DIY Floral Installation - The Definitive Guide
Written by: Jessica Reeves
Photo by: @heather_heigel_photography
Buckle Up and Get Ready to Fan-Girl Over This Incredible Floral Installation!!
So you want to make a BIG statement for your wedding (besides you in your dress, OBVI!) and you want to attempt to create a hanging floral chandelier. First off, pat yourself on the back cause you’re about to attempt something out of the box! Second, get your big girl pants on cause you’re gonna need to do some serious organization and DIY to make this happen. But no worries, I’ve got you covered!
I’m going to take you through some essential steps that you’ll need to go through in order to create your hanging flower installation. Creating a baby's breath cloud or hanging flower installation is something that most professional floral designers will create for a wedding on-site the DAY OF the wedding, with usually a lot of assistants and extra time to get messy and then clean up said mess so no one will be the wiser. That being said, you can TOTALLY DO THIS!!
How do we know? Because Moxie Bride Gretchen did it!! All photos in this blog show Gretchen's process and triumph!
Step One: Plan the Sh**t Outta This
First off, talk to your venue about logistics. You’ll want to know the answers to the following questions: Have they had hanging installs like this before? Do they have the staff to hang it for you? If not, do you have access to the space the day before so you can hang it with helpers beforehand? You’ll also want to think about how high you want this to hang above the dance floor, the head table etc. Eight feet is a height that I prefer. It’s high enough that your tall Uncle Steve won’t knock anything down with his crazy dancing arms, but low enough that your guests will still be able to oooo and ahhhh over what you created.
Photo by: @heather_heigel_photography
Step Two: Decide on Your Structure
This is going to be a crucial step! You need to decide whether you want to go with a circle, a long rectangle, or another amorphous shape (lean into your cloud fantasy!). You'll also need to decide how big you want it to be. Lots of rental companies will have these structures already created and you can always see if the one you want is available, but that might cost some moola. If you want to attempt to create it yourself then here are some options to DIY your own:
You can find these just about anywhere! I would definitely recommend doubling them up to create a stronger base and then zip tying them together to create 1 piece. Create zip tie loops to go over the hoops. To give it more structure and strength you want to create a chicken wire tube that will go over the tube. This will help you to have a larger base to work. You can zip tie this directly to the hoops.
I find this the easiest and cheapest way to create the hanging structure. You can find a wooden lattice panel at lots of hardware stores like this one. You’ll want to attach metal eye hooks that screw directly into the wood at even intervals. For stability, I would recommend an eye hook on each of the corners as well as at least two pairs set along the top of the long sides. You can also make zip tie loops at these intervals.
Amorphous Shape (Cloud)
For this style you’re going to need lots of chicken wire! You start by making a general large “tube” and then tightly zip tie the edges together. You’ll then start layering different shapes of chicken wire to the internal tube to create a layered “blob” shape. These layers will be essential to creating your hanging cloud.
Custom DIY Wooden Frame
Gretchen decided to build her own wooden frame and line it with chicken wire. In her own words, here's how she did it:
“The tent at the venue is 40x80 with three center support poles so about 20’ between each pole. After drawing my venue schematic and playing with various table arrangements, I started thinking about how to best feature the installations.
Step One: Build the actual installation frame. We used 2x4s and made the frames 6x2. Here they are in our garage. [Her fiancee] secured them with wood screws and then used these metal L-brackets for extra support. “
Step Two: Wrap the frame in chicken wire. In my mind I thought we would staple gun the chicken wire to the wood and then create a cloud-like, fluffy shape with the chicken wire. Somehow that was not Adam’s vision. Once this became his pet project I kinda let him go with it. Things happened along the way and I was like oh that wasn’t really what I was envisioning but ok let’s see what happens. He ended up wrapping the chicken wire tight around the frames. Cool cool whatever. We did use actual chicken wire, not floral wire. Being that he is a massive tough man, this wasn’t an issue. But if I was doing it alone or with my mom, it might have been.”
Photos by: Gretchen
Step Three: Greenery? Flowers? Both?
Do you just want greenery or do you want flowers too? This is totally your call but there are definitely some things to consider:
- When are you planning on making this?
- What is your schedule like the week of your wedding?
- How many helpers are you going to have during your production as well as the day of the wedding?
These questions are pretty clutch in creating your plan of attack for this type of structure; set yourself up for success, gurl! Here are some pros and cons to think about when planning your schedule.
PROS: Using faux flowers and greens will allow you to do your production weeks in advance! You won’t have to worry about any limp or broken flowers here! You’ll also have access to all the colors and flower varieties that might not be in season. Since it will be hanging above everyone’s head lookin GORG no one will know that they aren’t real! You’ll want to attach all of your faux flowers and greens to the structure using either zip ties (I prefer black so they don’t stick out like a sore thumb), floral paddle wire or green bind wire. Make sure that sh**t is SECURE!!!! You do not want it falling on your guests heads as you party on.
CONS: Since you’ll be making this in advance of your wedding week, make sure you have the space to work/store it as well as a bulletproof plan for transporting it to your venue! Don’t try to shove this in your compact car. Find a friend who has an SUV or a van or splurge on a rental van from U-Haul. You worked hard on this- don’t run the risk of crushing it!
