Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.

Brooch Bouquet Tutorial (in which I create an elaborate analogy between marriage and crafts)


This post will probably contain more details that you ever wanted to know about making a brooch bouquet. If you don’t care all that much, just glance through the photos and marvel at my super-awesome cell phone picture-taking skills. Because they’re that good.

As I, uh, teased here, I made a brooch bouquet for me to carry at our wedding.

Stunning Brooch Bouquet! Underside has draped pearls around a ribbon-wrapped stem.

(Like this? Pin it!)

The story begins one winter day while I was browsing Pinterest. Of course.

As I often think while I browse this treasure trove of time-sucking projects, I thought to myself, “I could do that!

Little did I know what an enormously stressful project this would be…but one that had such a huge payoff. And here’s the thing: you can do this too. Here’s how.

First, figure out if you are actually committed. This is almost as big a decision as the one you made when you decided to marry your guy, so think it through. Brooch-bouquet making, like marriage, is not for the faint of heart. I began this process in January, oh, about 8 months before the big day.

Then begin the fun process of collecting your brooches. This will be the honeymoon phase of your relationship with your bouquet. You’ll be blissfully unaware of what is ahead and will dreamily assemble a lovely cast of trinkets.

Here are some tips:

  • Ask your mom, your mother-in-law-to-be, your grandmothers.
  • Don’t keep your brooch-bouquet making a secret, because people will be on the lookout for you and it is awesome.
  • Also, comb thrift stores and craft stores. I set a personal rule to not spend more than $3 on a brooch, and if I spent $3, I had to really love it.
  • While you are assembling your brooches, think outside the box. Large clip on earrings? Perfect. Pendants for necklaces? Those’ll work.
  • Oh, and you’ll probably want to decide on a color scheme before you embark on this journey…my color scheme was gold and silver and pearls. (I do realize that “pearls” is not a color. Just go with me here.)

This was a haul my mom got at a thrift store. Because I’m cheap, I love the fact that big earrings are 2 “brooches” for the price of one. Mmm.

Most of these are from my family’s stash of jewelry from grandmas, aunts, moms, etc. These are the ones that have the most meaning for me. 🙂

As you are collecting, you can now move on to the exhausting process of making all of your lovely brooches into flowers. Here’s what worked for me:

1. I first put 3 (ish) strands of 14″ wire on each brooch, twisting the wire together under the brooch to create the stem. You’ll probably want to use a pliers to do this to save your delicate fingers. And pace yourself; spend a little time doing this each day. You’ll get tired of it soon and your fingers will want to fall off your body. I used silver floral wire from Michael’s (yup, used a coupon). Each brooch is different, so you might have to get creative for how you attach the wires.

There is really no excuse for the quality of these photos. Or for the fact that we still had Christmas decor up in February. Or for the fact that I eat frosting straight out of the can by the spoonful.

2. After I had created the wire stem, I wrapped each stem with floral tape (I used white), beginning right under the brooch and working down to the end of the “stem”. You couldn’t see the floral tape in the final product, but it did add bulk to the wire-y stems and made things more secure.

No pictures of this, because I am that awesome.

3. Once I had floral-taped the stems, I then took 2 fake rose petals and hot-glued them underneath the brooch, creating a sort of bud. This will help with the final product because it softens up each brooch and disguises the fact that your bouquet is indeed made out of metal.

You guessed it. No picture.

4. Do steps 1-3 over and over and over and over and over. My final bouquet had about 80 brooches/earrings/pendants. It helps to have a very supportive roommate to whom you can express your deepest fears to (that it will all be for naught and look terribly tacky) and who will encourage you when those deepest fears come true (“I know you can do it! Keep trying! That, uhhh, looks good!”). Said roommate is also useful to borrow a hot glue gun from (Laura, my bouquet owes its life to you. Thank you.)

If you have made it this far (either in making this bouquet or in reading this epic post), you deserve a high five for sure. Stop right now and get one from your roommate.

Now, you can do the “fun” part! Simply grab your bouquet and go!

Just kidding. It’s not that easy.

First, hydrate. Take long, deep breaths, and begin assembling your bouquet. You’ll have to position each “flower” exactly how you want it to fit into your bouquet. It’s like a really difficult puzzle that makes your hand cramp up frequently. As you position each flower, every 5 brooches or so, wrap the overall stem with floral wire to keep things together. Unless you have like 8 hands or the dexterity and hand strength of a surgeon.

