As the wedding designer for my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding this past July, I was tasked to find fun, unique, and non-traditional decor to fit their personal styles. One of the many projects on my wedding-to-do-list was making a brooch bouquet, which was a fun surprise for the bride! This bouquet served as the bride’s ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue’. I used vintage brooches that I had purchased from thrift shops, new brooches, brooches that had belonged to my grandmother and mother, as well as one blue brooch.
There are several great online video tutorials for making brooch bouquets; one I recommend watching is here by Jessica Flores. Disclaimer: I usually try to make all of my DIY projects on the cheap side, however expect to spend anywhere from $100-$200 on this bouquet (depending on how many brooches you desire).
1 Artificial Hydrangea Stem
TIP: Spend a few extra dollars and purchase a higher quality hydrangea bloom for this project. The more expensive blooms are fuller and have flower petals that are soft to the touch. For example, the Michaels near me will have cheaper quality hydrangea stems for $5.99 and the better quality stems for $9.99. For any other project, the cheaper quality is usually fine but this is a special occasion and worth the extra $4!
22 Gauge Jewelry Wire
(~2 ft of wire per brooch & choose a color of wire that matches your brooches!)
White Floral Tape
2 Vases (optional)
Let’s get to work!!
Start by cutting the leaves off of your hydrangea. The next step is to determine the stem length of your bouquet. I recommend allowing room for two hands to grip the stem (~8-10 inches below the start of the hydrangea bloom). Cut your hydrangea stem to the desired length using a wire cutter (I’d advise wearing gloves as these stems can be difficult to cut).
Then, wire all of your brooches!
TIP: Pick brooches that have special meaning (initials, animals, musical notes, beach-themed, states, shapes, and even pirate-themed…yes, they have a brooch for everything these days!) Shop thrift shops and try not to pay more than $2 or $3 for any brooch. If shopping on amazon, you can get them in bulk for less than $1 a brooch. Another good online brooch source is fabulous brooch. Expand your search to include large beads, necklace pendants, clip-on-earrings, and other trinkets (mine included all of these!). Even more fun-if you have the time (and pre-planning skills!) use brooches you and your fiance have picked up on vacations, or day trips, or have given one another as gifts, etc.
Again, be sure to choose a color of wire to match your brooches. I prefer 22 gauge wire, but you can use anywhere from 20-24 gauge. To support the weight of the brooches, you will need to wire two sides of each brooch (maybe more if you use a higher gauge wire). Begin by cutting a length of wire two times longer than the desired height for the brooch (now that your stem is cut, place the brooch at the top of the bouquet and cut double the amount of wire needed to reach the bottom of the stem).
Loop your wire through your brooches. Most brooches have quite a few gaps in-between all of the pearls and crystals (picture #2) – starting from underneath your brooch, thread your wire through one of these gaps towards the outer edge of the brooch and pull the wire about halfway through the wire. Then push the wire back down through a second gap as close as you can to the first gap you pushed your wire through. Put both ends of the wire together and pull tight. Then twist the wire tightly all the way down to the bottom of the wires (you can use pliers for this step if more comfortable). Complete this same process on the opposite side of the brooch.
You should end up with two pieces of wire (doubled up and twisted) attached to your brooch on opposite sides (#5). Next, twist these two portions of wire together (#6). In the end there should two doubled-up wires twisted together, a total of four wires supporting each brooch.
When finished, I placed my brooch ‘flowers’ into a wide-mouth vase to keep them from tangling and you know…keep from pricking myself with the wires…
Then comes the fun part! Arranging the brooch ‘flowers’ in the bouquet!! The placement is completely up to your artistic eye! I did purchase about 5 or so dangly brooches that I purposely placed around the outer lower edges of the bouquet so they would dangle when the brooch was carried. I tried to vary the color, size, and shapes throughout the bouquet.
Once you have determined where you want a brooch to go, stick the wired end through the hydrangea bloom until the brooch is at the desired height. Then twist the wire all the way down the stem of the hydrangea. This gets more difficult the more brooches are added. Just be patient and get a bit creative if you have to. It helps if the wire end of each brooch ‘flower’ comes to a point with no straying wires, so feel free to clip those off or use floral tape to tape the very ends of the wire together. The brooch may move from the desired location as the wires are twisted down the stem, no worries, just bend it back into position when you are done. Be careful while handling the bouquet as the stem is covered in sharp wires just waiting to stab you! Haha. I used a white vase as seen below to hold my bouquet when I was not working on it.
I also added ribbon roses into my bouquet using a metallic-looking ribbon as well as a gold silk ribbon. I made the ribbon roses using this Martha Stewart tutorial. Sorry, I’m lazy and don’t have any pictures of that. I applied a wire to the bottom of the ribbon flowers using hot glue and then applied an additional piece of ribbon to the underside of the ribbon flower, locking in the wire.
Once the bouquet is complete, CAREFULLY wrap the stem in floral tape to cover up all of the pokey wires!!! I would advise wearing work-gloves for this portion. Apply the floral tape very taught. At first some wires will poke through, but as you keep applying layers of floral tape, eventually all of the wire should be coated nicely and the bouquet will be safe to handle. I used a bit of hot glue just to secure the ends of the floral tape. Again, sorry no pictures.
Then I used a silky white ribbon to tie wrap the bouquet stem using this tutorial by Talmage McLaurin (only I did it in reverse with the bow at the top of the stem & I wrapped the entire stem once around in ribbon first so that no floral tape would show through the gaps). There are so many tutorials out there for different wrapping styles/designs. You can have so much fun incorporating different colors or using lace and burlap for a more rustic-themed wedding, the possibilities are endless!
To top it off, I attached the strings of pearls to wires holding the lower brooches so that the pearls would droop six times around the bouquet in roughly even spacing. I did a final fluffing and tweaking of all the brooches and VOILA! (Pardon my hand holding up the bouquet!)
So this whole bouquet was a surprise to my sister, but of course I had to tell her somewhat in advance of the wedding so that she wouldn’t order a last minute bouquet (which is what she had planned to do, even though a brooch bouquet was what she really wanted). However, I did leave the last detail below as a surprise to my sister for the day-of. For you to understand the following, I have to explain to you just how much my sister and her husband LOVE their two cats. These cats are their babies and their whole world. They wanted so badly for them to be included in the wedding day in some way. So, I bought a small locket pendant, printed off pictures of their two cats, placed them in the locket, and then tied it to the bouquet with a gold ribbon.
She cried! Awesome moment achieved! If I were to do this for myself, I would place pictures of my grandparents who have passed (again so many possibilities!).
This bouquet takes some time and patience. It helps if you can get some friends/family to help you twist wires! But, it is going to be something that you can keep as a memento of your wedding day & use in your home decor!!