DIY - Silk Flower Brooch

By Andrea Karim on 23 April 2007 (Updated 6 August 2012) 21 comments
Photo: Bellafaye

There's a company in my area that makes silk flower brooches that are sold at Nordstrom for $60 a pop. I occasionally see these silk flower brooches at Nordstrom and feel like, well, screaming.

Why? Because I know that each brooch costs less than $5 to make.

The silk "poppies" that are used cost $4. They ship from India, and so that adds about $0.10 to the cost of each poppy. A pin backing and a fake leaf are glued to the back. That's about $0.07 worth of materials right there. The women who make the pins are paid roughly $9 an hour, and can make as many as 30 pins per hour. So that's another $0.30 right there. How do I know this? I nearly worked for the company that makes them. I've seen the cost break-down, and it ain't pretty. (See also: 10 Places to Find Inexpensive Accessories)

Yet some upscale women will pay $60 for these things. Well, live and let live.

Or, in true Wise Bread fashion, do it yourself and save big.

Flower brooches are frighteningly easy to make. The basic instructions:

  1. Get a silk flower of some kind.
  2. Remove it from the stem.
  3. Glue a pin to the back, either in the center or just above the center of the back.
  4. Cover the spine of the pin backing by gluing something pretty, like a fake leaf or a piece of felt or velvet.
  5. Pin to coat or give as gift.
  6. Feel good.

Flower brooches are also great Mother's Day gifts. I don't even like having to "celebrate" holidays like Mother's Day, because I don't think they are much more than a Hallmark ploy to get you to spend spend spend. My mother, in fact, never gave a rip about Mother's Day. But as I get older, I want to be sure to make small gestures (besides foot rubs) so that my mum knows how much I love her. One way to do this that is sincere, and frugal, is to make stuff. Yes, buying an expensive bouquet of flowers is nice, but sometimes, a gift from the heart is more precious.

Plus, my mum has this weird theory that I have artistic talent, all evidence to the contrary.

Here are some tips for making flower brooches:

Get your hands on a hot glue gun, if you don't already have one. Using these things is kind of an art, and you will get burned a few times. Practice makes perfect and all that. The glue guns at my craft store cost between $2-15 dollars. Mine is a $9 model that's pretty bad-ass.

Don't buy ridiculously expensive pin backings. Sterling silver really doesn't do much for the backing, and costs too much and won't be seen anyway.

When making brooches, you want the back of the flower to be almost completely flat. Because of the way these fake flowers are put together, sometimes you have to cut off the plastic that holds it all together in order to get a good, flat back. In this case, you'll have to reconstruct the flower using hot glue. It's not too hard, though.

If you have some silk flowers that are less-than exciting, you can always take apart two flowers and combine them. Use the same kind of flower for additional petals, or two or three different kinds of flowers for a sort of hybrid flower.

The little leaves that you glue over the pin's spine can usually be found in the bridal supply section of a craft or fabric store, because they are often used in veils.

The center of the flower is a good place to glue something really cool. On the flower pictured below, I glued an antique button that I bought at a thrift store. It has rhinestones, and complements the subtle colors of the flower perfectly.

You don't have to put anything in the center because a lot of fake flowers look better with their fake centers. But other ideas include regular buttons, smiley faces, crystals, beads, pearls, or even those polished glass pebbles that you put into fish tanks. Below is a small white lapel pin that I made with a cheap mother-of-pearl button for a center.

The brooches that I made for upcoming Mother's Day cost me under $10, and that's for both Mum and Gram. Now, I just need to make a couple of cool cards, and I'll be all set.

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Jessica Okon's picture

Thanks Andrea for this. I've attempted to make flower barrettes, but didnt use the leave technique, which I think is an important step.

 

Guest's picture

Well that sure looks like artistic talent to me! Lovely and frugal! Thanks for joining Make it From Scratch!

