few hints from some recent features, and dove right into DIYing a brooch bouquet! It's a fairly simple project, but requires a wee bit of time. So arm yourself with shiny brooches and earrings and have at'er!

Serious Bouquet Hardware!
Photo by Sara Jane Photography
[related-post align="right"]To collect the brooches I purchased two "lots" of vintage enamel brooches from eBay and filled in the rest with brooches and earrings I found on eBay and Etsy. I could have done it less expensively by digging through bins at the flea market, but I wanted only enamel flower brooches (no rhinestones or non-floral brooches), and I needed to limit the colors to blues, greens, whites and pinks (I wanted to emphasize silver tones over gold, as well). I needed to make sure that the bouquet complimented but did not compete with my colorful bridal outfit, which includes a marine blue chiffon dress and a colorful silk wrap of watercolor azaleas.

Materials:

Step 1:
See what you have. First, I spread out the collection and tried to find groupings that I liked together, or that seemed to fit nicely together (for example, a curved leaf to wrap the edge of a round flower).

Step 2:
Because I collected mostly brooches, I needed a way to wire them without damaging the clasps. The clip-on earrings were simpler to wire, but I did have one that broke when the clip pulled off due to the weight of the wire. I was able to use it anyway by wrapping the wire in the same way that I wrapped the brooches, but if it had been a different design, this earring would have been lost (or would have needed hot glue repair). The flower brooches that I collected had either bendable petals or small holes. I wrapped the wire around a couple of lower petals or through holes (barely noticeable because I used the dark green wire), and then wrapped it to itself underneath the pin to create a stem.

Note about "vintage style" versus actual vintage brooches: I purchased two brooches that were vintage "style" brooches. Avoid these. Both of them broke, and none of the vintage brooches had this problem. Also, they were harder to wire because they were made from casts or molds and did not have the moldable, bendable petals or the tiny detail holes, just the illusion of those details from the molds.

For larger brooches, I used two wires, one on each side of the pin, and then wrapped the wires together underneath to provide a better anchor. I created small groupings of one larger pin surrounded by 2-4 smaller pins of complimentary colors, arranging them together and then twisting their wires into a single stem. I then would add the small grouping to the larger bouquet, looking for places where the bouquet felt unbalanced.

Be sure to turn your bouquet frequently, hold it upside down and "fluff" out the brooches/wires. This will help you keep a nicely rounded/balanced shape. I didn't do this at first and have a couple of spots that are not as rounded as I would prefer. For added dimension and flexibility in design, I also twisted larger single brooches directly to the large bouquet in addition to the multiple smaller groupings. This made it easier to adjust the pins to fill in gaps, move things around as the design shifted, and "fluff" the bouquet to improve the shape.

Step 3:
I found that as I added pieces, some pieces would naturally reposition themselves to become background/underside pins, whether I liked it or not. To fix this, I set the bouquet upside down. In this position, I would reposition the wires to pull the pins that were naturally gravitating to a lower or side position back to a top position. This position was also best for repositioning brooches to improve the overall roundness of the bouquet and to help recreate a wider umbrella shape. The weight of the pins causes them to fall in a smaller mushroom shape and they need "fluffing," for lack of a better expression, in order to bring the pins back to the top of the bouquet and spread them out better.

Step 4:
The wires created the stem, but it was lumpy because, as I added brooches to the outside edges of the bouquet, the bulk of the wires were wound at the top of the bouquet, and the long wires were substantially thinner because those were limited to the first bunch of brooches to be wired together (where there was less built-up bulk).

To increase sturdiness and even out the width of the handle, I folded up the long ends to a length I liked, then wrapped them securely by wrapping a few more lengths of wire around the area.

Step 5:
Disassemble the foam toy, and take the top off. The foam noodle has a hole drilled through the center, which covers the plastic tubing of the squirt toy. Discard the tubing and cut two short lengths of the foam noodle. They are a nice perfect length of foam noodle to cover the pokey wires on the handle. Because this was a bath toy for toddlers instead of a larger pool toy, the foam noodle fits neatly in one hand.

After I got the bottom portion of the stems thick enough by wrapping additional wire around the folded up portion of the stem, I slipped the foam noodle over the wires. It fit snuggly, and made a nice, soft comfort-grip handle. I used the masking tape to cover the hole at the end of the noodle and keep the pokey wires at the bottom from sticking out. To make sure that the end was secured sufficiently, I also wrapped tape around the noodle up the stem. The handle was now a uniform width and a comfortable length. If you are taller or have larger hands, you may want your handle to be a few inches longer.

