Flower balls: Go Large
Pomanders or flower balls - brings to mind weddings, festivities, children playing in the fields in summertime.
I was sure I could easily make a flowerball or two.Ideas to make flowerballs grew on me, style, decor for homes, celebrations, it seemed to be a in-thing. For a DIY flowerballs project, it had merit.
As a stroke survivor I researched the making of flowerballs and holiday ideas came forth. Great, I was kindling some dim flames of thought and by the time when I did make the flowerballs, ideas leap forward.
On vacation in Las Vegas some twenty years ago we had such fun doing all manner of exciting things, and getting more holiday ideas in the process. Seeing the types of decor of faraway places, like the different themes from Italy and Egypt... all there in the one spot - Las Vegas.
Many years later (2005) we were a little stuck for new ideas we thought to check out Las Vegas again enroute from NZ back to Europe. It was more spectacular and bigger than life than before. The buildings were grander, the entertainment fabulous, the decor more fantastic than we thought possible. Armed with ideas for Perleta Magic, I (we) decided to have a go at making hanging flower balls, one of the many decorations we were fascinated with in Wynn's Casino.
In Spain, we checked out the prices of the materials, particularly the flowers.
Artificial it has to be as fresh flower prices are exorbitant, there's only a limited selection anyway and fresh flowers wouldn't last very long in the hot and dry atmosphere here.
They would droop in less than an hour at our place where the sun is shining most of the time. Hmmm.
I'm a stroke survivor; the one thing I know is you have to change your way of thinking about things, about life.
Next to find a carrier/receptacle big enough to do hold the flowers. Would anything be available in Spain to make these flower balls? A sizeable hanging pomander but light. Also, it can't be too fragile (tissue-paper flowers and paper lanterns were out). We wanted the flower ball to last for some time and be water-proof. Tall order, and short on supply. So, we had to create one from scratch.
We spent days experimenting with this, that and the other. The examples we've seen often use masses of tiny flower heads and usually attempts are made to arrange the flowers in a round a shape as possible.
Brightly coloured flower balls of red, yellow, and orange roses or, blue, purple, cream... if you can get the materials right, any colour of flower balls are possible. And they will look stunning hung in groups.
My suggested way of Making a Flower Ball :-
- 2 plastic colanders
- 1 large can of expander foam (from a DIY store)
- 150-200 blooms; artificial flowers with strong stem, any colour, or mixture of colours
- 1 straightened wire coat hanger
- Long-nose pliers
- Kitchen shears, or wire-cutters
- Fishing wire, if you want the flower balls to be hanging in mid-air, say inside the home, from picturesque old beams
- Squirt expander foam into 1 colander, starting from the bottom and spiralling out to just below the rim, then add a second small spiral pyramid in the middle to about half the height of the rim (depending on the manufacturer/product you may have to do this rather quickly). Repeat with the other colander.
- this bullet-point section is added only if you want to make a large ball
- I would suggest lining each half, only half-way up the sides, and a dollop in the middle - and let them expand without closing them together
- expandafoam needs air to do its job properly and this avoids having an sticky blob in the middle that won't harden if you try and do it all in one go
- once the two halves have cured, see if they fit together, or if some excess needs trimmed off
- apply more expandafoam to one side only, spiralling out from the centre, and as it starts to rise clamp the two halves together as explained below in #2; the new foam will glue the two halves together
- Allow the foam at the rim edges to expand just past the rim then carefully join the 2 halves together, using four pieces of folded up paper as small spacers between the colanders to leaving an eighth of an inch gap (about 4-5mm) to allow excess foam to escape out - secure the two halves together with strong packing tape.
- Leave for two days. Trim off the excess foam and bits that have squeezed through the holes of the colander, and remove the two halves.
- Find a midpoint, insert the straightened wire-coathanger straight up through the centre of the ball; end the 'south' pole of the coathanger, by twisting it 90 degrees, and then to fashion like a spiral for the flower ball to sit on.
- With the 'north' pole of the coathanger, measure about 3 inches above the expander-foam ball surface and clip off the excess with the wire-cutters or shears; form the end into a loop or hook.
- Now comes the creative part. Flowers - trim the stems from your artificial flowers about 2 inches below the actual flower. Push each flower into the ball.
- The base of the flower head should be about 1 inch off the surface of the ball. This caters for bumpiness and unevenness - I suggest doing a circumference with flowers, like creating a ring around the ball.
- Create another 2 or 3 rings, then let your imagination run wild with ideas of how to backfill the remainder.
Note the dimples from the colander... excess expander foam forced its way through the holes, and then the gap between the two colanders as it expanded then hardened (since trimmed off). And no, the colanders weren't used for the salad afterwards.
Be warned, these flower balls look terrific, because they're so huge and dramatic. Plastic flowers look better from a distance and en masse. Once you have added all your flowers, it's time to hang your floral globe.
We've tried them out in different spots around Perleta Magic: around olive tree limbs, at the Cuban pool bar-area, from the Almudejar mosaic summer-kitchen; even on the ficus tree.
Ribbons and hooks, or fishing line for the invisible 'hanging-in-mid-air' look - and you're away. Great vacation ideas put to good use.
Ideas for Using the Flower Balls:.
- a pergola or arbour even a Corinthian rotunda for a romantic party or wedding
- in trees for garden parties or after-the-wedding celebrations
- in conservatory for special parties or celebrations
- the aisle and each pew for church weddings
- match colour to scented candles to your guest tables, pomander as a centre-piece
- resorts and hotels: guest-book table decoration
- swimming pool decor under the thatched roof in Caribbean style
- at weddings, bridesmaids and flower girls
- babies bassinets for christening
- if a fantasy-themed wedding, attach to horse-carriage for olde-worlde charm