Custom made artificial flower guide


Custom Made Flowers - A general Introduction and Guide

  1. About
  2. Deciding to use a flower decoration
  3. Considerations and available options
    1. Types of flowers
    2. Size
    3. Colour
    4. Fabrics
    5. Construction
    6. Quantity of flowers needed
    7. Configuration
    8. Quantity of fabric needed
    9. Attachments
    10. Profile
    11. Special instructions and inclusions
    12. Budget
    13. Price
    14. Packaging
    15. Care and maintenance
    16. Makers experience and ability
    17. Returns policy
    18. Privacy policy
    19. Shipping
  4. Making an enquiry, requesting a quotation and placing an order
  5. The typical order process summarised
  6. The typical custom flower making process summarised
  7. Image gallery of custom made flower examples
  8. Examples of orders received
  9. Order Form

1. About - This document covers basic information that may be helpful when considering, planning and ordering custom made artificial flowers for embellishment of fashion and bridal attire. This article is provided by Bradford Potter Pty Ltd, Australian specialty flower makers since 1924.

Note: If the information below sounds too complicated, then, friendly advice is only an email ( or phone call away 1300 silkflowers (+61 2 4443 4884). An order form is attached below.

2. Deciding to use a flower decoration - The first step in the process, is to consider whether to use floral decoration, as a method to decorate or personalise an outfit or accessory.

Flower decorations can embellish the hair, waist, bodice, bustle, shoulder trail, neck, wrist, ankle, hat, lapel, shoes, and other accessories.

Generic artificial flowers are usually available ‘off the shelf’ but are limited in range and colour. On the other hand, they can be promptly delivered. Off the shelf flowers are available at

A good aid to help decide about decorations is to look at some inspirational images in magazines or the internet.

The ideal time to plan and make a custom made flower is about 3 weeks or more. But we have, on occasions made beautiful flowers in a few days. We aim to please, but hand making individual flowers is time consuming. If you have thoughts, or are still deciding about having a flower made, please enquire early.

If after reading this introduction you need some extra advice, you could seek advice on aspects of your decoration from your dressmaker, friends, family or you could send us an informal email containing a rough idea of your decoration goals and concerns. It is helpful to include contact details and approximate event date.

3. Considerations and available options -  Once a design concept or theme has been preferred, the next step is to explore the finer details and to consider options available for the desired decoration. These may include: Type, size, colour, quantity, fabric/s, amount of fabric needed, construction assembly, arrangement configuration, attachment clips, availability, budget, price, profile, special instructions and inclusions, makers ability and experience, packaging, delivery times, storage and maintenance, etc.. These options are explained in more detail below..

3.1. Type: “A rose by any other name”, there are many names of roses and other flowers but the most important flower is the one that you like and will look good and embellish your outfit. We could name a thousand types of flowers but the most popular are: Roses, Peonies, Lilies, Camellias, Gardenias, Orchids, Carnations, Pansies, Daisies, Blossoms, petals, leaves, etc..
There are two main options here:
    1. Go through images in fashion, bridal magazines or the net, talk to friends, ask for advice, for inspiration to help with your flower design decision, or,
    2.  You already know the design you want.

3.2. Size: Popular sizes are 9 and 12cm. Other sizes from about 5cm to 20cm and more can be made. Tip: To help get an idea of the correct size of flower that you want. On your own, possibly with a mirror or with a friend, try to guess the diameter of the decoration that you want. Then, with a measuring device and paper cut a two dimensional real size representation of the size. Place the cutout on the area to be decorated. Adjust the cut out till the approximate desired shape is acquired (write any notes on the final shape, keep in mind that flowers are 3 dimensional and that the 2 dimensional cut out may appear slightly larger when made up). This template or pattern can then be communicated in centimetres or attached to an enquiry or order.

3.3. Colour: Colours can match, tone, shade, contrast, pattern, mix, etc..  Most colour requirements are for the decoration to match or at least tone with the outfits colour. Sometimes contrasting colours can make for a good look. Or, flowers can be made from a similar pattern to the outfit pattern, to effectively unify accessories. Sometimes flower petals can be lightly or heavily shaded to achieve a desired look.

3.4 Fabrics: Most fabrics can be used. Fabrics include: naturals, synthetics, silks, satins, sheers, cottons, organzas, chiffons, georgettes, laces, brocades, velvets, patterns, leathers, woolens, felts, nonwovens, plastics, mixtures, overlays, etc.. The most popular fabrics used in flower making are: silks, satins, georgettes and organzas. Some customers supply fabrics of sentimental value, ‘something old something blue’, a family heirloom fabric. Occasionally some fabrics need to be tested to see if they can hold an impression before they can be accepted for flower making.

3.5 Construction: Custom made flowers are generally made using traditional methods using single fabrics or multiple fabrics.

3.6 Quantity of flowers needed: If you require more than one flower, there are some methods that you can use to calculate how many you will need. Remember for small quantities, odd numbers look better (eg: 1, 3, 5, 7). Flower arrangements or trails look better if they overlap a little. Measure the area to be decorated and draw a representation or template of that area to scale (1:1). Cut circles that represent the flowers and leaves then sit or lightly adhere them to the template until the desired look is achieved. Then fix the circles to the template so they don't fall or move. You can then copy, email or post the template with your order.

