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Carnation Flower Pomander Tutorial

Updated on July 15, 2015

How to Make Floral Pomanders, AKA Kissing Balls

Arranging fresh floral pomanders, also known as kissing balls, is simple and fun. Pomanders have big impact at an event when used as a centerpiece, wedding aisle decoration or held by the flower girl. No design experience is required to create these beautiful floral arrangements, although if you have a good eye you can really create something extra special.

This tutorial will focus on the fresh floral carnation pomander, but if you want to branch out to other flowers the technique is the same. Just choose a flower with a hardy stem like roses or gerbera daisies. High quality silk flowers can also create a beautiful floral pomander.

All Photo Rights Reserved by PixelPosy.

Materials for Carnation Pomanders - A DIY Floral Wedding or Party Decoration

  • Fresh floral foam balls. 2"-4" are better for hand held pomanders. 6"-8" and on up will create very large pomanders. If going with silk, use Styrofoam balls, they are cheaper and lighter. You also may want a hot glue gun to ensure the fake florals are secured to the Styrofoam.
  • Plenty of distilled water for hydrating the flowers and soaking the floral foam, plus large totes or many buckets to hold the stems. Buying and hauling the multiple gallons of water is a great task to delegate to the groom and his groomsmen.
  • Bulk wholesale carnations. There are some great online stores that sell fresh flowers by the stem in bulk. Click here for links to some bulk flower sellers.
  • Pearls, gems or ribbon for added ornamentation. This is completely optional.
  • Floral tape or floral wire to create a strong loop for ribbon if planning to hang.

How Many Flowers in a Pomander?

You will need roughly 100 carnations for an 8" floral foam ball. When finished the ball will be anywhere from 10"-12" in diameter, larger than a basketball!

Plan Time for Flower Re-hydration - It can take up to 48 hours and depends on the flower

All Photo Rights Reserved by PixelPosy.

Wholesale flowers are shipped in a suspended state and will not be fully opened in bloom without proper re-hydration. They should be left in a cool dark room with plenty of fresh distilled water to drink. Consult with your wholesale company of choice for specific directions as they can vary by flower.

DIY Wedding Flower Pomanders - Created from hundreds of red carnations

Creating Carnation Wedding Decorations
Creating Carnation Wedding Decorations

If you spray paint clay pots, I recommend using a clear coat to seal the paint. We sent guests home with the flower arrangements and many ended up with silver hands from handling the pots because I didn't use a clear coat.

All Photo Rights Reserved by PixelPosy.

How to Create A Carnation Pomander - Use fresh flowers or silk, both create lovely kissing balls

  1. Order your flowers at least 3 days before your event. They will be shipped in a suspension state and need at least 48 hours to rehydrate. Plus you'll need a day to assemble the pomanders. I had mine delivered on a Tuesday, assembled the flowers on a Thursday and they were still fresh and beautiful on Saturday for our evening wedding. In fact the arrangements held their beauty for 2 full weeks after the wedding.

    I recommend sticking with one color of carnations for the beginner. The solid color look will hide mistakes and be quicker to put together.

  2. When your flowers are ready, soak the floral foam in distilled water for the recommended amount of time the brand specifies.
  3. If planning to hang or hand carry the pomander, you will need to wrap floral tape or wire around the circumference of the floral foam, and once more crossing the tape or wires and dividing the ball into quarters. Create a loop from the ends of the wire or tape to slip your pretty ribbon into. It's a good idea to test drive that this will hold, as these can be very heavy.
  4. Snip your carnation heads at an angle leaving 1.5"-2" of stem to insert into the floral foam.
  5. Push the flower head until it fully sinks into the flower foam. Following a straight line create a ring of flowers around the ball.
  6. Now make another straight line of flowers perpendicular to your last line. You will have made 4 sections of uncovered floral foam. Fill in these sections with carnations. Be careful not to leave any gaps.
  7. When finished the ball can be set out on top of a table alone or coupled with other accessories. You could place the pomander on top of a clear cylinder vase or spray paint a clay pot. They also look lovely hanging from the ceiling, an arch, doorways or the backs of chairs.