Step 6:
The bouquet looked great, but the green masking tape over the purple noodle was obviously not going to cut it. For the handle, I used the dress scraps from the heavier silk under-layer. I used the chiffon to create a chiffon "bed" underneath the bouquet umbrella shape to help protect my hands from errant pokey clasps and floral wire.

Wrapping the handle was honestly the trickiest part of the project, and it's not a super fancy or neat and tidily wrapped handle. The dark color of the dress fabric helps it look nicer than it really is. Because one edge of the fabric/ribbon was unfinished from the trimming shears, I tried to roll and twist the fabric a bit to keep the frayed edges from showing. The hardest part was figuring out how to wrap the bottom of the handle, and I still may unwrap it and try again. I found that it helped to use a couple of pins to pin the fabric in place along the bottom edge and then wrap from the bottom up, and back down again. I used decorative head pins to pin the ends in place.

I then used the chiffon dress trimmings to create a soft chiffon under-base under the head of the bouquet, to help reduce risk of getting poked by wires or clasps. I made small loops all the way around the bouquet, pinning the loops to the top of the foam noodle (I had to do this a few times to get the pins to go straight into the noodle and not poke out the other side). The noodle was really key to making the handle look "right" and pretty, because it gave me something to push the pins into so that I could create the chiffon ribbon bed underneath the pins.

A note about hot glue: I did not use any glue in this project. I didn't want to hot glue the pins and ruin the brooches, although there are a few pins with clasps that keep coming undone, and I may go back and glue those shut so that I don't get poked while carrying the bouquet.

Step 7:
How to store the bouquet: We have a long wait until the wedding next year, so I need to store the bouquet in a way that will preserve the shape. I found that it sits neatly in a tall Mason jar (this one is from Classico brand spaghetti), which helps give some support to the weight of the bouquet. I then placed the bouquet and jar into one of those zippered bags that blankets and pillows come in to help keep it clean and dust-free. It is now safely tucked onto a tall shelf inside my closet waiting to come out and play.

  1. I'm in the midst of starting to put my own brooch bouquet together – this is HUGELY helpful! It's pretty much what I was doing, but great detail about tipping it upside down, etc. (I had family & friends send me pieces & blogged about each, which was a neat project on its own!)

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  2. This is a great tutorial! Never would have thought to use a noodle.

    Makes me want to tackle this project myself!

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  3. Oh man, I looooovve this! I've been looking for a substitute to standard bouquets, toying with the idea of paper and such, but never thought about brooches!
    I need to start collecting.

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  4. Oh wow, I was just thinking today "I wish someone would post a tutorial on DIY brooch boquets". Woohoo it's my lucky day!

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  5. Yours turned out so beautiful!

    Thanks for this. I've actually spent the past few months bidding on brooch lots on eBay to build my own! Unfortunately, I never seem to win, but your tutorial will help me get started with the brooches I do have. :)

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    • For Ebay:
      Try the "Buy It Now" option and/or "Best Offer" option. I am making one of these Vintage Brooch bouquets for my own wedding.
      Good luck!

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    • Me Too!! I've just "won" my first two and awaiting there arrival. I'm addicted to eBay & brooch bidding now…gonna wait to see how well made these are before I continue.

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      • OH MY GOD! My partner thinks you might have the other half of my amulet. I have been absolutely crazy with watching auctions. I've also just started planning and have also won 2 auctions that I'm waiting to arrive! At one point this weekend, I was either bidding or watching over 50 auctions. I obviously need a 12 step program.

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  6. Ever since I saw the first one of these Brooch bouquets, I've wanted to make my own. Thanks for this helpful tutorial!

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  7. Great tute Uggh! JB Weld my dears. It's a girl's best friend. It's like liquid metal and it will glue anything (even a muffler). I used a thicker gauge wire for the stems, which makes it really easy to shape.

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  8. Love this!!!! My family is making me one for our wedding next year and a smaller one for my sister who is my one and only bridesmaid!!!! I have passed this along to them!!! thank you so much!!!

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  9. I am in the process of making my bouquet from vintage brooches…It is looking good but i was puzzled about how to fasten them in so thanks for this : )

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  10. that is UBER cute!! posting on our FB page as we speak!

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  11. Thank you so much for showing us how to create such a beautiful bouquet that will last without having to be dried.

