I knew this project would take time but 35 work hours later, I call it a Labor of Love. Of course, I had several friends who proved invaluable to this creation. They donated brooches and other jewelry. They helped twist all the pieces into flowers. And finally a friend who worked at a florist during the summers of her college years help me arrange it.
My sister took some lovely pictures of it at the reception.
It is so heavy and the handle is so thick. I have not found a vase or anything to hold it upright yet.
I started with various jewelry pieces, floral wire and white floral tape to create the flowers. I watched several you tube videos before beginning. I learned many helpful pointers such as using the thickest wire you can find. In general, floral wire is thin and assist in making flowers hold shape. Brooches are much heavier than flowers and I ended up making several "stems" at various points on the piece of jewelry and braiding them together to create one "stem" to hold the heavy pieces. Another hint was not to use the "pin" on the back of the brooch, these open and close easily and could fall apart on you without warning if the closure accidentally disengages. All the pieces are left usable again should you choose to disassemble the flower later with just a few snips with the wire cutters. I intend to leave my bouquet intact and display it.
I ended up making 50 flowers and using 2 spools of silver wire (thicker of the two) and one spool of gold wire, and 2-3 packs of white floral tape.
Not all of my brooches ended up in the final piece. As I worked on it and finalized my dress, I narrowed the "colors" to silver, gold, crystal and pearl. There were a few colors, in the bouquet but I tried to keep with my chosen colors/theme. I did use the abalone butterfly above but left out the copper piece. As you can see there is a gold dogwood set of brooch and earrings above. I used that one and several three pieces sets. The key with all pieces is to have somewhere to wrap the wire securely on the pieces preferably in multiple points balancing the piece. I used on "bunch" of ivory flowers from Michael's for the "inside" of my bouquet to hide the wires as I did not want a tight bouquet as I have seen in so many pinterest pins. I also found 3 beautiful feather picks at Michael's. I searched four Michael's and never found anymore. The bunch of flowers had greenery (leaves) which I left on and pulled the leaves off the bottom of the stem and inserted in the bouquet.
I also purchased this cone JoAnn Fabrics to help shape the bouquet. I ended up tearing off the lace and putting my own gold tulle around the top of the plastic. I also had to increase the size of the hole as brooch flower stems are very thick after using so much wire.
Some flowers after they have been wrapped but before the floral tape has been wrapped around them.
I tried to get a close up of where the pins are attached to wire.
More "flowers", I used gold wire and silver wire depending on the pieces. If it is a gold piece the gold wire blends with the piece, so you don't notice the wires.
And the back of this set.
The brooch on the far right is my "something blue".
My friend wrapped wire through a broken pearl necklace and made this lovely spray. I thought the colors were very close to the abalone, so I asked her to add it to the top. As you can see it ended up in the front bottom of the bouquet. .
A pieces she gave me that started as a bracelet.
A set I purchased for the bouquet at a resale shop.
More pieces these have been wrapped in floral tape to cover the wire and add uniformity.
A brooch I wore regularly in the 1980's.
A "1929" enameled dragonfly.
Rhinestone pieces: brooches, a shoe clip, earrings and clasps.
My friend also wrapped loosely some rhinestone bracelets that are in the bouquet.
These are all pretty old pieces that I have had in my collection for a while. My grandmother immediately recognized the center piece as an old Avon brooch that she gave me.
More pieces: You can see with as much wire as I used the heaviness is still obvious in leaning flowers.
There is a sterling silver ring and a broken barrette.
The bracelets stand up well with just a couple of wire but you still want them to be flexible!
Here's the centerpiece, a gift from a close friend who also helped wrap some flowers.
What a project. One of those that I will not be duplicating! Thanks for spending some time reading my blog. Have a blessed day!