3.7 Configuration: Options range from: the popular single flower, an arrangement of two or three flowers, a bouquet, spray, trail, branch, pick, garland, vine, or grouping of flowers, or leaves, or a mixture.

3.8 Quantity of fabric needed:
    1. (simple answer) A typical average flower would require about 15 cm off the roll. The preferred minimum fabric required for one flower is 15 cm off the roll.

    2. (complex answer) To work out the quantity of fabric required to make one or more flowers see the math below.

As a rule (for most flowers), multiply the (slightly larger) area of the flower by 8 (plus some). eg: if the required flower is 10cm in diameter (slightly larger would be 12cm)
12cm x 12cm = 144 square cm (the area of the flower)
144cm x 8 = 1152 square cm, would be required per flower.
Typically, rolls of fabric are 120cm wide,
1152 square cm divided by 120cm = 9.6cm (plus some) = say 12cm off the roll.
So, for 3 flowers, 36cm off the roll would be required.
If more than one fabric is to be included in the construction of the flower, we may need less of each fabric, but they must still be a minimum of 15cm wide.
Note: The width of the fabric supplied must be wider than the flower diameter.
Fabric is preferred in larger squared or rectangled pieces rather than many smaller bits.
Some exceptions to the above formula are flowers that are very 'fabric dense'  like the chrysanthemum or, very 'fabric lean' like a petal or simple blossom.
If working out the quantity of fabric needed is all too confusing, just call '1300 silkflowers' for advice.

3.9. Attachments: Attachments are the mechanical method by which the flower is attached to the application. Options available are: Standard 4 cm Brooch pin in silver/gold, Standard  6 cm Hair clip silver or hair coloured (alligator type), bobby pin, no attachments, flush back (stemless back for a flush stitchable attachment) or Customer supplied attachments and the like.

3.10. Profile: Means the distance between the back of the flower (or, the surface of the garment) and the front of the flower. This is not that important but needs to be considered for some applications. If a decoration protrudes from an application too far in some placements, it may render the garment somewhat impractical. Most garment flowers only have a profile of 3 or 4 cm. The flower with the lowest profile is the Camellia.

3.11. Special instructions or requests: You can request that your flower be made with your supplied inclusions. eg:  ‘something old something blue’,  feathers, jewels, significant, sentimental or heirloom fabric swatches, attachment hardware or methods, etc.. Remember to include detailed instructions of placement of inclusions with your order. And also to label or identify the inclusion, especially small items (like a labelled zip bag).

3.12. Budget: If you have a reasonable budget you should be able to include a custom made flower or arrangement in your special occasion outfit. A beautiful flower or arrangement made to your specifications may cost between $100.00 and $200.00 Australian Dollars. Flowers are made in Australia by experienced specialised craftsmen. 

3.13. Price: The cost of a custom made flower is more expensive than ‘off the shelf’ flowers due to the individual nature of the flowers design and assembly. The advantage of getting a flower custom made, is that you get a unique flower, made to your design instructions from your fabric that may not be otherwise available. Other advantages may be that you can keep the flower as a memento of the occasion.

3.14. Packaging: Most custom flowers are packed with tissue in a clear cello’ display box, then placed in a tough cardboard outer box to withstand the rigours of delivery.

3.15. Care and Maintenance: If cared  for appropriately, the flower/s will last many occasions. Because our custom made flowers are traditionally made, mostly from our customers supplied fabrics, they cannot withstand severe crushing or rain. After use, Flowers should be stored in a crush resistant box in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.

3.16. Makers experience and ability: Our craftsmen have between ten and thirty years experience in artificial flower making. They have made artificial flowers for local and international customers including: VIP’s, opera, theatre, ballet, dance, movies, exhibitions, events, commercials, shop visual merchandising, etc..

3.17. Returns policy: Our usual 14 day return policy for off the shelf items does not apply to Custom Made flowers, due to the unique nature of the work. unless there is a fault in the workmanship or the flower was not made to instructions.

3.18. Privacy policy: Our customer privacy is important to us. All order details are not shared with any third party. All payment details after payment clearing are destroyed.
3.19. Shipping: The finished order is usually shipped within Australia by Australia Post 'Ordinary' or 'Express' services at a cost of about $16.50 and can take 1 to 5 business days to be delivered. Outside Australia, orders are sent via Australia post economy 'air mail' at a cost of about au$20.00 and usually take 6 to 10 days to be delivered. 

4. Making an enquiry, requesting a quotation and placing an order - ‘A picture paints a thousand words’ . To attain the flower decoration that you envisage, please be as descriptive as possible, utilising: text, website item reference numbers,  images, sketches, samples, templates, measurements, dates, etc.. Orders are usually placed after an initial contact, enquiry or request for quotation has been made. Orders can range in appearance from handwritten, to a completed order form. Our order form is favoured as it asks all the important questions in a format we are familiar with (see order form below).

