My friend Jackie was getting married in her native Hawaii last summer so I helped throw her bridal shower before her wedding in Oahu. I was in charge of decorations and since she was going to have beautiful orchids all through out her wedding so for her shower, I decided to make a bunch of white orchid decorations, including this massive oversized paper orchid centerpiece. To get an idea of how big the orchids were, here is a photo of the radiant bride-to-be in front of it:
It was huge!! The giant stem of orchids made a nice focal point for the party. The biggest bloom at the bottom spanned about 3 feet across! (side note: isn’t my friend Jackie so pretty? Thank you for having a wedding in Hawaii and giving us a reason to vacation there!)
For the paper flowers, I found a free orchid template online here. The template made orchids only a couple inches big, so I enlarged the flowers in photoshop and made the blooms in two sizes: one extra-large bloom at the base and three smaller ones above it. Each bloom had three pieces to it: the center piece and 2 petal pieces (I’m sure those are not the right botanical terms). I printed the enlarged templates out on my printer on regular paper then I pieced them together with tape:
My local art supply store Flax in SF happened to be having their annual paper sale so I bought a bunch of HUGE pieces of crepe-like paper for $1 a piece. Normally the paper sells for $5 a piece so I got a great deal on them and they were about 4feet x 5feet big. The paper was thinner than poster board with a slight texture. I traced the templates onto the paper and cut out the pieces. Here are all three pieces that make up each flower:
I decided to watercolor the center pieces of the blooms to make them look more realistic:
I did the old grade school trick of sprinkling salt on the paint while it was still wet to make it look more speckled:
Because the flowers were so big and the paper was thin, I was afraid they wouldn’t hold up, so I reinforced the backside of the petals with floral wire. I taped the wire to the petals and the wire kept the flowers from being too floppy:
Then because I wanted the petals to curl a bit to look more realistic, I curled the edges of the petals by rolling them up with my hands. The floral wire helped hold its shape:
Then I glued the three pieces of the flower together so that each bloom looked like this:
After I was done making all the flowers, I was trying to figure out how to put them together to create one stem of blooms. I needed a strong curved structure that could stand upright and just was I was telling my dilemma to Jeff, my eyes locked on our arc lamp across the room and I knew it was perfect for the job! We have this “big dipper arc lamp” from CB2 and it was exactly what I needed to create my orchid plant:
The arc is adjustable so I extended the arm as far out as it would go. I took off the lightbulb and lamp shade and wrapped the metal arc with green paper. Then I taped each bloom along the “stem”. I also added a couple small buds to the end of the arc and green leaves at the base:
One show stopping orchid plant all done! Perfect for the Hawaiian-themed bridal shower!
I ended up making a bunch more white orchids with yellow centers that we hung around the room. The bride was able to re-purpose the flowers and took a bunch with her back to Hawaii and used them as props for the photo booth at her wedding reception, too!
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