Guest's picture
BECCA

My favorite one has the rhinestone button. I also like how you dismantled the flower to make a new artificial flower. Great thinking!

Andrea Karim's picture

Thanks a bunch! I'm happy to be included.

These things really are frighteningly easy to make. I'm sure most of our readers aren't silly enough to buy a silk flower brooch from Nordstrom, but you never know!

Guest's picture
MJS

Thank you so much for the awesome advice. I recently bought a flower broach at Charlotte Russe for $5.50. Not a bad price.... but now I LOVE it and that was the only one they had. I looked into making my own, but didn't know what to do since I knew it had to be flat on the back. Your advice was GREAT! I can't wait to run to the store and make a zillion of them! Forget Nordstroms!

Guest's picture
liping

way cool! thank you, thank you, thank you.

Guest's picture
Lynnea

Love this! I saw one on a dress on Etsy, but couldn't buy just the pin (and the dress was cool, but not my size). I saw some jars of petals at the craft store today and may need to warm up the old glue gun and get busy!

Guest's picture
Tanya

I too want to make my own pins. I have a vintage clothing boutique, and think this will be a great addition to my collection.
I agree with you about the price of these flower pins. I can't wait to start! Thahks for the instruction.
Also, I saw an article about making the ribbon kind with wired ribbon. So easy! And, yes, you are artistic!! Tanya

Guest's picture
Eva

Thank you so much for the tutorial. I just bought a new coat that is *begging* for a beautiful flower brooch. Now I can have one and not go broke. :)

Guest's picture
Guest

I was online shopping for a flower brooch to add to a somewhat plain black suit when I ran across this website. I already have a glue gun, and old pearls lying around that I can recycle. Just need the flower and the pin. This is such a dirt cheap idea, thanks for sharing!

Guest's picture
Newreader

I literally was online intending to buy one of those overpriced silk flower pins because I, too, bought a new coat and thought I'd love a pin to go with it...you gave me some great ideas!
I laughed at your prediction of getting burned with a hot glue gun. The first time I used one was when I was a parent "helper" at my daughter's school -- I burned myself so badly I had to go see the nurse. I'm more careful now.

Guest's picture
king

Thanks for you direction on the broch flowers.  I am presently attempting this venture.  However, I have been able to locate the flowers already made with pin and an attachment for the wrist.  The cost is minimal.  In fact it is cheaper to purchase the flower already made than to make it.  I  plan to embolish the flower and sale with a very large margin of profit

Guest's picture
king

My flowers will be embolished with pearls, crystals, sequeins, sparkle glue, and feathers

Guest's picture

Artificial flower arrangements are not only for special occasions it is one of the marvelous gift like bouquet of flowers but the silk flowers are the best thing and last forever art of making variety of flowers much changed throughout history.

Guest's picture
hotbettie30

OMG I am an idoit...I can't believe how easy this is and I simply love flower lapel pins. I wear one everyday. I will not waste another $ at some jewelry/high end store...I am going to make my own! Thanks so much for showing how to do this!

Guest's picture
SparklinGirlie

I am so happy I found this site! Pretty clever ideas with these silk flowers... I am headed to the craft store now. Thanks again!

Guest's picture
Julie

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been looking at these pins on e-bay (which for anyone not willing to make it themselves, is MUCH cheaper than department stores) and mildly thinking, why can't I make them myself using dollar store silk flowers? Although, I kept getting stuck at the part where I know I'll have to cut off the plastic part on the back holding the whole thing together. Well, as I began this, thanks for the detailed instructions. Now, I just have to get myself to a craft store!

Guest's picture
sheryl

Love the ideas for using silk flowers. One of the best sites I've seen. I hope to try some of these ideas for making a bridal bouquet with my daughter. Since she is watching her budget very carefully making her own brooch and silk flower bouquet might be a good option.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thank you so much. I am looking to begin doing silk flower crafts and think I will start with this one. I will also share this post on my website. Thanks again.