How To: Carnation Backdrop Lots of fancy, on the cheap! by Meg Keene This project started when we ordered this super cheap, super cheesy (fairy light netting, anyone?), wedding arch off of Amazon. Since we were working on a tutorial series where we turned kitschy wedding decorations into something good, we thought it was worth a go. Also, it was $20. Long story short, we had no idea what we were going to do with it. But then Brooklyn Wedding Stylist Michelle Edgemont suggested that we do something with carnations. Since Michelle is the artist behind this insane upside down fuchsia carnation installation, when she suggests carnations, you just blindly sign on the dotted line. It’s a good thing we did, too. While we created this project with a truly terrible $20 wedding arch, our goal was to provide inspiration for those of you getting hitched at venues with old school gazebos, or super traditional white wedding arches. Sometimes the universe throws you a white wicker structure, and you just have to figure out how to get your style on. Funnily enough, we ended up creating a project that looked so cool that I’d go out and buy a cheesy wedding arch just to make it. It would be a killer backdrop for saying your vows, and/or a killer photobooth backdrop. Plus, it’s easy (if a little time consuming) to make, and can be made well in advance. Carnations are the cockroaches of flowers—it’s really, really hard to kill them. The basic supplies you need for this project are these: Fifteen to twenty bunches of Carnations (you can go multi-colored or monochromatic). Carnations usually come in bunches of about ten, and will run you between $0.30 and $0.40 a stem at a flower market, around $0.75 a stem if you order wholesale online (for ease), or you can get them last minute from a grocery store or bodega. Fishing line A few heavy-duty embroidery needles Scissors A wedding arch, gazebo, etc. (Note: The $20 arch we used was one of the most unstable things I’ve ever seen. Do yourself one better and splurge on a $50 one that might actually stand up without having to be tied to a tree.) For those of you doing the math at home, this is a crazy hip looking backdrop you can make for $100 or less (way less, if you’re just fancying up a pre-existing gazebo at your wedding venue). Photos: Allison Andres / Styling: Michelle Edgemont For this project, you need to allow time and hands. Do you have family coming in from out of town that want to hang out, catch up, and help you out? This is the project for them. The beauty of this project is that anyone can do it (you don’t need people with a particularly artistic eye), and carnations can easily last for four days strung (and up to eight days intact if you have the stems in water), so it can be done well in advance. Set aside an afternoon, gather a handful of people, and proceed to making some pretty. Also, please remember that the numbers of flowers and strands needed will vary, depending on the height and width of the space you’re looking to decorate. Luckily carnations are cheap, and fishing line is forgiving, so this is a “make it work” kind of project. Cut stems off your carnations, and divide them into piles of about fifteen flowers. Roughly measure fishing line so it’s slightly longer then the length you’ll need for your backdrop. Allow space at the top of the line to tie it to the structure, and tie a knot at the bottom of the line. Push your needle through the stem of the carnation, and out through the center of the flower. Then tie a knot on the other side of the carnation to fix it on the line. You’re line should sequence like this: Line—knot—carnation—knot—line. Repeat this, stringing all fifteen flowers at randomly spaced intervals on your line. Create fourteen or fifteen lines of flowers. (Remember that this number will vary depending on the size of the space you’re decorating.) Feel free to store or refrigerate these flower lines, trying not to tangle them, before transporting them to your venue a day or so later. Hang lines of flowers on your wedding arch or gazebo, cutting off excess at the bottom. Pose in front of your creation, looking hip and fabulous. (Don’t tell anyone you got the idea from us, so you look extra creative and thrifty.) How To Make A Party Store Banner How To Make An Oversized Love Sign How To Create Ombre Honeycomb Wedding Decor How To Turn Grocery Store Cakes Into Wedding Cakes How To Make A Bright Oversized Bouquet How To Make A Recycled Watercolor Jar Centerpiece The Entire APW How-To Series Meg Keene Founder & Editor-In-Chief Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.