Keep an eye on the overall shape of your bouquet. You don’t want it to have a flat top, and you probably don’t want it  to curve down too quickly. If you’re like me, you want a smooth dome shape that is about 8 inches wide. I had to take my bouquet apart multiple times and redo this step.

Here’s an optional bonus–I also dropped in a few fake flowers in my color scheme to soften up the harsh metal of the bouquet and add some color. I didn’t want the fake flowers to take center stage, so I usually positioned them slightly lower in the dome than the brooches.

Remember, keep wrapping  the ever-growing stem with floral tape to keep things together.

Eventually, you should have something like this:

Here you can see the floral-tape wrapped stems. You can’t see the floral tape that is keeping it all together, since I just did that at the top of the stem. Oh, here is that picture:

You can also see the way I created the “buds” out of the fake rose petals here.

After this, I added a few fake leaves at the bottom of the dome to soften up the bouquet and clipped the wires to be a uniform length at the bottom.

The stem of my bouquet at this point was a bit to spindly for my liking, so I bulked it up a bit with sticks. Yes, I literally went outside and got some sticks and then clipped them into 8 inch (ish) chunks and mashed it all together on the stem. I used duct tape to bulk it up too and make it super strong.

Next, I pinned loops of 1″ wide ribbon up under the bouquet to cover up the wire mess that was visible from underneath. I also covered the bottom of the stem (which was a bit larger than a quarter–maybe a fifty-cent piece in size) with a cardboard circle and 1/4″ wide ribbon. The only unfinished part now was the stem itself, which I then wrapped with 1″ wide ribbon beginning at the top and working my way down to the end. At the end, I folded the raw edge of the ribbon back and used 3 pearl pins (like the type used to pin corsages) to secure it.

It will probably be the beginning of summer by this time, if you’re anything like me. You’ll have spent many sleepless nights mentally rearranging brooches and trying to figure out what your back-up plan is.

If you’re not content with how your bouquet looks, keep tweaking it. I thought mine was a little too smooth and dome shaped, so I added some texture and visual interest by jabbing pearl pins into the fake flowers. I also thought that the bottom was a little boring, so I draped some pearl necklaces and bracelets from the lowest layer of brooches. These are easily removable if I ever want to wear them the normal way.

Here you can see the leaves, the way I looped the ribbon and pinned it to the underside of the bouquet, the secured ribbon wrapped around the stem, the pearls I jabbed into the fake flowers, the extra necklaces and bracelets I looped on the underside, yada yada yada…

And voila! It’s done when you say it’s done. I had to put mine away so I would stop tweaking it. 🙂 Oh, and don’t forget to plan the rest of your wedding.

Also, don’t forgot to do those arm workouts before the big day. This bouquet is a monster. It probably weighs about 5 pounds, but I haven’t scientifically measured it yet. The day after the wedding, yes, my arm was SORE. But still. WORTH IT.

brooch bouquet button edited 1

Now go forth and make your own. 🙂

Questions? ASK AWAY! I check comments frequently and would love to help. I can also take more pictures of my bouquet if you’re a visual learner. Just let me know!

Update: Here’s a better photo of the underside of the brooch bouquet:

Underside of Brooch Bouquet--Looped Ribbon


36 thoughts on “Brooch Bouquet Tutorial (in which I create an elaborate analogy between marriage and crafts)

  1. OMG! that is stunning, you put so much effort and work into it, shines through!
    Love the blog.

    Jan @door251

  2. Easy for me to say…seeing it in person…so worth your effort. It was STUNNING!!

  3. That came out so beautiful! What a treasure!

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  8. This is VERY pretty, great work!

  9. Oh, THAT is gorgeous! I would say it was worth the effort, nice work…

  10. Oh. My. Goodness! That is stunning! Saw you at CWTS and just had to come say hello. Pinning this too, of course. I would have loved one of these.

    ❤ Christina at I Gotta Create!
    Wildly Original linky party every Wednesday.

  11. Anne, this is truly beautiful and what an amazing bouquet that will never wilt.

  12. love love love this! thank you so much for sharing!
    i have a question… do you think this could work by just using like a styrofoam ball? or that green fake flower foam (no idea what it’s actually called)? or maybe those aren’t sturdy enough?

    • I think styrofoam could work but it wouldn’t be as sturdy…but it’s not like you need it to last more than just a day. 🙂 I don’t know if that green stuff would work since it is pretty crumbly. Thanks for popping over!

  13. Your bouquet looks amazing!! I really want one, but I need to ask, would you recommend making one, or should I pay someone else to do it?

