Monday, January 24, 2011
DIY Wedding Flowers- Dried Flower Initial
Last week I posted a few pictures of some of the flower designs that I made for Nicole and Rob's wedding, (See Weddings- Rob & Nicole). One of designs was their initial- the letter "S" in dried flowers. Today I am going to show you how to do this yourself. The flower that I used was purple larkspur (consolida). The other supplies that I used were: bark wire, paddle wire #26 or #28, and pliers or clippers to cut the wires. These supplies can be picked up at a craft store. To purchase larkspur you would need to contact a florist or a flower farmer. In Cary, NC larkspur blooms from early May to mid to late June, but is available from florists year round.
The first step is to shape your letter or initial from the bark wire. If you're not sure what shape you want for your initial- check out different fonts on your computer or printer.
After you have shaped your letter from the bark wire, you will want to secure it at the points where it crosses over itself with the green paddle wire. I usually cut a few 3-4" lengths for this.
Next, cut about a 12" length of the green paddle wire. Wrap one end a few times around the bark wire to secure it and pull the rest of it up beside the bark wire. You will use this piece to attach a stem of larkspur to the bark wire. I cut my stems of fresh larkspur about 8-10" long for the long spans of the initial, and a bit shorter for the curves and short spans. The picture above shows the final wrapping of the top of a piece of larkspur. When I get to the top, I cut off the excess green wire and just pushed it tight against the bark wire.
Keep adding pieces of larkspur around your initial working down to the bottom of the initial. Start with new pieces at the top of the other side and work down. Sometimes I just cut segments with a lot of flower heads and wrap them in to fill in skimpy areas of a previous attached stem, wiring them right over the other stem. You can also take the stems of the flowers and wrap them a little bit around the bark wire, securing with the green wire as you work around the initial.
I added a few pieces of green moss with a glue gun for attaching single flowers and buds to later. The above picture shows what it should look like once you're finished. Isn't it beautiful? You may wonder why bother with drying this when it looks so pretty now- Well unless you have a lot of free time on your wedding day- it won't look like this- it will start to look a bit limp after about 24 hours. My goal is to offer projects that can be done a couple of weeks ahead so they won't add to the stress of those last few days before the wedding.
I used a full bunch of larkspur (10 stems), for this project, but I did not add all the flowers and buds at once. After the initial was finished, I bundled the rest of the flowers and bud stems like this to hang inside the house. Each bundle needs to be hung upside down so the flowers will dry out in the right direction.
I also hung the initial upside down. It's pretty lightweight, so I actually hung it on a push pin. After about a week or so the flowers are dry and have shriveled up a bit and left some gaps in the design. This is when I take the rest of the dried flower bundles that I have dried and divide them up and glue them into the design with a hot glue gun.
Above is the finished design. During the winter when the air is super dry, the flowers are also super dry and brittle. To keep the design from shattering and loosing bits of dried flowers each time it is handled, I follow this little procedure: First I take a large white garbage bag, shake it open and mist the inside with just a little water from a mister bottle, (if you don't have a mister just wet your hand and shake the water droplets into the bag), next I gently slide the dried flower initial into the bag, close the end a little, blow some extra air inside, then close it with a twist tie. After an hour, the humidity in the bag softens the flowers enough so they are supple and not brittle. Do not keep it in the bag for more than several hours, long exposure to a lot of moisture could cause it to discolor or mold.
Here is a close up of the finished design. I also added some dried lavender that I had on hand and the dainty heart impressed seeds of Love-In-A-Puff, which I grow in the summer and fall, see other posts about the plant under labels for "Love-In-A-Puff". I would love to hear from anyone who has any questions about this project- just send me an email. And please let me know how it turns out!