Carnation Pomander How To Video - Uses an 8" floral foam ball

Why use Carnations over Roses? - These hardy flowers create gorgeous pomanders

Photo used under Creative Commons from Ross Elliott.

Carnations are a very hardy and beautiful long lasting flower. They also come in an abundance of colors and are more economical and easier to care for than roses.They take up quite a bit of surface space which means you need less of them to create a pomander. A large 8" floral foam ball will require 100 carnations to cover it completely.

Not a Fan of Carnations? - These flowers make gorgeous pomanders too!

Photo used under Creative Commons from shawncampbell.

Try beautiful roses, button mums, gerbera daisies, hydrangea, peony, lilies, sunflowers, dahlias or regular daisies. Basically, any flower with a hardy stem will do. As for silk, nearly all flowers will work with a little hot glue. A cluster of silk flower pomanders make a beautiful nursery decoration. Have to love decorations that can be re-purposed after the wedding *wink, wink*.

Transporting the Pomander Balls - Mine were already attached to clay pots

Carnation Pomander Wedding Decorations
Carnation Pomander Wedding Decorations

All Photo Rights Reserved by PixelPosy.

Using the box the carnations shipped in, we cut holes smaller than the lip of the clay pots and gently set each one into the hole. This made them much simpler to transport.

Deroma 4" Terra Cotta Standard Clay Pot, Pack Of 24
Deroma 4" Terra Cotta Standard Clay Pot, Pack Of 24

Perfect for a 3"-6" floral foam ball, 8" might be pushing it for stability, so test it out first. Spray paint the pot to match your decor. You may also want to add a clear coat to keep the paint from smudging.

 
Fresh Flowers for the Ceremony
Fresh Flowers for the Ceremony

How to create Pomanders to sit on a Clay Pot

A different spin to the hand or hanging pomander

Create the Pomander using the same steps as the hanging pomander, but leave empty space to attach the flowers to the pot using the steps below. I found it easier to attach the ball to the pot about halfway through making the pomander.

You will also need the following items:

  • floral foam bricks
  • clay pots that the pomanders will sit atop, pick a pot only a couple inches smaller in diameter than your ball, as you need these to be steady to prevent tipping
  • spray paint to coat the clay pots, metallic looks great
  • a clear protective top coat to keep the spray paint on the pots
  • wooden dowels

I had the flowers delivered on a Tuesday and let them soak in distilled water and open up for 2 nights. Thursday afternoon the floral foam balls were soaked and each carnation was snipped to a 2 inch stem then stuck in the floral foam. I left the bottom part of the ball unfinished to attach to the clay pot. These pomanders are heavy and an 8 inch ball made a huge, heavy but impressive display!

Way in advance, I had sprayed cheap clay pots with metallic silver spray paint. It would be a good idea to spray with a clear coat to prevent the silver paint from rubbing off. I didn't do this and everyone that handled the pots ended up with silver paint on their hands.

To attach the pomander to the clay pot, I used some of the brick style floral foam, also soaked, and cut and smushed it into the pot, then stuck several wooden dowels into the floral foam of the pot and carefully placed the pomander on top of the dowels and gently pushed it firmly to the base. You will want 2-3 dowels in each pot to ensure the ball can't spin or wiggle once on the base. If you are making smaller pomanders, it may not be necessary to use as many dowels.

The flowers were misted with a bottle of distilled water when finished and again on Friday evening, the night before the wedding. We transported them by taking the boxes the flowers were shipped to me in and leaving the boxes intact, cut small circles for each pot to sit in. With a careful driver they all made it in one piece!

