I’ve always been intrigued by composite flowers…are you familiar with them? Basically, you disassemble several flowers (of the same kind) and reassemble the petals to look like one large bloom. When I spotted this composite flower (duchess rose) from Floral Verde, I contacted Janet to ask if she could give us some advice and tips on making these artistic flowers…
Janet used petals from many ‘Amnesia’ roses to create the duchess rose for this wedding cake. Roses are commonly used to create composite flowers, but Janet suggested getting creative with other flowers and foliages. Look at her amazing and modern silver tree composite bouquet…
Now here’s a bouquet for a bride looking to make a statement…and it looks extremely light and easy to handle…
Traditionally, composite flowers were time consuming to make…removing the petals from flowers and wiring each petal individually…then gluing them all together to make a bouquet. Simply reading the instructions could be completely overwhelming. However, Janet makes the whole process sound like a breeze using new, easier techniques. Here are Janet’s suggestions for those of you wanting to attempt a composite flower for the first time…be sure to watch the video first…
JTV has an awesome video on composite flowers/duchess roses/ glamelias. I learned everything I know on the subject from him!
As for the duchess rose [seen above], I made that the day of the wedding with my dad's help. As long as you seal it with a wax spray and have a floral cooler, I'm sure you'd have no problem making it a day in advance. I made the base for the rose out of ribbon ends and wire earlier in the week, so it only took about a half hour to glue all the petals on the day of. And because it was for a cake, I didn't have to finish the back or the stem wrap nicely. I'd allow another 15 minutes or half hour if you want to finish it to use as a bouquet.
Here are a few tips:
1) Prep the ribbon-end bases well in advance. It's one less thing to do during the week when you're in a pinch.
2) Let your roses fully open the week of the event, so you can use more of the petals.
3) When you are ready to assemble your duchess rose, make sure you have plenty of counter space - that way you can lay the petals out in the order in which you'd like to use them as you strip them off of the roses. I use about a dozen roses to cover a six inch ribbon end. I pull off all the guard petals and all of the larger petals laying them out in a row from left to right, starting a new row with each rose. I end up with petals of similar size and color petals in columns, so when I begin assembly I use petals in columns from top to bottom, then left to right.
4) Don't skip snipping the bottom edge of the petals off in the next step. It makes gluing them a lot more manageable.
5) Have two tubes of glue and an assistant. Apply glue to the ribbon base for the first row of petals and put it aside. Then, as you snip the bottom edge of the petals off, have an assistant work right behind you to apply glue on the back of the each petal. By the time you start affixing petals to the base, the glue on the base and on the back of the petals should be tacky. Once you get in a rhythm with your assistant, you can apply petals almost non-stop and the roses will go together super fast.
6) Glue your most perfect rose, sans guard petals, in the middle with the stem poking through the hole of your ribbon bolt end.
7) Finish the back of the ribbon end with a row of guard petals (facing in the same direction as the rest of the petals), and foliage (galax work well).
8) Ribbon wrap the wire and single rose stem for a polished handle.
They're super quick if you do a bit of prep work, lay out all of the petals in order, and have a little help. Also, have a skinny vase on hand that can hold your duchess rose when you want to put it down.
I can’t thank Janet enough for her willingness to make composite flowers “do-able” for the rest of us! And, by the way, I love that Janet’s dad helps with the floral design!
A few more examples to inspire…
image via Boutwell Studio
image via Martha Stewart
image via My Wedding Flower Ideas
image via Beautiful Blooms
So, what do you think? Please feel free to leave any advice you have regarding your own experience making composite flowers. Thanks again, Janet!
Hope you all have a great Wednesday!