Tuesday, 1 July 2014

DIY Brooch and Button Bouquet - Part 1

So... One of the biggest projects for the wedding was the bouquets.

Like so many things with weddings, there are so many options, and you can easily spend so much time and money on flowers, that will, as is their nature, wilt. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE beautiful flowers, I have pinned so many beautiful bouquet combinations in the last few years, but I just wanted something different.

When I googled "alternative wedding bouquets" I got a lot of very cool ideas. Some seemed less functional than others. For example, I love the idea of a candy bouquet. I also love the idea of eating candy. Given this, I feel like, I personally, am not compatible with candy bouquets. I found bouquets made of feathers, paper flowers, silk flowers, flax flowers, butterflies, and so many other things. Another thing I found was a small bouquet, made of buttons that someone had given as a mothers day bouquet. So I googled "button bouquet" and I found images of bouquets people had made for weddings and had made. They I found that some people made "brooch bouquets". I loved them! They were all so eclectic and unique.

I found that there are some very talented people selling them on Etsy and Facebook.. But I thought.. I bet I can do that. It can't be THAT hard. And well. It wasn't THAT hard. But it took a lot of time, and buttons are pricier than you may think. However, I think that making the bouquets were so worth the effort, that I would like to show you how I made mine. If you have time, and love to create things, this is a fantastic way to make yourself a bouquet that will one day be an heirloom for your children. 

It was a pretty long process so I have divided it up into two posts: the first is on starting out and making your stems, the second post is about assembling the stems into a bouquet, and finishing touches to perfect them!

Part 1: Starting out and making your Stems

Starting Out

Shopping List
  1. Wire - 24 or 26 gauge You can find this through florist stockists, on Ebay or in some beading and craft stores. I find the 24 was sturdier and held buttons better.  Prices vary, once you find a store of brand you like, if you can buy large, you should.  I did not realise how many metres of this wire I would go through.  I literally used hundreds of metres of wire.
  2. Wire snips - again, you could find these on Ebay or through craft supply stores. These are invaluable for the project.  A decent pair will cost around $10-$20.
  3. Buttons. Buttons. Buttons. Depending on how eclectic, varied, large, you want your bouquets, the size and shape will vary.  For each stem you want 2-4 buttons, varying in size and colour. 
  4. Depending on how varied, how shiny, how bright, how colorful, how big or how small you want your bouquet, the end materials you end up making your stems out of will change. Here is a list of what I ended up including in mine:

While this was definitely cheaper than buying pre-made button bouquets, the costs can easily add up. Here are where I bought most of my trinkets and buttons:

Notes on buying the goodies:
Etsy - I found some great stores that make their own buttons. They were a great resource for specific colors. 
Ebay - this is a mixed bag. Literally. Often I would buy large bags of thousands of mixed buttons. In some bags I found lots of vintage buttons and unique sets. In others there were literally hundreds that were not in my color scheme. Also, some suppliers from Asia sell bulk amounts of buttons. The medium sized, white buttons I used as a frame for novelty buttons and cabochons.
Amazon - I only bought a few specialised buttons off here.
Second Hand Stores - awesome for cheap, old jewellery. You can use clip on earrings and costume rings just like brooches.
Garage Sales - hit and miss. Sometimes you can find jars of buttons or costume jewellery, sometimes nothing.
Friends - often people have jars of buttons sitting around they aren't using. One of my bridesmaids even went out and bought a few special buttons for the bouquet.
Craft Stores - obviously this is the easiest and fastest way to get buttons. Sales can be good, but I found these were generally more expensive.

Setting Up

This turned into a year long project. Luckily I had just bought a dining room table. In the beginning I used one chair and sat at one end in the evenings crafting. By the time I was done, I had taken over the whole table. And the chairs. I had jars full of different colored buttons. And dishes full of different charms and beads. 

Making Your Stems

  1. Cut your wire into a length approximately the same as your elbow to your hand. (This is dependent on how big you want your bouquets, but experiment. I ended up cutting a cm or two off the end of mine. Remember you can always shorten it.)
  2. Stack a bunch of buttons together on the table in front of you. Experiment with the number of buttons, color arrangements, and patterns. These are your flowers. How varied do you want them? Do you want recurring patterns? Do you want them all different? I stacked lots of different buttons together, and then would twist a bunch of the wires. Do it in groups. The progress is slow at first, but when you are done you have a whole bunch of stems.
  3. For the twisting. Take your wire and bend it loosely in half. Take your stack of buttons, maybe 3 or 4, and thread each end of the wire through two opposite button holes. The smallest first. Push the stack of buttons to the middle of the folded wire. Then twist, twist, twist. The tighter you make the twist, the more secure and strong the stem. Think of a huge flower or a weak stem, the flowers droop.
  4. Try stacking a large button below a medium button below a small button, this is a sturdy and symmetrical way to start a stem.
  5. Try adding a bead, pearly or vintage button to the end of the stem.
  6. Do you have vintage buttons? Try adding a vintage button or brass button onto a plain white button. 
  7. Try a cabochon or flat back stem. Thread a medium sized plain button onto your wire. Add several small ones underneath it, to give it some strength. Twist down and secure. Take a hot glue gun and add a cabochon onto the end.
  8. Want to only use brooches, or add a few to the button stems? Try a thicker wire. Or make the stem double the strength.... Since most brooches don't have button holes like a button, look for twists, holes in the pattern, or hook the wire into the clip device on the brooch. To make it stronger do this with two sets of folded wire. Or, secure the end with some hot glue.

So what do you think? Are you considering making your own bouquets? Or have you already made some...? How did you do it?

Stay tuned for the next post where I will talk about assembling the stems and creating the bouquets themselves. And maybe even adding some flair for neat ways to give them to your girls. They really are a beauiful gift.


  1. This is one intense diy. No joke and a hell of a lot of time commitment. But wow what a stunning final product! And it holds so much more meaning than the boring old flower ones. But you have patience I lack. ;)

    1. Thanks hun, it was certainly a mission. But it was worth it : ) and it gave me a hobby which was nice!


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