My red carnations pomanders looked spectacular lining the aisles to the ceremony and were moved inside and grouped together on a long table for a beautiful focal by the dance floor. At the end of the evening they were sent home with guests as a prize and they lasted the better part of 2 weeks, some without ever re-watering the floral foam. You'll be surprised how many people will be excited to take a kissing ball home!

Carnation Pomanders were a lot of fun to make, and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. It does take up some of your precious pre-wedding preparation time, but it's a great group activity to gather your bridesmaids and other family members before the big day.

Tip: If you've already had your nails done, wear a pair of latex gloves while working with the flowers to avoid any staining or chips to your manicure.

Note: The white columns my pomanders were displayed with were rentals.

All Photo Rights Reserved by PixelPosy.

Floral Foam Balls & Clay Pots - 4", 6" or 8" sizes

Believe it or not, but a 4" fresh flower foam ball will create a large and heavy pomander. I made balls in 4", 6" and 8" sizes. The 8" will be a challenge to hang and are better suited to sit atop a vase or flowerpot. To estimate the amount of flowers needed, an 8" ball will take 100 standard carnations.

Smithers Oasis Mini-Deco Holder / 12 Per Box
Smithers Oasis Mini-Deco Holder / 12 Per Box

These little 2" balls come with a flat bottom. They'd look adorable grouped together or circling a tall centerpiece mixed with votive candles. I'd estimate a dozen carnations per ball to be safe.

 
Floracraft Wet Foam Ball, 4-Inch, Green
Floracraft Wet Foam Ball, 4-Inch, Green

The ball looks small, but with the flowers added it will increase in size and weight. Still manageable for a flower girl.

 
Bulk Buy: Floracraft Wet Foam Ball 6" 1/Pkg Green FNBA6S (3-Pack)
Bulk Buy: Floracraft Wet Foam Ball 6" 1/Pkg Green FNBA6S (3-Pack)

This size is getting borderline too heavy to hang. With proper support, such as a wire wrap or netting, it is still possible though.

 

Leftover Carnations? Here's an idea! - Use them to create a gorgeous tray for your seating place cards

Table Place Card Presentation
Table Place Card Presentation

All Photo Rights Reserved by PixelPosy.

I ordered my carnations in bulk and ended up over ordering by quite a bit. So we filled three plastic trays with floral foam bricks and stuck carnations into them using the same process as the pomanders. Plunk the seating cards on top and presto! Easy and looks and smells great! Why did I have a Lion Table? Find out about my Zoo Wedding!

What do you think of Carnations? - Pratical & Pretty or Tacky & Trashy

Photo used under Creative Commons from srqpix.

Would you use carnations as a wedding flower?

See results

What's your Favorite Flower for a Pomander?

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    • pixelposy profile image
      Author

      pixelposy 2 years ago

      An 8" sphere requires about 100 carnations, so half would be 50. Sorry for the delayed response!

    • profile image

      Cherine 2 years ago

      I am making the 8" sphere but I am cutting it in half. how many carnations I will need to do 1/2 of 8" sphere in white carnations

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens, I like carnation pomanders, great ideas.

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens, I like carnation pomanders, great ideas.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 4 years ago

      Such a resourceful lens! Thanks for sharing these instructions.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I like red flowers so much

    • profile image

      EnjoyLens 5 years ago

      Great leans well done!

    • costumesngifts profile image

      costumesngifts 5 years ago

      I love carnations. Especially the two-toned ones!

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I would definitely say a carnation. They keep fresh longer and have a great smell. Happy "Water a Flower Day" and Squid Angel blessed!

    • pixelposy profile image
      Author

      pixelposy 5 years ago

      @Loveboncyboutique: Thank you :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      These are really nice. My question is how much did this cost when you break it down per kissing ball? I am trying to decide how much cheaper is it for me to make this a DIY project or just go to a florist

    • Loveboncyboutique profile image

      Loveboncyboutique 5 years ago

      Very beautiful lens with images and proper outlet

    • pixelposy profile image
      Author

      pixelposy 5 years ago

      @dahlia369: Thank you Daria, glad you find them useful!

