DIY Fabric Flowers: Part One

posted in: DIY, Posts by Alex, Wedding, Wedding Wednesday | 84
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DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

I know I’m in the minority, but cut flowers are just not my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see beautiful flowers in a garden or in nature, but between the cost part and the dying part, flower arrangements seem so wasteful. Since I’m cheap and crafty, I decided to make fabric flower bouquets for myself and my bridesmaids, rather than spend hundreds (or more) on real flowers. Not only did I save a lot of money, but the bouquets will last a lifetime.

In the two years before my wedding, I pinned a lot of DIY flowers — paper, fabric, coffee filter, you name it. Eventually I decided on homemade fabric flowers, but, unfortunately, that’s not specific enough. Pinterest, Etsy, and Google Images were literally overflowing with beautiful pictures of handmade fabric flowers and bridal bouquets. I tried a couple different flower making techniques, but they weren’t quite what I wanted. Finally, I found an awesome bouquet on WeddingBee, and the creator linked to some tutorials in the comments section. Thankfully the flowers and tutorials were just what I wanted, because it was just a couple months until the wedding. I had to get to work! I modeled my flowers after the Fabric Peonies on Creature Comforts and the DIY Fabric Flowers on Rhonna Designs.

I made 60+ fabric flowers during the 2-3 months prior to our wedding. It’s a pretty time consuming process, but you could easily crank these out in one or two weekends if you set aside a lot of time. Despite the time commitment, I’m so glad I decided to make my own. The total for my bridal bouquet and three bridesmaids bouquets was around $50, and I loved how they turned out! Here’s a shot of my finished bouquet on our wedding day, taken by our lovely photographer Kat. What do you think?

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below // Photo by Kat/Eye Studios© Kat/Eye Studios
Enough about me though, let’s get on with the tutorial! Today I’ll cover how to make the flower part, and next week we’ll talk about how to attach the finished flowers to stems, how to create a bouquet, and what else you can do with these little beauties.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

Let’s get our materials together! To make the flowers, you’ll need scissors, tealights (I bought a 16 pack from the Dollar Tree), needle and thread, and 100% polyester fabric in different textures (organza, chiffon, satin, etc.) and colors that match your wedding (or other flower project). Since we’ll be burning/melting the edges, 100% polyester fabric (it’s basically plastic) is a must.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

My wedding was different shades of blue with ivory, lace, and burlap accents, so I picked out five different shades of blue and a lot of ivory fabric. Be sure to check out the remnant bin at your fabric store! Depending on how many flowers you’re making, you’ll need less than one yard of each fabric type, so remnants are perfect. Better yet, the remnants at JoAnn Fabrics (where I purchased my stuff) are 50% off the price of the regular fabric, which can be a super, super sweet deal if the fabric is on sale! I got lucky and found most of mine in one trip, but you might need to scope out the bin for a couple weeks. I paid less than $50 for all of my fabric, and I had waayyyy too much.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

Separate your fabric by color. For mine, I put all of the ivory together, then separated the blues into navy, royal, cornflower, and two lighter shades. Begin cutting out a bunch of 4″ circles and some 3″ circles (you’ll need about half as many of these smaller circles). Don’t worry, they don’t have to be perfect! To make your flowers look more interesting, be sure to vary the types of fabric you use. You can do this however you like, but I found it easier to do all of one color of flower before starting the process over for the next color. I feel more accomplished when I’ve totally finished one color of flower, instead of being 1/4 done with all the flowers.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

Set aside a bowl of water (in case of accidental fires), move to a well ventilated area, and light a tea light. The polyester will give off a weird, melt-y plastic smell as it burns, so try not to inhale too much.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

Carefully melt the edges of the circle, slowly rotating as each section melts. Make sure you start way above the flame and move down until you’ve found a good spot. Fabrics like organza will melt really quickly and easily, and some, like chiffon, can burn or turn weird, ugly colors if held too close to the fire. I recommend using two hands and not trying to take pictures of yourself while doing this part. If you do burn a flower, assess the damage. If it’s minor, you can cut off a part and re-melt the edge, but some might be too far gone.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

Once the edges of your flower have been melted, cut four slits in your flower. The slits should be pretty close to evenly spaced, as they’ll be forming the flower petals.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

Using two hands, hold each slit open and carefully melt the edges. Be sure to hold the flower as far above the flame as possible. Some of the more fragile fabrics will melt straight through the middle of the flower. Be sure to keep your finished flower layers organized by color and size.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

When a large group of flower layers is completed, arrange 5 or 6 of one color. You will need 3-4 of the larger pieces made from the 4″ circles, and 2-3 of the smaller pieces made from the 3″ circles.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

Now we’ll begin to start to stack the flower layers, alternating the position of each layer. The petals from the top piece should lay on the slits from the previous layer. Place the larger pieces on the bottom of the stack, and the 2-3 smaller pieces on the top.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

If you’re satisfied with the layer arrangement, hold the flower together and sew a small “X” in the center.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

I used black thread for visibility, but you will want to use a thread color that matches your fabric flower.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

Now that a few flowers have been made, it’s time decorate the centers. For my wedding flowers, I sewed different patterns using pearls, glass beads in various shades of blue, and crystal beads. Each flower in my bridal bouquet was unique. What should you use for your flowers? Anything you want! Antique brooches, beads, pearls, buttons, ribbons — they would all look awesome! Just be sure to use a coordinating color of thread when you sew down your centers.

DIY Fabric Flowers | Thrifty Below

Here are a few of my finished flowers, all ready for the next part of the project. Check out DIY Fabric Flowers Part Two to learn how to make a bouquet, sash, and corsage!

DIY Fabric Flowers: Part One | Thrifty Below

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This post was shared on Worthwhile Wednesdays, The Pin Junkie’s Friday Link Party and The Pretty Pintastic Pin Party.

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84 Responses

  1. Love this, been wanting to make these for my bedroom, but never found an easy directions for it. You make it seem very easy though which makes me feel better.

    • Thank you Paulina! They’re pretty easy, especially if you just have to make a few. Next week I’m posting how to attach the stems and arrange in a bouquet, so that seems like it would be up your alley too!

  2. I like these better because they last forever! Sometimes i feel like flowers, real ones, are tossing money out the window.

    • Totally agree, Kungphoo! Fresh cut flowers are beautiful, but even when cared for properly they’ll only last a couple days.

  3. Rebecca Swenor

    I love this thanks for the info. I am going to try this. :)

  4. lisa jones

    How Beautiful Are These & So Easy To Do Love It Thank You!

  5. Great job. So beautiful. Love it! Thank you for sharing!

  6. This is a nice way to use cloth. It’s also perfect for gifts.

    • Thanks Franc! I agree — a fabric flower bouquet would be a great gift for Mother’s Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, etc.

  7. i love this idea and these kinds of flower will never wilt and you can keep it for a long time.

    • That’s my favorite part, Leira! I love that I’ll be able to keep my wedding bouquet forever.

  8. What a lovely idea, I need to learn this!

  9. You are so not in the minority! I so love fabric flowers and I’m so happy you shared this because I’ve been wanting to make more for my house instead of buying any :)

    • Thanks Sharon! They’re easy to make once you get the hang of burning the edges.

  10. Those are really pretty. Would love to make some headbands for my daughter with them.

  11. very nice tutotrial such a great idea for flowers like this above!

  12. I can’t believe you made this! Absolutely gorgeous!

    • Thank you so much, Amanda! It took a while, but I was super pleased with the results!

  13. These steps are easy to follow. My sister will do this for our mom this Mother’s Day as we’re not fans of buying real flowers which easily or ultimately tend to die anyway.

    • Great idea, Roch! A bouquet of fabric flowers would make a perfect gift for Mother’s Day!

  14. This post is very very timely for this Mother’s Day, the process on making the fabric flowers is so easy and so i can make them and maybe I am gonna use recycled fabric with more different colors. This is really a great craft idea thank you for sharing.

    • Awesome idea, Cococute! It doesn’t take very much fabric to make a flower, so it would be an awesome way to recycle fabric or use scraps leftover from other projects.

  15. Wow. How about surprise my mom with this? I love the guide and the way you illustrated every part of it. Thanks :)

  16. These are very creative ideas. and this is gorgeous

  17. I made silk bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres for our wedding because I didn’t like the cost and dying aspect, as well as how fragile cut flowers are.

    I love these instructions and foresee myself coming back to them for a craft project! Thanks!

    • I would love to see pictures, Rachel! Faux-flowers last so much longer and it’s way easier to preserve your wedding bouquet. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. What a GREAT idea!!!

  19. michele d

    Thank you for posting this guide. You make it look so easy. Beautiful flowers.

  20. These are gorgeous! I have some fabric like that, only need the sheer one. Thanks for the detailed instructions!

    • Thank you, Paula! Any fabric store should carry the types you’re missing. I bought mine at JoAnn Fabrics.

  21. The flowers look really beautiful. And they’ll last for ever. I think I like them even more than real flowers.

  22. I used a fabric flower bouquet on my wedding photos, but real flowers for the ceremony. Thanks for sharing great tutorial. I will try to make some hair clips for my daughter.

    • Hair clips would be so cute, Ave! You could easily make the flowers smaller if you wanted to attach them to little barrettes.

  23. These are so easy to make, but look so professional.

  24. Joyful Gifts by Julie

    I didn’t have real flowers at my wedding either. I had silk flowers though not fabric. It saved us a lot of money on our wedding. Your bouquet is so pretty and you will always have them. Congratulations on the marriage!

  25. Wow, your bouquet is beautiful. I would never have thought you could make your own fabric flowers. Great tutorial!

    • Thanks Paris! It takes a while to make a full bouquet (mine had 30 flowers in it), but it’s very doable!

  26. What a beautiful bouquet! Thanks for showing how to make it!

  27. These are beautiful! How clever!

  28. Helo, Alex, these color are attractive and there are not off color, can there be used as ornaments? Meaning inside a house not a compound.

    Great job here.

  29. I just want to add, from a bridesmaid’s perspective, the bouquets Alex made were AWESOME! They were hands-down the best bouquets of the five weddings I’ve been in. They were amazing for several reasons: 1. They look beautiful and classy and can be any color you want (trying to find certain colors for your flowers can be difficult). 2. They are super durable and I wasn’t afraid the whole time that they would somehow get ruined or any of those other fears that come with real flowers (I’m the bridesmaid who always has the wilted bouquet with broken stems and missing petals before the ceremony even starts). 3. They are permanent. I’ve seen ways to “save” real bouquets, but they still end up gross and dry and crusty. These stay beautiful, and I got an awesome keepsake from their wedding. :)

  30. Great idea! The photos are beautiful and thanks for really showing the step by step. Love it!

  31. You did such a great job! So pretty!

  32. I absolutely loved this. I’m not crafty but I’m going to pin it to my craft board.

  33. That bouquet looks amazing! What a simple tutorial. So elegant. I’m definitely going to have to try it!

    • Thanks Tiffany! It’s really easy once you get used to melting the edges on the flame.

  34. Those are so pretty! I love how easy that is. I am going to have to try that technique out for some projects I am doing this week.

  35. I’d actually think they were realistic from afar! So pretty and lush! xoxo

  36. Beautiful and practical. Perfect for any kind of occasion not only just weddings but also for debuts and anniversaries.

    • Thanks Kath! I agree — fabric flowers are great for any holiday or event where flowers are involved. Or really any time!

  37. Ok I so pinned this so that I can try making it! Love it and blue is my favorite color too! =)

    • Thank you so much, Marielle! I’m glad you liked it and I hope you’ll come back and show us the finished product!

  38. My daughter is getting married in May 2015, we made a couple tonight. We love love them, it is going to be a hugh project that is for sure, however I know in the end it will be worth the work. Thank you for sharing

    • You’re starting early, so that should give you time to spread out the work so you’re not rushing to finish next May! Tell your daughter congratulations! I hope you’ll come back and share the finished bouquets!

  39. I am getting married in July 2015 and I was wondering what the cost was to make this bouquet and how many flowers did you make to make the bouquet look so full? Also do you sell these?

    • I made 60 flowers total (30 for the bridal bouquet and 10 for each of my bridesmaids’ bouquets) and the cost was about $50, but I had a lot of leftover fabric. Sorry, I don’t sell the fabric flower bouquets, but I’ve seen some beautiful ones on Etsy if you don’t feel like making your own. Congrats on your engagement, Hannah!

      • okay awesome! I looked on etsy and they are like $250… and that is just not a college girl’s budget haha. I think I am going to try these. Also, how did you add the embellishments in the middle– did you sew them or hot glue them?

  40. I have only read part one so far and I just want to say thank you!! I have been looking for a way to make beautiful flowers and this is such a great post you have made my day :)

  41. […] Thrifty Below                                                         Source: […]

  42. OMG This was beautiful. And so easily executed. Directions are on point. Thank you so much #WeddingBouquet

  43. how did you attach the flowers to the handle? what did you use for the handle? looking to make these with a friend for her wedding and just wondering!

  44. Hey Alex,

    I’ve made a ton of these flowers with pink chiffon, but I’m finding that they seem too floppy for my bouquet. I’ve tried to attach them to wire to make my bouquet, but the petals just fall apart and don’t look solid like yours. Was that a problem you had as well? Maybe it’s the chiffon haha. Thanks!

    • Hey Corinne! Unfortunately, I think it’s the chiffon. I used some chiffon in the flower layers, but it was mixed in with layers of sturdier fabrics like satin and organza. You might want to consider adding 2-3 layers of pink satin petals (or anything you find that’s pretty and 100% polyester) at the bottom of each flower, to provide a base layer of support. Since the chiffon is on top, you’ll still have a chiffon-y bouquet, but it will be more structurally sound. Hope this helps!

  45. […] The tutorial for the fabric flowers can be found here. […]

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