Want to make a meaningful birthday gift? Or do you have a child about to go through homecoming and they need a boutonniere? Or perhaps someone you know needs a little extra detail for a big party at their company? Providing this personal touch to their nights will fill them with love and confidence that will brighten anybody's day.
As a quick note and disclaimer: like many things artistic, there are many different ways of making a boutonniere. Furthermore, no boutonniere will look exactly the same. Do not expect the exact same results, and it is recommended to do one practice round before presenting this to someone. It is also recommended that you read the whole tutorial before attempting this project.
Step 1: Picking the Materials
-Floral Tape (available at Safeway if you ask the florist to sell it to your, or most craft stores. Unfortunately, there is no substitute)
-Thumb length filler flowers* (baby’s breath or wax flower work best)
-1 to 2 stems of greens** (fern works best, one of the medium branches, should be about the length of your thumb or shorter).
-Floral shears (scissors will do in a pinch, but cutting wire can ruin good scissors)
-Scissors (these need to be sharp and clean to cut through ribbon effectively)
-Ribbon of choice, no more than a 3/4 of an inch wide.
-1 pin, specifically a boutonniere pin, but as long as it matches the pin in the pictures or serves its purpose, it will do.
Note that all measurements are approximate. This is an art, and thus exact measurements are difficult to pin down. Some practice may be necessary.
Also note that while I use a rose in this example, this same technique can be applied to Orchids, Spray Roses, Carnations, and so on.
*Filler flowers are the flowers used in arrangements to highlight the main flowers such as roses. They are usually long stemmed with many little flowers, such as the white baby's breath in the picture. The point is that it's not an outstanding flower by itself. It is the same concept as mixing a neutral pant with a shiny top in an outfit to make the top pop without making the outfit costume-like.
** Greens provide the same function of filler flowers. They are, like their name, usually green but can also be found in dark reds, purples, blues and yellows. They are the leaves of plants, providing a neutral backdrop to the flowers in an arrangement.
Step 2: The Rose
1. Cut the rose so that it is an inch short or shorter with the shears.
2. Take the wire and insert into the base of the stem (close to the bud, where the stem gets thicker.) There should be somewhere between a quarter and half an inch of space between the insertion and the bud itself.
3. Push the wire through until there is an even amount of wire on each side of the flower.
4. Fold the wire in half.
5. Take the shears and cut the wire until it extends 3-4 inches past the flower. Make sure the wire ends are even. Don’t worry if you cut the wire shorter than that, or if the wire never extended that far. As long as there is at least 1 and 1/2 inches of wire, it will work out fine.
6. Take the floral tape, and starting at the top of the stem with the wire, wrap the tape around the stem and wire. Go slow, making sure every bit of the stem and wire is covered in several layers of tape. Go all the way down to the bottom of the wire. The end of the wire is sharp due to the cutting of it, so wrap the floral tape around this part many times until you have a little ball of tape, no more than an 1/8 of an inch thick. Rip the tape off at that point.
Step 3: The Filler
7. Take the filler flower. The flower part of it itself should only be about as big as the first joint of your thumb, and about as long. When in doubt, using less is more. Hold it against the flower in a spot that looks good. Cut the stem until it is at least as short at the rose stem, but short enough that it still reaches the tape. Once cut, wrap the stem with the floral tape flush against the rose. Once again, several layers of tape are necessary, and wrap the tape around the flowers until the stem is completely covered. Break off tape.
8 If desired, repeat step 7 with another branch of filler on the other side. To create balance without overwhelming the flower, one side should have less filler than the other, and the total filler should never be bigger than the rose itself.
9. Next, take the fern and place it either at the back or to the side of the rose (towards the back is usually best). Once again, repeat wrapping with floral tape. Either one or two fern pieces should be enough.
Step 4: Optional: a Ribbon
Many people use the ribbon to match a color in the outfit, such as a pink tie or a purple dress. The ribbon simply adds an extra statement to the boutonniere, but is not necessary. It is also possible to make the bow smaller than what I made, this is just one option.
This is an example method of making a bow, but any method works as long as you are happy with how the ribbon looks.
10. Take the ribbon, and if there is an outside/underside pattern to it (i.e. one side looks better than the other), put the outside (better looking) facing away from you. Pinch in the ribbon where you want the center of the bow to be. Fold a loop over, to keep that outside facing where people can see it. Pinch and twist the ribbon, so that the outside once again faces away from you. Add an identical loop to the other side. Another pinch and twist. This time, the loop should be small and directly in the center of the other two loops. Pinch together in the middle.
11. Take a thin wire and stick it through the 3rd loop. Where you have the bow pinched, twist the wire to tie it off. Cut the wire about an inch and a half to two inches long.
12. Place the bow where you would like, as long as it is next to the stem. Wrap the floral tape around the wire to hold it in place, and cover the wire.
Step 5: Extra Wire
13. Take extra wire, and wrap it once around your thumb. Then use your fingers, with your thumb as a guide, to twist the extra wire into a curly-Q shape, as if it was a pigs tail. The first ring, closest to the stem should be the longest, the following rounds gradually smaller.
Step 6: Ending Notes
14. Stick the boutonniere pin through the rose stem.
15. If you would like, there are sprays found in most floral shops to help keep the flowers fresh. It's completely unnecessary. However, it is recommended to keep the boutonniere in a cold environment, without battering it around as the rose can get bruised.
You have now completed your boutonniere. Give it to a loved one, and watch their joy blossom!
Above are two pictures. The first is a boutonniere without a ribbon, the other one with a ribbon.