    • pixelposy profile image
      Author

      pixelposy 5 years ago

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: Oh my goodness. Very honored. Thank you kindly!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 5 years ago from New York

      Nicely done lens. I love the step by step instructions and your beautiful images. *Squid Angel Blessed* and added to My Squid Angel Blessings 2012 in the "Weddings » Wedding Flowers & Centerpieces" neighborhood. In fact, you are the 1st in this category. Whoot!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      Had to come back to see your carnation pomanders again. Great images and instructions! :)

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      What a great idea! Love the step-by-step instructions!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      What a great idea! Love the step-by-step instructions!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for all of the super helpful links in the write up!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for all of the super helpful links in the write up!

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      at first look i thought i see a white dwarf with red hair - tricky picture :-)

    • profile image

      Kat24 6 years ago

      Carnations are an economical choice, and they look amazing as pomanders. Great lens!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      I'd most likely pick carnations because they last so long. Great lens and - blessed! :)

    • profile image

      cobymilba 6 years ago

      I'm in awe! This lens is one of the best here in squid block. Is it okay to use dahlia flowers to come up with a beautiful pomander? Although I haven't started planting the dahlia tubers recently, I can hardly wait to see full-bloomed dahlias in my yard, and perhaps, pomanders from these dahlias in my table. Two thumbs up for this lens!

    • pixelposy profile image
      Author

      pixelposy 6 years ago

      @cobymilba: Thank you! Definitely dahlias would be gorgeous. They have a bigger head than carnations so the ball might be a little more messy of a shape, but I think would still look great! Let me know how they turn out. Thanks for visiting!

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      As a florist I love carnations for making fresh flower pomanders the best, simply because they smell wonderful and hold up like iron. As an artist, romantic, and tactile explorer, I love roses for pomanders because of their fragrance, softness and the way you can still see the individual roses in a pomander.

      Blessed by a Memorial Weekend SquidAngel.

    • pixelposy profile image
      Author

      pixelposy 6 years ago

      @anonymous: For small kissing balls I think that would be fine. Fresh carnations are pretty hardy. For the large heavy style, maybe make a tripod out of 3 short dowels, just carefully find space between 2 flowers to insert the dowel, that way it is propped up a bit in the tissue paper. I have not tried that myself though. I suppose you could hang them on a bar too, as long as you have a careful driver that won't let them swing into each other on the ride. Let us know if you come up with a good transport idea!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      How would you transport the hanging pomanders? Fill a box with tissue paper and gently place on top?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens! Carnations are beautiful for any occasion :)

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 6 years ago

      Did not really know much about pomanders. These are really beautiful and instruction clear. Great lens.

    • pixelposy profile image
      Author

      pixelposy 6 years ago

      @LouiseKirkpatrick: You are too kind. Congratulations! Enjoy your beautiful day, it's such a wonderful and fun time in life!

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 6 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      WOW - I am in awe of your creativity - sooooo beautiful and carnations smell absolutely gorgeous. I'm getting married myself next month, so have a Squid Angel Blessing on me :)

    • profile image

      GetSillyProduct 6 years ago

      I'd never even heard of a Pomander before, but they certainly look interesting. reat pictures and info :)

    • pixelposy profile image
      Author

      pixelposy 6 years ago

      @boutiqueshops: I am very honored, thank you for the blessing. I worked very hard on this tutorial and appreciate your kindness.

    • profile image

      boutiqueshops 6 years ago

      WOW! outstanding page! excellent pictures and lots of detailed information. Blessed by the Angel of Bridal Showers...as she was passing by. =)

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I had never heard of pomanders before, but I think I would go with carnations. Great idea!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Really beautiful flowers. Love them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very lovely flowers and arrangements. I like carnations because of the colors and they last so long.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      These pomanders look so beautiful. I'm guessing that most flowers would look stunning arranged like this.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I think roses :)