Silk flowers are a lovely way to create a permanent piece of floral art for dresses, hair, and other arrangements meant to last longer than their fresh counterparts. High quality artificial flowers are much more than the mass-produced flowers that you see in a craft store. These hand-made flowers are hand dyed and formed into individual flower petals. The practice of creating handmade flowers is an art form. A well-made artificial flower is nearly indiscernible from real flowers unless you touch them.
Interestingly, silk flowers are rarely made from silk anymore. Instead, they are created from fiber blends that are less expensive, but still work brilliantly to mimic the real thing. The practice of making silk flowers originated in China, where silk was used for many different purposes. They were used in hair decorations more often than in arrangements or other uses. Today, “silk flowers,” “artificial flowers,” and “permanent botanicals” are all interchangeable terms for these beautiful life-like representations.
How Modern Silk Flowers Are Made
Today, there are few places that still specialize in the art of the handcrafted, high quality silk flowers. Most silk flowers are produced in Asia, while some specialty shops still exist in Paris and New York. If you look closely at a well-crafted silk flower, you will notice that the flowers perfectly replicate their natural counterpart’s, right down the stamen and leaf structure.
Depending on the type of flower, a variety of fabrics may be chosen, including cotton, blends, rayon, and silk. The fabric is more often used for its ability to create a lifelike representation than for its standalone value. Heat, finishes, and textures are applied to create the various flower shapes and textures found in real life. For instance, when you touch an artificial magnolia petal, you will notice a velvety texture. The fabric closely resembles the tactile experience of interacting with a magnolia bloom in real life. Some artificial blooms are even scented to further recreate the experience of the real flower.
Plastic, enamel, and other materials may also be used in the process to create berries, shiny finishes, and life-like leaves. Even the manufacturing process has evolved to more closely resemble real flowers. Manufacturers use real leaves and petals to make casts from which the new, artificial parts are created. In this way, the artificial flower is as close to real-life as it could possibly be.
When to Consider Using Silk Flowers
Some people may prefer using silk flowers over real flowers at times, and they do have some advantages. Here are some of the reasons you might want to use silk flowers:
- If you or a recipient has allergies. Artificial flowers are a great choice for allergy sufferers. Unless the allergy is to dyes or certain fabrics, you can provide beautiful, bright blooms without any of the sneezing or scent-sensitivity reactions real flowers may cause.
- You’re creating a keepsake. For weddings and other events, artificial bouquets and arrangements look great and won’t wilt over time. Commemorate a special event with beautifully arranged artificial flowers you can enjoy every time you pull out a memory box. You could even pass your wedding bouquet down to future generations if you choose to use artificial flowers.
- You will use the arrangement over time. Wreaths and holiday garlands can be expensive if you buy fresh blooms every year. Keep your favorite decorating pieces through the years by investing in quality silk flowers. If you are a fan of DIY projects, you can also create custom pieces for your home’s everyday décor that won’t wilt or start to mold if you forget to change the water.
- The arrangement is part of a clothing ensemble. For hair pieces, belts, and other floral dress pieces, silk flowers are the perfect solution. They will last and can be altered, attached, and arranged more easily than fresh blooms.
At one time, using fake flowers was considered a tacky alternative to fresh blooms. With the advancement in manufacturing processes, the difference between real and artificial arrangements is often very slight. Unless you are concerned that your guests will be looking closely at and touching your flowers, most won’t even recognize the difference. It’s a great way for those on a budget to get the look they’ve always wanted for less.
If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to real blooms you can use over and over again, look into silk flowers. They are far more realistic than they once were, and instead of watering, you only have to worry about dusting every once and a while. Of course, they can never replace the fragrance, fragility, and beauty of real flowers.
Studio PublicDomainPictures offered the photograph of Artificial Silk Flowers under a Creative Commons License on Flickr
Photographer ch1310 offered the photograph of Artificial Flower Bouquet under a Creative Commons License on Flickr
Photographer ch1310 offered the photograph of Small Artificial Flowersunder a Creative Commons License on Flickr
Photographer Karolinaoffered the photograph of Ginger Hair Style a Creative Commons License on Flickr