Friday, May 16, 2014

How to Make Your Own Special Occasion Corsage

Continuing with the effort to migrate my multitude of Helium articles, here's one I forgot I ever wrote, and just in time too now that both prom and wedding season are in full force. My aunt used to make these regularly for and people for their weddings and sorority gatherings and so forth.

How to make your own Corsage

Making your own corsage is not only practical, it’s quick, easy and filled with unlimited possibilities. Whether you’re planning your wedding, attending a dance, party, or club event or even if you just like wearing fresh flowers, a one-of-a-kind corsage, is both a lovely accessory and a potential conversation starter.
Traditional corsages are typically a mini floral arrangement of one or more main flowers accompanied by smaller accent flowers and/or greenery. The arrangement can be made from either fresh or artificial flowers and can also include beaded accents, ribbons, feathers or other embellishments of your choice.
Though corsages are usually made from more than one flower, very pretty corsages can also be made with one very large flower or its equivalent (such as a ribbon or paper rosette). Of course, it’s also possible to use something besides flowers (such as holiday miniatures). A quick trip to the craft or novelty store will give you an idea of the great range of what your inclusion options are.
Some traditional flower choices for corsages are roses, orchids, gardenias, and carnations, but almost any favorite flower can be used. Choose a corsage flower based on color and fragrance, but also try to pick one that has a little staying power. The last thing you want is to have your corsage wilt as soon as you step out of your door.
If you want to go eco-friendly with your choice, you can use paper flowers or those made from ribbon, crochet or knitting. Felt or other fabric flowers can be used as well for making corsages, but if working with a recycled material, stay away from metals or plastics as these might scratch.
Corsages are generally worn on the left and can be placed on the shoulder of a dress or cover up such as a shrug, sweater, or jacket, the bodice of a dress, at the waist, or wrist. Some modern girls even wear their corsages on the ankle. In cases where having a corsage on the body doesn’t work, it can alternatively be attached to an evening bag.
When making your own corsage, consider the occasion, what outfit you will be wearing, the season and whether you might prefer it pinned on or around your wrist. A simple nosegay is easy to put together with little more than flowers and floral tape, while a floral “bracelet” will require elastic or some other means for keeping the corsage securely on the wrist.
The advantage of using an artificial flower is that they can either be sewn or glued to the wristlet band, they can stand up to a little crush action if someone hugs you, and you won’t have to worry you’re your flower of choice might wilt. Also, you aren’t limited to only using seasonal flowers.
The main advantage of using fresh flowers to create your own corsage is fragrance. A flower with a heavy perfume such as rose or gardenia will not only look great, it will make you smell great as well. When combining flowers, be sure to choose ones that are complimentary in fragrance as well in color.
Wrist corsages from the florist are typically made with an elastic corsage wristlet. These can be purchased from a craft store, or made from a piece of elastic from your sewing basket. Alternatives to elastic include ribbon, fabric bands, and slap bracelets.
Basic corsage how to
Supplies needed:
1 large centerpiece Flower
Leaves, pearls, or other corsage embellishments
Floral wire (or, in a pinch, you can use a paper clip)
Floral tape
Long straight pin or extra-large safety pins
Note: Keep your flower in the refrigerator until you have assembled all of your supplies.
To begin, trim the stem to about half an inch below the flower head using scissors or pruners. Cut a piece of floral wire about for inches long and bend the tip of one end into a U shape (if you have them, needle nosed pliers will make this step easier.)
If using a paper clip, bend the wire back until you have a long straight end with a U curve (like a very long J).  Take the wire J and carefully insert the long end into the top of your flower slightly to the side of its center.  (The center of the U part will ultimately rest of the middle of the flower head).
Gently pull/push the wire down until the short tip goes into the flower as well. Wrap the floral tape around the bottom of the flower head so that it is covering the wire, and continue wrapping in a spiral motion until the entire base of the flower is covered.
Hold a leaf behind the flower with the stem against the wire below the flower base. Wrap the floral tape around the leaf to add it to the corsage. Note: Try to choose accent leaves that are large enough to show from behind your flower and that have long enough stems (think maple or grape sized). Add at least one more leaf, bend the bottom end of your wire up against your taped stem, and cover the end with tape.
If adding an embellishment such as a pearl spray, place it between the flower and the leaves. It may help to lay everything flat on the surface of a table to see how things look and make adjustments for placement before taping it all together.
Once the loose wire end is safely tucked away under the floral tape the corsage is ready for wear. 

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