DIY - Silk Flower Brooch
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:
- Get a silk flower of some kind.
- Remove it from the stem.
- Glue a pin to the back, either in the center or just above the center of the back.
- Cover the spine of the pin backing by gluing something pretty, like a fake leaf or a piece of felt or velvet.
- Pin to coat or give as gift.
- 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.