Putting Together a Brooch Bouquet, the Styro-ball Method

This is Part 4 of a who knows how many parts series on the sweet darlings that are brooch bouquets. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of Putting Together a Brooch Bouquet here.

The good news is that the Styro-ball method is much less finicky than the floral wire method, and you won’t need nearly as many brooches to make a truly full-looking bouquet. The (possible) bad news is that using a styro-ball as a base, your bouquet will have exactly the same shape as a, you guessed it, styro-ball. This may be okay for you, especially if you’re drawn to perfectly symmetrical bouquets, but I tend to like things that look casually thrown together. But I also love not having to fiddle for hours with annoying floral tape, so I’m working on making my styro-ball bouquet look less styro-ball-ish.

Implements of Destruction:

  • your pile of brooches (I’d recommend somewhere in the range of 60-100 brooches)
  • floral wire (I buy mine pre-cut, but if you’re cutting your own, you’ll need them to be long enough to both wrap around the hinge pin of the broach, go through the styro-ball, and have a handle length)
  • hot glue
  • regular white glue and a foam brush (optional)
  • a styro-ball, either a hemisphere, full sphere, or hemisphere on a cone
  • a can of spray paint (choose a good background color for your brooch palette)
  • the Netflix destraction of your choice (it was The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and The X-Files for me)

The Process:

  1. Start with your styro ball and your can of spray paint. I chose Kryon Indoor Metallic in a satin-finish gold-ish color. Most of my brooches are gold-toned, but I didn’t want disco gold to outshine the brooches I’ve snagged.
  2. Coat the styro ball thoroughly with your spray paint. You’ll need several good, thick coats, so give yourself a few days for this part of the process. (Mine is actually a florist’s block, but only because Wal*Mart drastically cut the size of the craft department (boo!) and this was all they had. I’m guessing an actuall styro-ball would hold better, as florist’s blocks tend to fall apart after you move a piece around a few times.)
  3. Wrap the floral wire on each of your brooches, and hot glue in place, following the process found in Part 3 of this whole gig. You can choose to do this all at once, or one-by-one, as you’re putting your brooches in place on the styro-ball.
  4. Once you’ve decided what your starting point will be, it might be helpful to lay out your brooches in categories–by color, perhaps, or size, or ranked by how much you love them and must show them off.

Now you’re ready to actually put together your bouquet! You’ve got a few options here, but while you’re working, remember that the goal is to achieve overall symmetry–you don’t want all gold in one spot, and all silver in another, or all large brooches in one spot too far away from all small ones. Or maybe you do, who am I?

You also don’t want the styro ball to show through. You can avoid this by 1) laying down a foundation of sorts–using broken or ugly brooches, vintage buttons, or even fabric scraps. Whatever you choose, actually, but you want whatever you put down to serve as a showcase for your brooches–nothing too showstopping, as you want that attention to be on your favorite brooches. Or, 2) you can place down all your biggest brooches, and then you’ll fill in (you’ll fill in a lot) with your favorite and smaller brooches. Or you can 3) do some combination of all of the above. This willy-nilly approach is, of course, the one I took, but it helps to work in a rough spiral, and to know that whatever you put down first will be covered up.

  1. Once you’ve decided what your starting point will be, it might be helpful to lay out your  brooches in categories–by color, perhaps, or size, or ranked by how much you love them and must show them off.
  2. Start poking your wire-wrapped broaches through, always aiming for the “handle” of the floral wire to end up in the relative center of your styro-ball. 
  3. If you want a little extra hold, paint some white glue (with a foam brush is the easiest way) on the top part of your floral wire (from the brooch down however many inches high your styro is–you don’t want glue on the “handle”)
  4. Stop every once in a while to check your progress; make sure you’ve got the look you want.
  5. Fill in any holes with the tiniest of brooches. Use small pins, pretty sparkly buttons, even earrings to fill in holes.
  6. Your last step will be to “make” your handle. You may have enough floral wire to make a thick handle–you may just be able to tape it up with floral tape, wrap with a ribbon, and style as usual (you can sew the basics of this in my $20 Floral Bouquet tutorial). But you may not have enough wire to make a thick handle… and when I figure out a way to solve this problem, I’ll let you know.

NOTE: I’m only partway through with my bouquet. This tutorial is a good start, but there are a few things I haven’t figured out yet, specifically, how deal with the bottom and sides of a styro-ball, how to make a truly sturdy and “holdable” handle, and how to counteract the fact that this is a truly top-heavy piece of work. Coming soon!

But for now, this is what I’ve got!

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About AshleyGee

I'm a graduate instructor at a completely Southern (Football, Rush Week, and lots of "Hey Y'alls!") university. I teach freshman comp, study
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3 Responses to Putting Together a Brooch Bouquet, the Styro-ball Method

  1. Annette says:

    I think it’s turning out beautiful.

  2. Tammy says:

    I am having trouble getting the wire to poked thru, you make it look so easy, how did you do that, I bought a green floral ball, what did you use

    • AshleyGee says:

      Hi, Tammy. I actually ended up not using the styrofoam. It looked great to start with, but once I got more broaches on, it looked weird. So here’s what I did instead:
      1) I wrapped a stick of floral wire on each broach and hot glued it in place to prevent the broach from twisting around.
      2) I bundled groups of 3-5 broaches together (you could do more or less, depending on how big your broaches are) and twisted those stems together close to the broaches. When I made my bundles of 3-5, I tried to make the overall shape of the bundles vaguely arched so that when I put lots of bundles together, it formed a sphere shape.
      3) Once I got all my small bundles made, I started putting them together to form the sphere. I twisted the small bundles together with each other. Work in a circle so the shape stays even.
      4) Once you have all your small bundles together in the shape you want, twist a few pieces of floral wire around the big stem, and then tape that stem with floral tape.
      5) At this step, you can opt to wrap that big stem in some soft fabric like batting or something similar. I didn’t do this and my ribbon tended to slip, even against the floral tape.
      6) Wrap the stem with your ribbon, and pin in place! et voila! a brooch bouquet.

      Hope this helps!

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