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Top Tips for 'Vintage'-look Florals

I'd like to welcome guests arriving
from DEEconstructed's blog post!
 this post about working with flowers
originally appeared on HOMEWARDfoundDecor in February...
I hope you enjoy it!

 Welcome to Day 18!

 along with chocolate, the number one Valentine's Day gift is flowers.
and as much as i love a huge bouquet of fresh roses (white, please),
i really love using vintage florals in my decor. but they can be pricy!
over the years of styling retail displays and creating products for sale at vintage shows,
i've discovered a few tricks for using flowers in a way that makes them look more 'vintage'...

 * bunch 'em up into an old fashioned 'tussy mussy'

this bouquet (also shown in the top photo in this post) is a mix of about 20 fabric/silk flowers
and MOST of them aren't old. 
grabbed for pennies at garage sales, thrift stores, and even the dollar store,
those flowers form the 'base' of the bouquet, packed tightly into a bunch.

then the actual vintage flowers are inserted so that they sit above the others and at the edges of the bouquet
those are the flowers that you focus on when you look at the bouquet
[the white sweet william and deep pink mini roses, for example]

the stems are held tightly together with rubber bands,
then are wrapped up in a large vintage white doily. 
the top edge of the doily is left loose and looks like a collar around the flowers.
i also wound some vintage seam binding and ribbon around the stems,
finishing them off by dangling a cubic zirconia engagement ring and a vintage crystal.

 * create a domed arrangement

a styrofoam or floral foam ball is shoved tightly into a vase as the base of this arrangement.
snip flower stems to @ 2-3", and begin inserting them into the ball along the vase edge. 
work upward and place those flowers very closely together
[your flowers should all be the same type for this to look best - all roses, or tulips, for example]
the roses in the arrangement shown above were not vintage,
but here's a trick to making them LOOK vintage:

1. put on some gloves, and create a bleach solution of 1/4 cup bleach to 2 cups water. 
2. mix in a plastic spray bottle with a 'fine mist' spray option on the nozzle. (not 'stream')

3. take your new fabric flowers outside, and prop the flowers up in an bucket or paint can.
[you want them to be sitting as they will be when displayed]
4. sit the bucket of flowers on a large piece of cardboard or dropcloth to catch the overspray.

5. VERY LIGHTLY spray the bleach/water mixture over the flowers from @ 12" away.
spray from the TOP, and let the mist of bleach/water fall down onto the petals. 
6. let them dry, then repeat. 
7. for the second spray, move in a bit closer and focus on the ends of the petals of the large flowers.
[you may have to remove the stems from the bucket and hold each one]
8. let dry. then use in your decor!

this method will cause the flower petals on the outside of the blooms to fade and wrinkle a bit,
just as they do over time in vintage flowers.

* you can make even cheap fabric/silk flowers look more 'real':

when placing your flowers into containers, tweak the stems...
bend them and twist them just as real flowers do when growing in a garden.
have some facing downward, some reaching upward.

pull a few of the blooms open - stretch out the outer petals
[hair spray will stiffen them up so they hold]
and pull a few petals off of one bloom... scatter them on the table below the arrangement. 
it just looks a bit more 'real' that way!


  1. Oh my gosh! I was just thinking this morning about heading out and buying some fabric flowers. Thanks for the tip! I think I'll try that with some of the cheapy-on-sale flowers.

  2. Beautiful....these are all gorgeous-thanks for the tips!!! xo Diana