This week marks the second installment of my DIY series with Flower Muse. And it's a fun one - fun to make and fun to play around with. Definitely more light hearted and playful than the first DIY in this series, so there's a little something for everyone so far with these projects.
This time, I made a DIY fresh flower ampersand that is filled with gorgeous blooms like (my favorite) ranunculus and a some seriously stunning garden roses. BUT I didn't want to make just one of these, so I made two. One smaller ampersand that will keep the flowers fresh longer and one giant one that is big impact. The smaller version is great for photo booth props, table top decor, or as a cool centerpiece at a party (or wedding). While, the much larger version, which was over 2.5 feet tall, can be hung from a door (inside or outside), used as home decor, or as a giant prop for a photo booth.
Each one is made a little differently - the more complicated of the two being the smaller, floral foam one (they're both pretty easy though, honestly). So I have a more detailed step by step for the first one and then the basics for the larger version.
I used a combination of garden roses and ranunculus. Here's the exact breakdown...
- Joyce garden roses (which are pink)
- Free Spirit garden roses (which are an orangey-pink)
- Ranunculus (in orange, hot pink, pink, and red)
- Red piano spray garden roses *these are so gorgeous!
- Pink Majolica spray garden roses
Other materials you'll need:
floral foam sheet (as big as you can find) // a knife or other sharp object to cut with // scissors // floral wire
Before you get started:
Be sure to cut 1/2″ to 1″ off the bottom of each stem, at a diagonal to maximize water intake. Remove leaves/foliage before placing them in buckets filled with 3″ – 4″ of room temp water. If possible, keep flowers in a cool area away from direct sunlight until you are ready to use them. More flower care and handling instructions here.
1. Freehand an ampersand using a knife as your pen, directly onto your sheet of floral foam. You don't have to carve deep yet. You're just making guidelines for carving in step one. I looked at a few different typefaces on the computer before deciding on one that was relatively thick and drew it a couple of times on a piece of paper first to get the hang of it.
2. Once you're happy with the shape you've created, it is time for the fun part - carving the foam. Using the same knife, begin cutting away pieces of foam from the sheet, using the guidelines you created in step one. This will keep you from accidentally cutting off an important part of the ampersand. Note: If you do accidentally cut off a part of the ampersand that was supposed to remain intact, you can reattach the pieces with floral pins.
3. Once your ampersand has been completely cut out, soak it in water according to instructions on your floral foam packaging and set aside.
4. Now, it's time to tackle the flowers. First, remove any leaves from the stem and then cut the stem down to 2-3 inches in length. You want the stems to be relatively short so they'll easily go into the foam when it's time.
5. For stems that are not as sturdy on their own (like ranunculus), cut a small length of floral wire (2-3 inches) and poke through the bottom of the stem, leaving at least a 1/2 inch of wire sticking out from the bottom. This will make it easier to poke the stems into the foam.
6. Once your floral foam has soaked in water according to instructions, you can start adding the flowers. Poke the stems through the foam one by one, until each one is secure, making sure to keep the shape of the ampersand as you place each flower. This is especially important for a smaller piece like this one. Continue this process until the entire piece is covered. The flowers will stay fresh for 4-6 days with this method. And here's the finished piece...
And here's how to make the giant floral ampersand:
In addition to the flowers listed in the first section, you'll need two sheets of foam core, duct tape, an Xacto knife or box cutter, scissors, and a glue gun.
1. For the most part, the process is very similar, only this time you'll be using foam core instead of floral foam. Start by taping two pieces of foam core together to create a piece that is at least two feet tall.
2. Then, freehand an ampersand onto the foam core with paint and a brush. It's much easier to paint something this large then draw it with a pen, just FYI.
3. Once the paint has dried, cut out the ampersand with a box cutter or Xacto knife.
4. Then start preparing flowers by cutting off the stems entirely, so you have a flat(ish) surface for attaching the flowers to the foam core.
5. Begin placing and attaching flowers to the foam core by adding a few generous beads of hot glue to the back of each bloom and then gently (but firmly) pressing it down onto the foam core for about 5 seconds. The glue should hold it from there. Continue this process until the entire piece is covered. And if you want to hang the finished piece from a hook, add a string or some cording to the top and you're good to go. The flowers will stay fresh for 2-3 days with this method.
Use it as a giant photo booth prop. Perfect for weddings and b-day parties. Or rest it against a wall or credenza (or mantle) for a special occasion or party...
I must admit...I was pleasantly surprised by how well both methods held up. But my favorite part? The smell! I really wish you could have smelled this piece. It was so cool to have a piece of art that filled the room with a soft rose scent. Not many art pieces can do that!
So what do you think? Do you see a giant flower ampersand in your future? If you're on the fence, this may help...
Flower Muse is giving away over 100 stems to one lucky winner on Facebook.
The winner will receive 6 dozen roses and 30 stems of ranunculus. With that many flowers, you can totally make one of these beauties and still have plenty of flowers left over. Enter to win on Facebook right here. And be sure to visit the first installment of this flower series too: how to make a fresh flower framed mirror using peonies, thistle, tulips, and more. It's pretty special, if I do say so myself.
Photography by Sarahdipity Photos for Paper & Stitch // Concept and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff