Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Elizabeth's Expert Advice: Carnation Garlands

We love carnations, and we don't care who knows it. 

Lately they've been coming back in a big way, showing up on ruffled cakes, in thickly strung garlands and as ceremony and altar backdrops. 

Image by Bill McCullough; Flowers by La Fleur Vintage

Image via Pinterest

From Martha Stewart Weddings

Carnations en masse are a beautiful thing. While it's certainly easier to step back and let your florist spend hours stringing these little flowers together, this is something that you could turn into a DIY project if you have a few hours to spare (and resilient fingertips). Here's how: 

1. Your supply list: 

-Several bunches of carnations - the number will vary based on the length and thickness of your garland. The Martha Stewart backdrop above would require about 1,000 stems; the garlands we'll be making to hang chairs take about 20-25.
-Fishing line. For this project, use a length of 1 yard. 
-Needles: We used tapestry needles, because a smaller needle can easily get lost and pulling it out can damage the petals, causing the flower to fall apart.
-Clippers (or scissors)
-Ribbon in varying colors and lengths. This is entirely subjective, depending on how long and numerous you want the 'tails' to be. We used two pieces of shimmery pink on each side - one 24" piece and one 60" piece.
-Hot glue gun

2. After you've threaded fishing line through the needle, use clippers to cut the stem off at the base, as close as you can get without the petals falling apart. 

3. Push your needle through the base of the flower, and pull the fishing line through, making sure the petals face away from the end of the fishing line. 

4. Leave enough room to tie a loop (4 inches or so) and then dab hot glue onto the line at the base of the carnation. 

5. Using the same technique, string all but one of your remaining flowers onto the line. Push them close together to hide as much of the green as possible.

7. String the last carnation so that its base is facing inward (it will be petal-to-petal with the previous flower, instead of base-to-petal like the rest), loop the end of the fishing line and secure with a knot and a dab of glue. 

9. Center your ribbons around the glued knot and tie in a single knot.

10. To trim your ribbon into a cute shape, fold the end in half and cut at an angle. 

10. You can then use the ribbons to tie the garland to a chair (or tree or curtain rod, etc) or let them hang loose and use the fishing line loop to secure the garland instead. 

Precious! We love this for a bridal shower or to link the bride and groom's chairs at a wedding reception. 

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