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  12. Great tutorial! I also made a brooch bouquet with the help of my mother-in-law. The result looks about the same but we didn't use the same steps as you've described above. :)

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  13. I just made my sister's bridal bouquet and the bouquets for her party, though I DID NOT use the pool noodle! Too bulky and hard to work with! Instead, I used a bouquet holder filler with floral foam, which served as anchor for the wired brooches. The whole thing ended up looking very elegant and lovely!

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    • Just to clarify: the noodle was not a pool noodle, but a much, much smaller bath toy. I wrapped the wire stems together and then inserted them inside the center hole of the bath toy (with the top part removed) in order to make a comfortable/non-pokey handle to hold. I can hold my bouquet in one hand.

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  14. I'm thinking of making these for myself and (gulp) seven girls. What was the total cost of the DIY project? Am I insane?

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    • Hi Catherine — this can be a really inexpensive project, and a great way to add your "something old" from family and friends. I purchased most of the brooches and clip-on earrings that I used at about $3-5 each, which made it a bit pricier than I had wanted.

      You can expect to use between 4-5 dozen pieces for a large bouquet.

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      • Hello!

        First of all… AMAZING. Where did you begin to look for such affordable treasures? My wedding is in August of this year? Is it too late to start a project like this? Thanks so much.

        Nicole

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        • Nicole, I also made a brooch bouquet for my July 2010 wedding & started collecting items in January 2010. I'd say you have lots of time left – and for me, it was an amazing experience & I love looking at my bouquet everyday!

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        • My wedding is in August, and although I've been collecting brooches for a little while, I've just started putting the stems on.

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  15. Hi Catherine! I made my bouquet & three for my girls. I'd say I used between one & two dozen broaches for theirs, and maybe three or four dozen for mine. The pieces were almost all donated, so I can't say for sure the cost. But, I did buy some filler pieces on sale at a craft shop. My guess is that the wire will cost you about $5 a piece, and if you keep your broaches to $2/ea avg (you can buy groups of broaches on eBay, so you can get more variety for your money), you can maybe make bouquets for your girls for about $30 each, with yours likely costing more like $75 (cuz you'll find pretty, more expensive, pieces you'll just have to have!). Still a good deal compared to traditional florists, and a great keepsake. Also a lot of effort, but if you have some folks that will help you out, a great idea! Check out my blog – you'll see how I convinced family & friends to donate the pieces for my bouquet, making it that much more meaningful & cost-effective!

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    • I found the wire at save-on-crafts online for very cheap. I ended up using the leftover wire for several other projects (we made our centerpiece and larger decor flowers out of egg carton cardboard, which I wired, and we have plenty left over that we're now going to use to make mobiles out of our origami cranes).

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  16. I can't wait to try this out. I've seen so many pics of these for bridal bouquets but what about for the bridesmaids? Or how about as center pieces? Or for the guys? Just wondering how this look all fits together cause I love it!

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  17. thank you so much for this tutorial. i just bought a whole heap of vintage brooches from ebay, in preparation to make one of these, and got my floral wire today from ebay. so exciting! i can't wait to make one!

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  18. I especially like the fact that you can add your own brooch. Maybe something that's been handed down from your mom. <3

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    • Currently deep in brooch bouquet process. LOL!! Great tutorial! My super mad aircraft mechanic skills are helping out a lot! Safety wire is my middle name. I'm using a cordless drill to twist the wire saving my fingers and time. Also I'm super gluing the brooch pins in the closed position since I am not taking the thing apart. Helps with the getting stuck problem OUCH! Also using the big ole stretchy rings that are so popular right now, removing the ring part and BOOYA a freaking awesome "brooch" with convenient holes for the wire. Found some DOLLAR hair clips at Big Lots that are beautiful too. Good luch Chicas!!!

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      • Big THIS to using a drill. My fiancée suggested that and it has saved so much time and energy!

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  19. I've just started making this for my wedding in a few months, but the brooches are swivelling on the wire stem. How do I get them to stay stable and upright? Please help!

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  20. One trick to help keep upright and shape the bouquet is to use a colander or dome shaped strainer as a base, find one the size you want and cover with the 'flowers,

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  21. First of all, thank you sooooo much for this how-to! It's really helped me out, since the ones I've been eyeing on Etsy are going for $500-$600 (of course, far too expensive for my budget!).

    Big Question: Has anyone tried using those traditional foam bouquet holders for theirs? Or would the brooches be to heavy to be supported by those?

    Also, how heavy are they?

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