There’s a list of skills I keep in the back of my mind to acquire over my lifetime. I feel like making a corsage or a boutonniere should be on the list for anyone who’s slightly crafty and definitely thrifty. A pretty basic corsage with carnations starts at about $20 at florists near me. They can go upwards of $40 or $50 though, depending on the flowers. So why not try your hand at making one yourself? It might cost a little more for initial set-up costs (getting all the supplies), but you’ll be able to whip one of these up for any special occasion, teenager’s prom, or wedding.

Recently an acquaintance of mine asked me to make 33 corsages (well, 5 were boutonnieres) for an out-of-town fundraiser. Honestly it was the first time I’d ever done flowers “professionally”- as in getting paid. It was a wee bit stressful (after all, I’m dealing with dying things…), but they turned out great and made the 5 hour drive in style. It’s really not rocket science-and with a little practice- you’ll be making these pint size arrangements like the pros in no time.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flowers (duh)- I used lavender spray roses, yellow lysianthus/yellow spray roses, and seeded eucalyptus.
  • Ribbon (3/8″ size)
  • Green floral wire (can be found at Dollar Tree)
  • Green floral tape (can be found at Dollar Tree)
  • Corsage pins (Michael’s or A.C. Moore)
  • Clear Life floral preserver (optional, but recommended- it’s pricey to ship, but lasts awhile)
  • Clear “treat” bags
  • Scissors for ribbon (I used my fabric shears)
  • Scissors or small pruners for cutting stems/wire
  • Tape
Now I have access to “special”  flowers because I have an account at a local wholesaler, but you can find very nice things at your local grocer. In fact, they may even be able to order you something specific (one of our grocery chains claims they will). You will usually be able to find spray roses which are great to work with for this application. Keep in mind that flowering plants may be the most cost effective source of blooms- especially if you have a nice flower bed (or maybe your neighbor does…)

 

Filler can be anything, little snips of fern fronds are beautiful. Your grocery store will likely have little wispy flowers (often labeled as “wax flower”), similar to baby’s breath.  But…please for the love of all things Holy do not use baby’s breath. I’m sorry, but it’s dated. Maybe it’s just a personal preference, but I cannot stand the stuff. There are so many other alternatives! Ok let’s get started.

 

Welcome to the most photo heavy tutorial of all time. Please forgive the occasional blur, my friend Amy did a GREAT job capturing the process, but sometimes my movement was all over the place. Oh and after you make about 5 of these your nails will look as gross as mine. Judgey McJudgerstein!

 

First, gather several blooms to use for your first piece. Usually 3 or 4 creates a good size unless you’re working with a very large flower. Snip all the stems to about 1″ long.

Then get your wire and snip about 5″ pieces, 2 for each flower. We’re going to put the wire through the base of the flower where it will be the most secure. This varies for each flower, but on a spray rose it’s right through the fat part underneath the leaves. Put one piece of wire in one side and out the other.

Take a second piece of wire and put it through again, starting on an empty side to create a wire “X.”

Then bend all the wires down away from the bloom to create a new thin stem. Take your floral tape and place it at the top of the wire. Begin wrapping all the way down until you’ve covered the wire.

I find it’s super easy to wrap if you spin the flower, not the tape. It makes more sense if you’re actually trying to do this, but if you look at the picture above, I use my right hand to spin the flower at the top while controlling the tape placement with my left. Just give it a go- it’s easy peasy.

When you’ve wired all your flowers, I like to hit them with a light spray of clear life. It basically freezes the flower, so that it lasts longer out of water. Careful on dark colored flowers- if applied too heavily it can leave a haze. Gather a couple of wired flowers and play with a few arrangements. Keep in mind this little cutie needs to look good on someone’s shirt/top, so it’s helpful to hold it up in front of a mirror to see how it looks in place.

Once you have an idea of some heights and angles you like, get two blooms together and wrap them with tape. It doesn’t really matter which blooms, sometimes I used two of the same and sometimes I wrapped two different flowers together. I like to wrap them at different heights. Just play around with it- the tape comes off and you can rearrange things as much as you like. Shown below are both lysianthus blooms, one is just more open. Don’t be afraid to use blooms in all stages, it adds interest!

Now you keep building, wrapping in some filler and more flowers.

If you get everything in place the way you like, wrap one more piece of tape around the whole she-bang, and then trim the entire stem with some pruners or tough scissors to about 1 1/2″- 2″. Hit the whole arrangement with another light coat of Clear Life.

Wash your hands. Trust me.

Now it’s ribbon time! I won’t explain to you how to make the little bows, because quite frankly I kind of suck at it, and I’m sure my technique is not great. There are videos on youtube, or you could always get a Bow-Da-Bra machine :P You’ll notice my bow has 4 tails… the two flying out to the side are for securing it around the stem.

Starting at the back of your corsage, place the ribbon at the base of the arrangement with about an 1 1/2″ tail sticking up. Then fold the ribbon on itself at a 90 degree angle to start the wrap.

