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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.
Floracraft Wet Foam Ball 6 inch 1 Pack Green FNBA6S (3-Pack)
Floracraft Wet Foam Ball 6 inch 1 Pack 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

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