Saturday, June 2, 2012

Amazingly Cheap Flower Bouquet

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

For my wedding, I knew I did not want real flowers.  I couldn't see spending our already tight budget on items that would die within a day or two.  Yet, I'm not a fan of artificial flowers either... so I had to come up with something to suit my taste and keep as a memento, if I wanted too.

Another large factor in moving forward with our wedding, was being able to transport any ideas/crafts easily.  At the time I started making these: my husband had received an Honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, we were living between the homes of family members and friends, and trying to move to New York state.  Since, I didn't want to stop planning for our upcoming wedding - I had to make sure that whatever I was creating was transportable, had a small footprint in the rooms we were crashing in, and filled my boring days with something creative.

After searching the internet for ages, I found and the amazing "T-Shirt Flower Wedding Bouquet".

These flowers fit all my criteria:
- Fabulous and unique.
- Portable! (Throw in a grocery bag and move!)
- Cheap and simple.
- Fairly fast to make (and kept my attention).

Items Needed: (* Notes items that I already had one hand).
- Thread - $2.50*
- 5-7 Old t-shirts (cotton works best) - $.50 to $1.00 each
- Scissors (or rotary cutter and cutting mat) - $6.00+*
- (Optional) Thimble. - Cheap!
The following items are needed but not necessary until you want to assemble everything together.
- Hot Glue Gun - $3.00*
- Hot Glue Sticks - $7.00*
- Twigs (or any other 'stem' type object) - FREE
- Fabric Tulle - $1.99 with 50% off sale.
- String/Hair Tie/Rubber Band - FREE
- Fabric Tac (optional - found at Wal-Mart in the craft/sewing area) - $7.00*

TOTAL: $30.49
Please note - 5-7 shirts makes a ton of flowers!  Not all the flowers from these shirts went towards the bouquet alone.  I used leftover flowers for centerpieces also (included in this total).

Since, these flowers were the FIRST concept for our wedding (we hadn't even set a date yet!), and I didn't have a job - I made a TON of these.  Usually, I was able to produce 10-15 a week... depending on how my poor fingertips felt. 

1) Start off with a basic t-shirt and cut all the seams off.

(Photo Courtesy of Google Images with my yellow edits)

I even utilized the sleeves, that way I had large, medium, and small flowers. :)

The Brides Cafe has an amazing photo tutorial for steps 2-9.

2) You then slice the cut-outs into 2" strips.  This part is WAY EASY, if you have a rotary cutter and cutting mat.  I, on the other hand had a yard stick, scissors, the floor (no table), and a fabric marking pen.  Took way longer then it needed too!  Once we had settled into NY and I had the cutter and mat - my life was a lot simpler!

3) Once you have your 2" strips, start making cut marks along one side of the long edge, like so...

My marks were very random... no rhyme or reason.

4) Place the 3 strips on top of each other... keep all cut sides together.

5) Start rolling all 3 strips together (like a Swiss Cake Roll... yum!).  

6) Once you get a tiny roll (or two) in, thread your needle into the non-cut side to hold all the pieces together.

7) Keep rolling and stitching.

8) As you roll/stitch, the inside layers will begin to push up and the strips will start to become more like a 3D flower.

9) Finish off with a couple over-lapping stitches at the end.


Items Needed:
- T-shirt Fabric Flowers
- Hot Glue Gun
- Hot Glue Sticks
- Twigs (or any other 'stem' type object)
- Fabric Tulle
- String/Hair Tie
- Fabric Tac (optional - found at Wal-Mart in the craft/sewing area)

These next few steps are super easy and fast!

10) Warm up that glue gun and go collect some twigs! :D

11) Fill the bottom cavity of your fabric flowers with hot glue and stick and insert a twig.  In most cases, your flower will be able to stand on it's own upside-down... if not, just prop it against a wall while the hot glue dries.  I used a total of 10 flowers for my bouquet.

(Personal Photo)

Making the wrap-around band (I have no clue what the correct term is!) :P

12) Cut new 2" strips or use any leftovers that you haven't 'fringed' yet... grab each side in your hands and pull to make the fabric curl.

13) See photo below "Braided Handle (Back)" - Using Fabric-TacI glued the tips of 3 strips together and let them set for about 1 min before braiding them.  Then again, secured the ends with Fabric-Tac.  YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE FABRIC-TAC... knotting the ends and braiding would work just as well.  I just did not want to feel knots while carrying my bouquet.

(Personal Photo)

 (Personal Photo)

14)  Grab all your flowers and wrap string/hair tie around the stems to hold them in place.

15) Wrap a couple layers of tulle around the stems, securing with hot glue from your glue gun.  (I'm not sure I would've originally used tulle... but I passed it in an aisle at the craft store for 50% off and thought of using it here!)

16) Next, wrap your braided t-shirts around the stems, also securing with hot glue.  It took several braids to get the look I wanted.  I tried to flatten out the ends of the braids as much as possible, as to not feel them while holding the bouquet.

17) You're done! :)  Sit back and admire your awesome creation!

 (Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

 (Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)


(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer B. Photography)

Trying to keep some of the same elements through our wedding, I decided to use the leftover flowers and make centerpieces.  

Items Needed:
- T-shirt Flowers.
- Thrifted Vases or off containers.
- Optional: Green Flower Foam (not sure of the correct name).

- Hot Glue Gun
- Hot Glue Sticks
- Any type of material as a filler at the top of the vases/containers.

This is pretty straight forward.  On some of the skinnier vases/containers, I just simply glued the stems right inside.  On the larger ones, I used the Flower Foam to hold them in place.  Then you have the task of covering up the hot glue or Flower Foam... I used all sorts of stuff: (in the photo above) I used a leftover brown flower that wasn't going to be used, shredded newspaper, crinkled tulle, etc... let your imagine go wild!

- Sara.  :)

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