Wrap the ribbon around once to secure the tail in place, then begin going down the stem.

On the way down, it’s gonna look like dookie. No worries, this is normal.

Go down the stem far enough to cover the wrap, then start back up. This time, carefully place the ribbon as nicely as you can (angle, spacing, etc.). It doesn’t have to be perfect!

When you reach the top, wrap the ribbon around one more time then trim the tail to about 1 1/2″. Tie the two tails together at the back.

Place the bow at the front where you like it, then tie it around the back on top of the other knot.

Trim all the tails so you can’t see them from the front. I put two pins in the side of the wrapped stem before packaging (in case one drops or gets lost…) Put your little cutie in a bag, blow it up with air, then fold over the top several times and tape it shut. You’ll have a pretty nice pillow package that allows them to be stacked on top of eachother.

Ta-da!

The only difference between a corsage and a boutonniere is that for the men’s version, you omit the bow, and they are typically a little smaller. Now it’s your turn to try! Would you give this a go for your next big event? Are you tired of seeing my nasty fingernails?


39 Responses

  1. Anna

    I did all the florals for my daughters wedding and will be doing the same for my sons wedding in May. Using real looking silks is awesome too. Im excited to be able to work with live flowers this time- a fried is helping me get them at the wholesaler. I agree what you said about local grocery chains too- the valentines bouquet we bought lasted two weeks!! Thanks for the tute so I would know how to wire the flowers- dont have to do that with silk. wink ;)

    Reply
  2. Kourtney

    My sister just asked me to make 2 corsages and 2 boutonnieres for her junior prom. I’m glad I stumbled on your page. I will definitely give it a try. I love your arrangements! Thanks! :)

    Reply
  3. Sarah

    I’m a sophomore in high school, pretty crafty. I have a week till my dance. I’m going to practice tomorrow, but i feel like this will be a cost savor to a Christmas dance where the girl pays for everything, and will be a hopefully gained skill! Thanks for the DYI, instructions help alot, good pictures too. Side note, mine will probably end up bigger and sparkly (:

    Reply
  4. Put A Little Spring In Your Step

    […] It's just so Spring-y, isn't it? If you don't typically buy tulips, I highly suggest you try them out sometime. They are very affordable (actually these were the same price as a bunch of crazy dyed daisies..I couldn't believe it!). You can find more tulip ideas on the Dig Drop Done Pinterest page. Tulips are also great for weddings, they make smart boutonniers (check out my bout/corsage tutorial here).  […]

    Reply
  5. Carmen Rodriguez

    Wow….this is the best detailed tutorial i’ve seen without a video ! Thank you so much for sharing :) Your Pictures were right on.

    C.

    Reply
  6. Brenda

    Thank you, That was the most informative tutorial that I’ve seen, and your nails look a hell of lot better than mine. Again, thanks.

    Reply
  7. Denise Newton

    This is a wonderful idea Im making my first corsage for my sons prom date, matching the right color is the hard part.

    Reply
  8. pam

    I love your tutorial! Do you typically make these the day before the big event?

    Reply
  9. adriana benitez

    i am a junior in high school and i will not be going to prom this year but next year i would not miss a thing it will be my SENIOR year next year and even though i would not be going this year as my junior year i would love to help my friends in making their corsages a boutonnieres for them if they go but i will for sure be making my own and my dates as well

    Reply
  10. Elle Anderson

    How do you put it around your wrist or connect it to something that goes around your wrist?

    Reply
  11. Lynn

    I dont think your nails are gross AT ALL!! At least they still look like women’s hands! I have BOY hands!

    Reply
  12. Lynn

    One more thing, how long will a corsage last in the fridge if you bag it?

    Reply
  13. How to Save Money at Prom | Rogue News Online

    […] Both: Flowers are naturally beautiful, therefore you don’t need to spend an absurd amount of money on a boutonniere and corsage, just make your own! You won’t have to be limited to the flower layouts and colors in the store, you can create an arrangement unique to you! Here are a few crafty links to assist you in your mini-bouquet making adventures: http://lovelycraftyhome.com/ […]

    Reply
  14. soraya

    i love it and i ll try to make it…. thanks for awesome tutorial….

    Reply
  15. Emma

    This is by far the best online DIY corsage guide that I’ve found. Thank you SO much for putting this together with so much detail, especially the step-by-step pictures. I had a go at making one today, and I am thrilled with how it turned out! You’d never guess it was a homemade corsage ;) Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Rachael Evans

      Emma, I’m so glad you were able to follow this tutorial and get a great result! Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  16. Diana Rambles

    Congratulations! This post is featured as Pin of the Week over at Diana Rambles dot com. Come take a look at what I liked about it and how I did homecoming flowers for under $8. I’m sharing this via Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook! There is a Pin of the Week grab button on the sidebar.

    Reply
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