Intro: Repurposed Denim Flowers
For the longest time, I had a stack of two pairs of jeans that had back pocket tears (the kind where the fabric just shreds away from the pocket seam...aka the worst thing that can happen to your favorite jeans). I kept telling myself that I'd fix them and that they were worth keeping, in a vain attempt to put off the dreaded task of shopping for jeans. After coming to terms with the cold hard truth that I was just going to keep putting off this "miracle repair," I had to make a decision: throw them out (since they were in no wearable state for donation) or repurpose the denim. In typical maker fashion, I chose the latter.
Thanks to some overpriced faux flower bouquets at Michael's from which I drew inspiration, I came up with this super easy tutorial to turn that overly-loved pair of jeans into cute little denim flowers! You can add them to almost anything, and if you're feeling really ambitious, I think a bouquet of these lil guys would look pretty swell!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials!
Here's the really nifty thing about this project: you probably have all or almost all of the supplies you need lying around your house/studio/garage.
This is what you'll need:
- old jeans
- bailing wire
- wire cutters
- nail kit scissors (really anything sharp and pointy will work)
- tacky glue
- pen (or other pointy object that gets gradually larger in diameter)
- fabric scissors (or the sharpest scissors you can find)
- pliers (sorry I forgot to add it to the picture!)
Step 2: Cut the Flower!
So unless you're a ninja with scissors, you're probably looking at this step and starting to have doubts about my claim that this project is super easy. But fear not! I made a template! You can just go ahead and print out that PDF template (or save the photo of it above), and you'll be good to go. Bonus points if you have a sweet die-cut machine that lets you upload images and cuts fabric.
For all you other brave souls out there who want to freehand this, continue reading for some tips! (But to be totally honest, cutting the flower is fairly easy. And the fact that it's a flower makes imperfections desirable.)
- Imagine each petal as an oval. You want to cut along the edge of that oval except for the bottom quarter.
- When making each cut, make sure the ends of the cuts line up horizontally.
- Just take it slowly...one petal at a time.
The flower I cut out is about 3 inches wide/tall, but you can cut out whatever size you want. I've made flowers down to about 1 inch wide.
Step 3: Poke a Hole in Your Flower!
Now that you've painstakingly cut out your flower....you're going to stab a hole in it! The goal is to get a hole about 1/4 inch in diameter, so by all means, use whatever method you find easiest or most convenient. The method I used was a little janky, but it involved basic household supplies which is what I had around at the time.
First poke a hole into the center of the flower using the nail kit scissors. Try to open the hole up as much as possible with the scissors. It's okay to use some force...remember this is denim and it's tough! Next use the pen to wedge the hole open further. Again, don't be shy. I surprised myself with how aggressive I was towards the little flower!
Step 4: Cut the Flower Center!
Start off with a circle with a diameter equal to about 1/3 of the flower width. Since I made a 3 inch wide flower, I cut a 1 inch diameter circle. This is just approximate, so don't worry if it's not perfect. Also, your circle just needs to resemble one, so ovals are okay too.
Fold your circle/oval into quarters. Then cut off the two corners on the curve (not the one connecting everything in the middle). Take a peek at the pictures for guidelines on exactly what to cut.
Step 5: Prep Your Wire!
Your wire length will depend on your flower size and what you plan on using the flower for once you've made it. You're going to use the wire to insert the flower center into the hole you poked into the flower. If you want to attach the flower to something like a wreath or add it to a floral display, you might want the wire to be a little longer so it acts like a stem. If you want to use the flower for something smaller like a hair clip, you could just use the wire for assembly and ditch it later, which means your wire could be shorter.
For a 3 inch wide flower (with about 2 inches of wire sticking out of it when completed), I used a 5 1/2 inch long piece of wire. Fold the wire in half and criss cross the legs. Using pliers, smoosh the bent tip just a little bit so it resembles the eye of a needle. Then bend the legs straight again. The bent tip of the wire will shape the bulbous flower center, so keep that in mind when shaping.
Step 6: Assemble the Flower!
This is probably the trickiest step of this whole project, so get those nimble fingers ready! The goal is to insert the flower center into the flower using the bent wire.
Start off by folding the flower center in half over the bent wire tip. Holding those halves down, fold the other tips of the flower center down as well until the flower center is completely encasing the bent wire tip. Now here's the tricky part... While holding the flower center on the bent wire tip, push the bent wire tip into the hole in the flower. Again, no need to be gentle. After shimmying the flower center into the flower, use your thumb to push the center gently into the flower in order to smoosh it into shape and to help the petals curve around the flower center. Voila!
Step 7: Securing the Flower!
Now it's time to make sure all that hard work stays in place. Flip the flower over and put a little bit of tacky glue on the edge where the flower center and flower meet (you might have to lift up some of the excess fabric on the underside of the flower). If you want to keep the wire on the flower, then gently pull the wire out of the flower center and place a dot of glue on the bent tip. Then insert it back into the flower center. Flip the flower on its face to dry. After a few hours, you'll have the beginnings of your very own repurposed denim garden!