A few years ago, I saw these beautiful trees while on a trip to Pennsylvania and fell in love with them. I learned they were called a saucer magnolia tree. I wasn’t sure if it would thrive or even bloom in Texas, but decided it was worth a try—I had to have these flowering branches on the farm! So I ordered one online, planted it and waited. About a year later, it started to bloom, and now every spring it blooms all over again.
Here’s a picture of just how happy it’s been at the farm:
When we started having conversations with our visual team about the Spring Install at the Market, I knew I wanted these flowers to be incorporated into the display. This display stemmed largely from the Flowering Branches story in the Spring issue of Magnolia Journal. They prototyped a few different looks and played with several ways to make them, and like they always do, they ended up creating a beautiful display. Each bloom was handmade and then attached to real fallen branches that were foraged from around town. I do a double take every time I see these because they look so much like the real ones on the farm.
After the display turned out so beautiful, I asked the team if they’d share the entire process of making these with you. These faux flowers would be beautiful in a tall, clear vase in the center of a table or on a shelf in your home this spring.
A note from the team: While anyone is capable of this DIY, we want to acknowledge that it is an involved project with quite a few steps. If you take on this activity, we think that these faux blooms’ long term last will be well worth the effort. Enjoy the tutorial!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
+ 2 yards of Buckram utility fabric
+ 11x14 drawing paper pad
+ Masking tape
+ Rubber gloves
+ RIT brand liquid dye: Apple Green, Dark Green, Rose Quartz, Fuchsia, Tan dye, (1 bottle each)
+ 3 glass containers for mixing dye
+ Hot glue gun and hot glue refill sticks
+ Fringe craft scissors (optional)
+ Hair straightener or iron
We recommend following along with the video as you walk through the process to provide a visual for each step.
If you are making a flowering branch, you’ll want to make a few of each size magnolia flower: small, medium and large. This variation of sizes on your branch will give it a more lifelike look. Each size follows the same steps using the corresponding template linked below.
1. Download and print the Pink + White Saucer Magnolia Flower Template. Cut out the correct size pieces for the size flower you are making.
2. Trace each template piece (number of times for each piece listed below) onto your Buckram fabric & cut out using a sharp pair of scissors or fabric scissors. Here is the amount of each piece that needs to be traced and cut out of the fabric, no matter which size flower you are making:
i. 3 small petals
ii. 3 medium petals
iii. 5 large petals
iv. 1 star shape
Note: Buckram fabric is what our display team used for the flowers in the Market. It is a heavily starched cotton which holds up better than normal fabric, and will allow your flowers to hold their shape better as well.
3. Fill two containers with one quart of warm water each. Shake the bottles of dye before mixing. We recommend wearing plastic gloves while handling dye.
4. To your first container, add two caps of fuchsia dye and one cap of rose quartz dye. This is will be used for both the top half of the center piece and to dye the petals. Set aside.
5. To the second container, add two caps of apple green dye, three caps of tan dye, and ½ cap of dark green dye. This will be used for the bottom of the center piece and bottom tip of the flower.
6. Now begins the fabric dyeing process. Be sure that you’re working on a surface that you don’t mind getting dye on, such as an old towel or rag.
7. One at a time, dip fabric petals in clean water and shake off excess. Dip the petal tip into the pink dye, then in clean water again. Lay flat to dry.
8. Dip the small fabric star into water then into green dye. Lay flat to dry.
To make the center portion of your flower where the petals will be attached:
9. Cut along the length of your drawing paper to make a 1.5” wide strip. Then cut horizontally along on the strip to make a fringe effect. Be sure not to cut all the way through.
10. Begin to ball up masking tape to create a small seed-like shape and cover any remaining adhesive spots with a layer of tape so there is no adhesive left exposed.
11. Dab hot glue onto the uncut end of the fringe paper and begin to wrap the paper (fringe end up) around the tape in a circular motion. Apply more hot glue as needed.
12. Once the glue is dry, dip the fringe end of this piece into the green dye container, then dip the lower half into the pink dye container. Lay flat to dry.
To assemble the flower:
13. Dab hot glue onto the pink end of your center piece and attach small petals first. Then begin layering the medium pieces, followed by the large pieces on top of one another around the center piece.
14. Using a dab of hot glue to attach, wrap green star shape around the bottom of the flower.
Tip: After assembled and dry, run a hair straightener over the petals on high heat to flatten them out. The tip of an iron accomplishes this as well. We did not show this step in the video, so it is optional.
To Attach Flowers to Tree Branch
15. Cut a small hole in the bottom of the flower and fill it with hot glue, then insert a branch into the hole, holding it in place a few seconds until glue dries.
The best part of these faux blooms is that they’ll stay looking beautiful for as long as you keep them around. We hope you enjoy making your own!