2018 update: This silk flower crown lasted me for four years of festivals!
Well, Gov Ball wasn’t quite what I expected this weekend. In my enthusiasm in putting together eco-friendly outfits for the event, I failed to include a pair of rain boots. (Just in case you’re interested, here’s a sustainable pair.) They were necessary for tromping through the mud.
Another thing I noticed? Ugly flower headbands: Fake-looking flowers arranged in a straight line across the head. This is so far from the lush versions that sparked the flower headdress trend, it’s almost as sad as that time after I held my empty beer can throughout an entire concert so I could recycle it, and my friend said, “Here, let me take that,” and tossed it away into the mud.
I am not going to fall prey to the siren song of cheap, commercial flower headdresses. If you’re going to do this, do it right. Otherwise, you look stupid.
First, here’s some inspiration:
The last is available at Free People, a seemingly earth-friendly brand that is actually owned by the atrocious Urban Outfitters. But, it’s very easy to make your own! It takes a quick trip to the Flower District, and then 20 minutes of a little crafting.
Your materials are:
- One stretchy headband, which can be found at Whole Foods or probably floating around your own apartment somewhere
- 4 large silk roses
- 3 small silk roses or rosebuds
- 2 sprays of another flower in a complimentary color
- A roll of floral wire.
Your destination to pick up the flower supplies is 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues–the Flower District, where the smells of fresh flowers lining the sidewalks fills the air. That’s where the pros go from premier hotels and event planning businesses to pick up high-quality blooms early in the morning. But there are also several stores that sell beautiful silk flowers, like the Center of Floral Design. Each large rose costs anywhere from $9 to $12, small roses and sprays about $5 to $7. That may seem pricey, but the result is worth it! You want a lush headdress that will last you all summer, don’t you? All told, you’ll spend about $45 on all your materials.
If you don’t live in NYC, you can head to Michael’s for silk flowers.
When you’re picking out roses, try to get a feel for how they’re made. If a bloom has a plastic cup hidden inside the petals to hold its shape, you won’t be able to use it. You want a rose held together with glue and wire.
Once you get all this home, pull the large blooms from the stems if possible, leaving behind a small length of wire. If you can’t pull the bloom off, just snip the stem. Put the headband on your head, and mark with a permanent marker where it hits your ears, plus mark an X slightly to the right of your crown. This is where your largest blooms will go for an asymmetrical look.
For your blooms with wire left behind, just wrap the wire tightly around the headband, tucking the end back into the flower if possible. For the blooms without wire, thread the floral wire you bought underneath the bottom petals and tightly around the headband several times, sort of like crisscrossing a four-hole button. Push the flowers close together! You don’t want to see any wire or headband underneath. For the sprigs of blooms, cut part of the stems off so just the length thickly covered with flowers remains, then wire that onto the sides of the headband down to your ears. And don’t be scared of the wire. I thought I might bet scratched by some loose ends, but instead, the wire acted to hold the headband solidly in place in my hair from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. while I danced.
When you’re done, you should have something like this:
I made this as I rushed around the morning of a rooftop party, and I was shocked at how easy and quick it was. That day, girls reached out to touch the headdress, asking if the flowers were real. One said I looked like the queen of the party. Another said I should make more and sell it in her friend’s shop in Brooklyn. Several asked me where they could get one.
Just note that this craft project will create waste. The plastic and wire can go in the recycling, and any extra silk petals you should take with your old clothes to textile recycling.