My bouquet is a ball of awesomeness — it's a ball of pin backs (aka badges, aka buttons, aka pieces of flair).
I chose pin backs that depicted movies, TV shows, literature, and other geekiness that held important meaning for me, my husband, and our relationship. I ended up selecting pin backs from twenty two different fandoms. It took about four months to source all the pin backs and assemble, and it cost about $250. But it's is a constant reminder of our wedding, the various shared interests that brought us closer together, and will be lovingly displayed in a bell jar for the rest of our lives.
How did this bouquet go from a seed of an idea to a reality? In just 10 easy steps…
1. Purchase a plain styrofoam ball
My ball came from a craft store and cost $8.39. There were several different sizes from which to choose. Mine is nine inches, but there were both smaller and larger choices. The size of the ball will influence how many pin backs are needed to cover it which will in turn influence the cost.
2. Decide what size pin backs to use
One inch in diameter seems to be the most common size pin back available, but I also came across 1.5 inch and 2 inch options as well. I decided to go with one inch because it seemed like there was the most variety in that size plus, I'd be able to fit the most of that size onto my ball. I would not advise trying to combine sizes as that could make assembly tricky. But if you're up for a challenge go for it!
3. Figure out how many you'll need to cover your ball
I am lousy at math and so I asked a friend who teaches it to figure this out for me. He needed to know the circumference of the ball (9inch) and the diameter of the pin backs (1inch). Through the wizardry of math he estimated that I would need 154 which ended up being pretty close. I had about 15 pin backs that didn't end up on the bouquet due to lack of space.
4. Purchase your pin backs
This was probably the most time consuming. I narrowed it down by first flagging the geeky shit my husband and I either love in common or discovered together — since that's what the bouquet was supposed to represent.
I purchased all of my pin backs from Etsy shops and the total for them (with tax and shipping) came to $180.
5. Paint your styrofoam ball (if you want)
I didn't want white showing in the negative space so I bought some basic black acrylic paint and sponge brushes. The best technique I found for painting Styrofoam was to actually squirt some paint directly onto the ball and then squish it around with the sponge brush. Because Styrofoam absorbs paint it took about three coats to cover it to my satisfaction.
To skip this step altogether you could look for a Styrofoam ball that is already a different color. You could also cover the ball in something else like fabric or colored craft paper.
6. Find your starting point
To do this the ball first needs to be stabilized. I ended up covering a large bowl in newspaper and setting the ball inside. You'll also need to choose a “top” or “bottom” so that you have a reference point. I wanted my ball to hang from my wrist so I chose a “top” but if I had wanted to hold it like a traditional bouquet I would have chosen a “bottom.”
- Attach all of your pin backs
I decided I wanted my pin backs to be completely randomized. To achieve this I put all the pin backs into a bag, shook them up, and pulled them out at random. My one rule was that no two pin backs from the same fandom could be touching.
Hot glue became my very best friend during this part of the process. First, I lined up the pin the way I wanted it, and actually stuck it in without glue. Once it was lined up, I pulled it back out, flipped it over, covered the back and the stick of the pin itself in hot glue, then stuck it in. I held each pin in place for about thirty seconds, and pushed down to make sure the glue was actually adhering to the ball. I continued this process working my way down in circles.
Note: Do not freak out if the spacing is not perfect, because it probably won't be. I freaked out for a while, and then I filled in the negative space later.
8. Fill in the negative space (if you want)
Once all of your pins are attached, you can decide whether to leave the negative space as is, or fill it in. I chose to fill it in with pretty decorative pins. I chose red and white because our wedding colors were red, black, and white.
9. Attach your chosen handle
For my handle, I sewed red, silver, and skull beads onto a length of sturdy black ribbon. If you choose a beaded ribbon, make sure to leave enough un-beaded ribbon at either end so it can be attached. The handle could really be anything. Some other options I considered were a painted dowel, a sword handle, or some braided wire.
To secure my handle I hot glued the ribbon down but knew that wouldn't be strong enough so I covered a bunch of the decorative pins in hot glue and stuck them down into the ball through the ribbon. I stuck these in at a bunch of different angles so it would be extra secure.
10. Step back and admire your pin back bouquet
Voila! A totally unique bouquet full of memories and meaning. Best part? Like love, it will never die.
Comments on Pieces of flair for your wedding!: How to make a pin back bouquet in 10 easy steps
This makes me wish I’d have kept up with my dozens of buttons from high school/college!
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