I am so excited to share this DIY! Last week I was at the grocery store and spotted some fun candy bouquets in the floral department. I presume they were intended as grab-and-go gifts but they would have been cute for colleagues or as volunteer thank-you gifts or for one of the many $10 gift exchanges that take place at this time of year. There were various kinds of Christmas mugs, each filled with an arrangement of candy bars and fluffs of cellophane. But can you see the price tag in the picture? They were $12.99 (US) each! Yikes!
When I showed the picture to a friend she also exclaimed over the price, but added that she assumed part of the cost was for the candy and the festive mug and the rest was for the know-how to put it together. She had a point. Skills do have value. Florists, mechanics, stylists, and doctors all have valuable know-how and skills for which we are willing to pay…unless we have the know-how and can do it ourselves!
And since I do have the know-how for this project, I’m glad to share it so you can make cute, inexpensive gifts that will rival something from the floral department and be a gift of your time rather than the florist’s! How fun!
What you’ll need for each bouquet:
- 1 mug
- a block of dry floral foam large enough to fill your mug
- candy, drink mixes, or whatever treats you want to put in your bouquet
- clear packing tape
- 4 bamboo skewers, more or less, depending upon your fillers
- a yard or two of ribbon and a few inches of wire to make a bow
I got carried away with ideas at the dollar store and purchased tons of supplies. It turns out that was a good thing because I already know where all but one of my 13 finished candy bouquets are going…and here I’d thought my Christmas shopping was all done! I spent less than $50 on supplies to make 13 finished candy bouquets, including estimates for the fine gauge wire and wire-edged ribbon I had on hand.
The most expensive bouquets actually cost me $4.42 apiece out of pocket and the least expensive ones cost $2.13 apiece out of pocket. The average cost of the 13 bouquets was $3.59 apiece, so I averaged 3-4 bouquets for the cost of one at the store. If I want to make more of these bouquets next Christmas I’ll do even better on cost because I’ll shop the after-Christmas clearance sales for mugs, ribbon, and cellophane.
Fit the Foam
I used 2.4” x 2.9” x 7.8” blocks of dry floral foam to anchor the candy in the mugs. Each block ended up being enough for 3 bouquets. I trimmed the foam with an old table knife, nothing terribly sharp. After cutting off the chunks I trimmed some of the corners so the block would be nearer to the size of the mug. Then I just shoved the foam block evenly and firmly into the mug. Some of the edges shaved off as the block slid into the mug and I made a horrible mess, but the blocks fit snugly and that is important! I didn’t want the foam sliding, rotating, or wobbling around once the candy was in place.
After trimming the corners of the block with an ordinary table knife I firmly pressed the foam into the mug for a snug fit.
And here’s a useful tip: Fit all of the foam into the mugs first and then clean up the mess before you do anything else. Otherwise you’ll have floral foam dust all over your cellophane and candy and tape and pretty much everything else. Use a dry cloth to wipe the foam dust off of your mugs, too.
Fix the Fillers
Once the mugs were prepped it was time to prep the candy and cappuccino mixes I purchased as fillers. I used clear packing/mailing tape to attach an 8” bamboo skewer to the back of each candy bar and mix packet and to the base of each candy cane. Having the treats ready to go helps make the assembly process go much more smoothly.
The cellophane fluffs (Puffs? Flowers? Sprays?) were anchored to skewers I’d cut in half. I knew I wanted to bury the skewer in the foam so I went ahead and cut them before I assembled the fluffs. To prepare the cellophane fluffs I first cut the cellophane into approximately 8” squares, and when I say approximately I do mean approximately. They were only approximately 8” on each side and they were only approximately square. But it didn’t matter.
I gathered the cellophane in approximately (there’s that word again!) the center of each square so it looked like a fluff/puff/spray and then used clear packing tape to attach it to a skewer half. I used four fluffs per mug.
The bows were made from 2” wide wired-edge ribbon I had previously purchased on after-Christmas clearance and saved until this year. All but one of my bows were 4-loop pinch & twist bows with short streamers. I had one mug that I ended up doing with a 2-loop bow and it was just as cute, so do what works for the size of your mugs and the fillers you select. Most of my bows required about a yard and a half of ribbon but I could have used less and saved money if I’d done them all with two loops instead of four. I guess I got carried away again! (Update: Learn how to make bows here.)
I put the bows on half-sized skewers, attaching the center wire of the bow to the skewer with clear packing tape.
Feel Festive and Fun
To actually create the bouquet I first placed the candy. For the bouquets that had three candy bars (or three other items) like the sample from the store I placed the tallest item in the back and angled the other two slightly on either side and in front of the first. For the candy cane bouquets I spaced four candy canes, angled slightly outward, evenly around the edge of the mug and then added a fifth candy cane in the center. Since some of my mugs were a little shorter I ended up trimming some of the skewers to get the arrangement the way I wanted it. The biggest problem I had was trying to avoid ramming skewers into other skewers buried in the foam.
Here’s another tip: Push on the skewer, not the candy or bow or cellophane. It’s possible to shove the candy (or whatever) right off of the skewer or to smash your filler item. It’s also easier to “steer” the skewer by pushing on the skewer itself and not the item to which it’s attached.
Once the candy was in place I added the cellophane. Depending upon the arrangement, I either arranged the four fluffs around the outside edges or put three around the outside, leaving space for the bow, and then added the fourth near the middle. Once the cellophane was in place I could arrange each fluff to cover the foam and the skewers. In all cases I pushed the skewer all the way into the foam so only the cellophane stuck out.
The final touch is, of course, a fun bow. I love wired-edge ribbon because it is so forgiving and easy to fluff into place once the skewer is secure in the floral foam. If you’re not sure how to make bows, I’ll post a tutorial soon! (Update: The bow making tutorial is available here.) You could also use curling ribbon, gather and tie the curls in the middle, and use packing tape to attach the ties to a skewer.
Take that, floral department prices! We appreciate our florists and their skill, but we can make loads of cute candy bouquets for much, much less than they are charging. These candy bouquets will make fun centerpieces, which is how I plan to use several of mine.
I’m thinking these could be made up as lovely gifts for Mother’s Day or birthdays. My teen daughter would probably love a bouquet of brightly-colored nail polish. My tea-drinking friend might enjoy a sampler bouquet of tea bags arranged in a beautiful teacup or pot. A gardener might appreciate a flower pot arranged with packets of seeds.
How will fill your bouquet and to whom will you give it?
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