PROS: With a just greenery look you can also do a lot of the construction on your “big design day”. Using hardy greenery like Italian Ruscus, Huck, Cocculus, Salal, Silver Dollar Eucalyptus, Leatherleaf Fern and Nagi are all great options! You can use a base of any or all of these – green goes with everything! For a full greenery look – where you can’t see the structure at all – I like to make “bundles” of greens, then tying them together with what might be my favorite floral tool ever - Green Bind Wire!
Here’s a quick how-to on making your greenery bundles:
- Take 2-3 pieces of your desired greenery and criss-cross them over one another. You can cut the stems down if they’re bothering you.
- Pinch the center “cross” in your hand” and then taking either a zip tie or wire wrap it around that center point to make sure it’s secure!
- BOOM! You have a bundle of greenery kinda like a mini swag, keep going!! You’re going to need quite a bit of these to cover your structure! I would try to estimate for about 1-2 bundles per foot of your structure depending on how full you want the design to be!
CONS: Not too many cons here! An all-greenery hanging hoop or trellis is beautiful and definitely makes a statement but you will need to be really organized in setting up your construction space, helpers, and then figuring out where you’re going to store it before getting it to your venue. With any hanging structure, have a game plan as to how you’re going to hang it! You can use fishing line (make sure it can hold 50+ lbs), or twine to hang the structure.
Photo by: Gretchen
PROS: You’ll be reaching peak Pinterest goals with this one! Adding fresh flowers to your design will create a beautiful romantic look and is totally doable! Here’s how:
- You’ll want to create your greenery base first. This will help to hide the structure you’re using and give it more of a “gardeny” look. Make the bundles of greens to overlap and attach to your structure (see "Just Greenery" info for the how-to!)
- Create your floral elements using a wet foam cage. I like to use either the Small Wet Floral Foam Cage for a larger floral presence or the Oasis Wet Floral Foam Iglu for a lighter floral impact. You’ll design the arrangements off of the structure and transport them separately from your already greened structure. Right before you hoist your greenery structure you’ll zip tie your cages to the structure itself.
- Hoist that bad boy up and SWOON over your awesomeness.
CONS: This is probably the most time consuming and difficult option. You’re going to have to count on doing some install work the day of the wedding. So get your most creative gal pal to be your floral master and direct the helpers who will be hanging the structure!
Photo by: Gretchen
DIY Baby's Breath Cloud Hanging Installation
PROS: OMG how fun are you! Creating a hanging cloud is a beautiful and whimsical touch to any wedding. Most often they’re made with White Baby’s Breath but you could also go with colored options too for a rainbow look! See our colored options here! To create this type of design here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Create your chicken wire structure; make sure to layer the chicken wire shapes! You’ll need this “grid” so your stems will hold in place. Trust me, this is important.
- Getting started on your DIY Baby's Breath cloud: Find a way to suspend your chicken wire structure. You can get fancy and use a rolling clothes rack like this. I would get two and then attach my chicken wire structure to hang between them. Or if you want to go really low-fi then you can take a dowel stick, attach your chicken wire to hang from the stick, and then suspend it between two chairs.
- Start adding your Baby’s Breath. Some of this can be done ahead of time and some will need to be done on-site the day of the event. One to two days before your wedding, start adding stems to the top and sides of your chicken wire structure leaving spaces for your anchor points. These will be the places you’ll designate where your string will be attached to then hang from the ceiling. Make zip tie loops so you have an easy place of attachment. You don’t have to go so heavy with the top of the cloud. Since it will be facing the ceiling no one will really see it but you’re going to want something up there to give it shape! As you move down the sides you’ll want to have a heavier application. You don’t want the cloud to be seen through!
- Transport to your venue. The day-of or day before your wedding you want to transport the cloud. Since you’ve left the bottom of your DIY Baby's breath cloud exposed you can just place it in your transport vehicle and none of the flowers will be damaged. When you get to your venue and have started to hang, begin adding in the rest of your Baby’s Breath! You’ll want to use a pretty heavy hand here since this will be a huge part of what people will see. Try to angle your stems as you're inserting them into the chicken wire. The extra layers of chicken wire you have plus the stems you’ve already placed in will create a grid which will keep everything in place!
CONS: You’re going to have to count on doing some install work the day of the wedding. So get your most creative gal pal to be your floral master and direct the helpers who will be hanging the structure!
ALSO this type of design calls for A LOT OF PRODUCT. Think about how much you might need and then double that! How much you need will definitely depend on how big your cloud is but I like to average about 2-3 bunches of Baby’s Breath per foot of space that I’m covering.
The important thing to keep in mind when creating any type of hanging install…. have PLENTY of help and have a clear and organized plan ahead of your wedding week! You’re gonna kill it and have the best time while creating something that’s gonna KNOCK THE SOCKS off of every guest!
Photos by: @heather_heigel_photography | Can we take a moment and marvel at this incredible hanging floral installation??
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About the Author
Jessica has a BFA in Art Education/Printmaking and her MFA in Studio Art with a focus in Non-Toxic printmaking. She brings 10 years of floral experience to her roles at Flower Moxie, having worked in Boston, NYC, and Newport, RI. We still don't know if she's a real person or a hologram but work keeps getting done.