5. The typical order process briefly explained:
  1. Initial enquiry. Usually we receive a phone or email enquiry asking if we can make a specific flower or arrangement from particular fabrics to a deadline.
  2. Initial reply. We answer initial questions.
  3. Prospective customer queries any further concerns.
  4. We answer further queries.
  5. Prospective customer decides whether to go ahead with order.
  6. Customer downloads order form or, hand writes order, encloses fabric/s, order, and any aids like: images, drawings, templates, samples, etc..
  7. We make the order and generate an invoice.
  8. We contact customer for payment. Payment options include: credit card, direct deposit, cheque, paypal.
  9. Once paid. We promptly dispatch order packed appropriately, including invoice.
  10. Order delivered (usually by Australia Post).
6. The typical Flower making process briefly explained:
  1. We receive the order form (with enclosures and/or attachments, if applicable)  and fabric usually in a post or courier satchel.
  2. We record the order and label fabric.
  3. We plan and prioritise the making of the order.
  4. We contact the customer for payment by phone or email.
  5. We treat the fabric with a clear size, where applicable.
  6. We cut, impress, assemble and arrange the order.
  7. We check, pack and invoice the order.
  8. When payment is approved or cleared, we dispatch order and enclose invoice and receipt.
  9. We email customer and inform them that their order has been sent.

7. Images of some Popular Custom made Flowers: see:

8. Examples of orders we have received:
"Your name
Your address (billing and delivery if different)
Your phone number and/or email
Your document reference (if applicable)
The date (31/12/13) 
Hi Bradford Potter ,
Please supply: 1 x 78519 rose 9cm with a brooch attachment. 
I have ENCLOSED in this satchel the pink fabric from which I would like the flower made.
I would like the flower back to me be by the ??/??/??  as I have an event on the ??/??/??.
I am happy to quote my credit card over the phone when required.
(or,) Please email me your invoice with EFT details and I will pay by this method.
ENCLOSED: Pink fabric (fabric swatch attached).
If you have any queries regarding my order please call me at my work number preferably between 9 and 10am.
Reference my recent phone call/s (or email/s) and your quotation ref: 12345. Please supply: 
The flowers as described below arranged into a trail using the fabrics, special instructions, jewel inclusions, drawings, patterns & templates that I have supplied.
1 x Flower "A" as image supplied 12 cm from black organza (in centre) and white satin (on back petals).
2 x Flower "B" as drawing supplied 9cm from black organza (in centre) and white satin (on back petals).
10 x Leaves "D" as close to pattern "D" supplied as possible from green satin, colour swatch attached (I cannot source the right colour green and I am hoping that you may have something that will tone with my colour swatch, if unsure please contact me).
Please assemble as 'special instructions' attached referencing templates and pattern enclosed, and using inclusions provided.
I would like the arrangement back to me be by the ??/??/??  as I have an event on the ??/??/??.
I am happy to quote my credit card over the phone when required.
(or,) Please email me your invoice with EFT details and I will pay by this method.
ENCLOSED: Black satin, white satin, black organza (fabric swatches attached) green colour swatch attached, special instructions, images E,F&G, pattern H, templates ABC&D, inclusion jewels I (in zip bag). 
If you have any queries regarding my order please call me on 02 12345678 any time or email me at:
With thanks
A Customer"

9. The Order Form: (see next page)
        note: Hand written orders are accepted, you can also use the pro-forma below as a guide, see.. or order form in .pdf format

Order form - Artificial Flowers custom made from your fabrics                          Our ref_______________

                                                                                                                           Date received__________I__

To.. Bradford Potter Pty Ltd, 4 / 6 Scallop St Huskisson NSW 2540.
    1300 silkflowers, 02 4443 4884,,

From..Your name___________________ Date___/___/20___ Your reference no. ________

Company name (if applicable) _____________________________________________

Delivery address_________________________________________________________

Contact Details (ph, mob, email) ____________________________________________

Please Supply...  (please print clearly)

quantity, Item Number & description, size, colour, fabric type/s, attachments (b,p,n), notes
example (grey text)
3            78519 Rose                       9cm  ivory   satin             brooch
2            Custom made                   12cm  white organza         hair-clip,            see attached

a_____ I_______________________I_____I_____I__________I_______________I____

b_____ I_______________________I_____I_____I__________I_______________I____

c_____ I_______________________I_____I_____I__________I_______________I____

d_____ I_______________________I_____I_____I__________I_______________I____

e_____ I_______________________I_____I_____I__________I_______________I____

f _____ I_______________________I_____I_____I__________I_______________I____

g_____ I_______________________I_____I_____I__________I_______________I____
Special instructions... Please note any extra requirements below or attached including: leaves (quantity, colour and placement), stem colour (green, white, brown), stem length (5cm is default), any other inclusions.

Enclosed (Please circle) Fabric, sample/s, fabric swatch, colour swatch, photo, drawing, template, attachments, other..  (please attach any extra information or instructions to this order and note below)

Required back by - ___/___/201__ Ordered By (sig) __________ (print) _____________

Note – Orders must be paid before dispatch. Credit Cards, direct credit, cheque – accepted
Please attach swatches here.