    • How much time do you have, and how creative are you feeling? Both great things to ponder. I knew it would be a big job, and in my opinion, in paid off. I love my brooch bouquet! That being said, I don’t think I could have afforded to pay someone either…

  14. Hi I reallly loved your bouquet, I’m getting married in January 2014 and I want to make also a personalized bouquet and also treasure it 🙂 can u send me i my email more pictures please (if u have like a step buy step, hehehe i learn better when i see 🙂 ) thanksss

    • Hi, Arinda! Congrats on your upcoming wedding! All of the step by step pics I have are in the post here (I made it before I blogged regularly, so I didn’t take many in process pics). I can email you different angled pictures of the final product though, if that would help. Let me know!

  15. As a Floral Designer I have enjoyed your instructions and am looking forward to making one for a Lucky Bride. And that I too eat frosting out of the can when ever possible. Thanks for sharing.

    • The frosting is a very necessary part of the whole process! Don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions along the way…but if you’re a floral designer, I’m sure your creation will turn out stunning!

  16. Your bouquet looks fantastic, and your tutorial is great!! I’m ready to start the “assembly” phase of my brooch bouquet, and I have a question about the looped underside. When you pinned the loops to the underside of the bouquet, to what did the pins attach? The only things under there are the stems, so I’m having difficulty understanding HOW the pinned loops stay attached. I’m worried that the underside of mine will be hideous, so any extra information and/or pictures you could offer would be much appreciated. Thanks!!

    • Hi, Sarah–I’ll try to remember to take a better picture of the underside when I get home today and upload it here. But yes, I pinned the loops to the stems themselves. I kept the loops pretty short (they extend from the middle of the bouquet about an inch to 1 1/2 inches) and attached them first, before I would the ribbon around the main stem of the bouquet. Hope that helps!

    • Just uploaded a better pic, Sarah! You can see the (white) head of a pin in one of the loops–it’s grabbing on to a stem. The ribbon is light, so it didn’t pull the stem down at all. Hope it helps!

      • Anne,
        Thanks for the prompt and helpful responses and picture. That definitely makes it a little easier for me to understand! 🙂

  17. Young lady, you are beyond creative… should have your own business! Since I’m an “old codger” so to speak and would never have need for a wedding bouquet, I’m gonna take a foam ball or two or three…or more that I have from Hobby Lobby and make your brooch bouquet(s) and put them in the beautiful bowls I inherited from my mother. My dad died last September at 99 years young and I couldn’t get rid of mom’s things and have wondered what to do to keep those memories alive. I’ll put the bowls wherever the mood hits me. Also, my cats are going to LOVE the sparkly balls in the bowls. After moving here from Chicago and finding all these neat flea markets and the twice-a-year humongous crafts fairs I started thinking I was getting “creative.” Anne, you would be the STAR of these craft fairs. Don’t know where you live but here in northwest Arkansas they have those craft fairs in May, usually the 2nd weekend, and the 2nd weekend in October (this being the largest one probably because of the beautiful crafts and the holidays! You and your mom should come to see them and I would bet you’d go home and realize you could make a living at it with your crafty and inspiratory soul!

  18. Great tutorial, I have got to the assembly stage and am having a bit of a meltdown!! Am determined to stick at it though!!!

    • Hi, Lucia–keep on trying! I had to redo my bouquet once or twice as I assembled it. The main thing is getting the overall shape correct. You should be able to adjust the brooches a bit once you get the shape down. Send a picture when you finish–I’d love to see!

  19. Thanks so much for the tutorial, it was so helpful! I took bits from yours and bits from others that I saw, but none of the others really helped with what to do underneath, so I’m going to use your ribbon loops idea. I actually formed mine with 3 stems of fake hydrangeas, leaves removed to help me keep that dome shape as I was arranging it, and it also hides any gaps with the petals (not that there really are any, I have about 80 brooches).

  20. This is a lovely bouquet. I have to make 5 for my daughter and bridesmaids. They are less common in the UK and most on line stuff about them is USA
    .For the eight year old I have made one of mainly animal brooches and flower brooches
    . A good tip is to find bracelets which have seven or eight large pieces on a stretchy elastic bangle. Cut the elastic and you have several identical pieces with ready made holes for the wire. These are good fillers and very inexpensive.
    Two down and three to go. I couldn’t have done it without armatures, although it does make it more expensive. For five bouquets, including the brides it will probably cost about £300 sterling. Real bouquets for this number of people would cost three times that much. I am also doing the men’s button holes and the cake. For the cake I am following the theme and going to work out the decoration with brooches that will have to survive a dish washing cycle. Needless to say, I am retired.

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