Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Flower Garden in My Hair

I so love rocking flowers in my hair. I don't know if it's my inner hippy or a desperate gesture of femininity or because I get bored with having to pull my hair back every other day. With Fall approaching, garden flowers will be in short supply, and I'm too poor to go buying a zillion silk flowers from a cute boutique.

Enter, crafty projects. Over the years, my mantra has too often veered toward, "Why buy it if you can make it?" Unfortunately, I take on way, way too many projects at once, so I rarely beyond mildly proficient at any particular crafty area. (Knitting? Check. Crocheting? Check. Quilting? Check. Skills immediately forgotten once blanket put down? Triple-check.)

But once again, I was inspired to pick up something new and give it a try. And the online tutorials and instructions I read really were very simple. So here we go: Homemade Chiffon and Silk Flowers.

First step: Buy some fabric. I bought all of this off the Walmart clearance shelves for less than $20. Most of it was $1 a yard, so buy up a bunch of different textures and colors. And when all was said and done, I had only used about 0.005% of the total fabric, so my cost for 6 flowers was probly less than a penny. You do the math, I'm currently on a math & science strike.

The next step is to cut some stacks of wobbly circles. Don't aim for perfect circles because your flowers will look too geometric and not enough romantic. For each flower, you'll want to cut layers of varying sizes of colors and textures. My flowers pictured have 7-10 layers in each. (The top row in this pic is post-edge-melting, for comparison.)

In order to get those curly, ruffly petal edges, you need to melt the fabric over a flame. I won't tell you to be safety conscious with gloves and goggles and fire extinguishers, because I'm constantly doing things with bare hands (Bo can attest to that, because he's constantly hearing me say "OUCH" from the kitchen). Hold the circle edge over the flame and, as it curls, rotate the circle until you've melted the entire circumference. For best results, do NOT trim the candle wick down. Otherwise, it doesn't generate enough heat.

I finished each circle by melting the center just a little. That made the whole thing crinkle and not lay quite so rigidly flat.

(Heads up - not all of my fabric melted. Some just caught on fire and burned.)

When you start stacking the melted circles together, they'll begin forming a ruffly flower. I opted to anchor them all down with a button center, but the original directions suggested small beads. I just used a regular needle and thread to stitch through the layers and attach the button.

I attached a button and hot glued a loop of embroidery floss to it. That way, I can either slip a bobby pin through the loop or string the flowers onto a thin ribbon for a necklace.

Finished flowers. I'd like to make smaller versions of these someday, so that I can wear more than one at a time. We'll see if I actually ever dig my fabric back out to do that.

And, voila! A homemade flower tucked into my ball of messy hair.

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