I decided a long time ago that I didn't want to use fresh flower bouquets because of the ridiculous expense. I searched around on Pinterest and tried a couple different paper flowers, until I came across this coffee filter peony tutorial. I loved the look of them, and unlike others I had tried, these were very easy to make.
I left the peonies white for my own bouquet, but for my bridesmaids, I wanted orange. I tried a couple methods for dying the coffee filters, including kool aid and food coloring, neither of which gave me the intense color I wanted. After doing some research online, I decided on Rit fabric dye in Tangerine. This is the same dye I used on my Toms. I followed the directions for dying paper on the Rit website, which involved microwaving the paper in a bowl with the diluted dye. They also have a really handy chart that tells you how to mix dyes to get the exact color you want. My shade of orange happened to not require any mixing.
I actually completed this step last fall, and they have been sitting around ever since.
When I finally decided to get on that, I collected my supplies.
I got the floral wire at Michaels. I liked it better than bare wire because it looked more like a natural stem. You'll need ten filters for each flower, 5 large and 5 small. I'll get to that in a moment.
Start by folding a filter in half four times. I do 2-3 at a time to speed things along. Then cut a notch on the inside corner.
Unfold once, and round the edges into a heart shape. To make my 5 smaller filters, i just cut off more from the edges.
Once you have your 10 filters ready, cut off a length of floral wire, about 12" long. Bend a small loop on one end, then push the non-looped end through the center of one of your small filters, and pull it up to the bottom of the loop.
Squirt a little glue at the center, then pull the filter up around the wire loop and twist. You will get glue all over your fingers.
Once you've add the small filters, do the same thing with the large ones.
I like to fluff the petals a little at this point. Then wrap the bottom with floral tape. I really hate floral tape.
I repeated these steps five more times for a total of six flowers. This makes a small-ish bouquet. I wanted a thicker stem/handle part than what the floral wire alone would create, so I bought a 1" dowel rod and cut it to 9" in length. I arranged the flowers how I like them around the dowel, then taped them together with duct tape. This is easier said than done. I found it easiest to get the flowers sort of close to how I wanted them, tape them down and then bend the wire to arrange them from there.
Now obviously it's not looking so hot right now. Which means it's time to forage outside! I took my pruners and clipped some sticks out of various bushes and shrubs. You're looking for something no thicker than a drinking straw. I wanted mine to be very "natural" looking (i.e. not perfect and uniform) so I cut a variety of thicknesses from several different plants.
Cover the dowel all the way around until you can't see it anymore through the sticks, then tape them in place.
Next, you want to cover over the stems with ribbon. Just wind it all the way around, overlapping some each time. Fold under the end and secure with hot glue.
From here, trim the ends of the sticks so that they are all of a similar length. You might think you're done, until you look at the bottom of your bouquet.
Use the pieces you trimmed off and hot glue them to the bottom of the dowel rod to hide it. Now you're done! Pat yourself on the back.