How to Make a Flower Wall
Believe it or not, building a reusable floral backdrop is super straightforward. If you’re handy, you probably don’t even need this article. If you’ve never built anything before and the idea is stressing you out, don’t run for the tension-taming tea just yet: you can totally handle this! All you need to create a professional-grade backdrop which folds easily in half for storage are the handful of materials and tools listed here.
- Two sheets of 80in x 40in plywood
- Three 3-5 inch door hinges (look for “corner security” or “butt” hinges)
- Enough ½-¾ inch screws (depending on plywood thickness) to secure all the hinges
- Four 40in x 40in faux boxwood panels
- Loose flowers or pre-made swags, for embellishing
- Power drill fitted with a screwdriver bit
- Staple Gun
- Floral snips
STEP 1: Collect what you need
First, order your faux boxwood panels (available on Amazon, typically for about $45 per 40in x 40in square panel. These have a plastic grid on the back and an impressively realistic carpet of tiny leaves on the front). While you wait for them to arrive, purchase your plywood, hinges, screws, and some staples for your staple gun if needed. If you need help demystifying what kind of plywood to purchase, read the next paragraph. If not, skip on down!
Plywood comes in many different grades, and typically will be found in 4ft x 8ft sheets which can cost anywhere from $18 to upwards of $50. You should determine the quality of wood you need based on the following: 1) how elevated you want the finished product to look, 2) the number of times it will be reused and transported. Also take into account the storage location–if storage isn’t climate controlled (i.e. if the backdrop is going to sit in an attic, shed, or garage when not in use), or if you’re planning to use it often in outdoor settings, it might behoove you to pick a pressure treated wood, which will be sealed with preservatives that prevent rot and act as insect repellents. Your neighborhood big box hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot can cut wood to size for you on-site, which is great if you don’t own or have access to an appropriate saw. They don’t typically charge for this service, so take a moment when you’re in the store to have your boards cut down to 80in x 40in dimensions, or whatever will best accommodate your boxwood panels.
STEP 2: Assemble the structure
Lay your two plywood boards side by side (with the long sides adjacent) on the floor so that they are just about flush with each other. Align one of the hinges in the middle, one a few inches from the top, and one a few inches from the bottom. Use your drill and screws to fasten each hinge in place. You should then be able to fold both boards toward you as if you were closing a giant book.
Once you’re sure the backdrop folds properly, go ahead and flip the whole thing over so that the hinges are facing the ground and you’re looking at the back side. If your plywood was only a ½ inch thick and your screws were a little longer, you might see the tips poking through the back of the board a bit. This is OK since they’ll be covered by the spongy boxwood panels. If they stick through more than half an inch though, it’s best to trim them down using wire snips to prevent any accidental contact. Safety first!
Next, unroll your faux boxwood squares and arrange them so that they cover the back of the structure. Each board should accommodate two panels perfectly, and the panels will disguise the crack running down the middle where the hinges attached the boards. Magic! Use your staple gun to affix all the panels to the boards. Stand the whole thing up to check for any sagging or peeling places, and use your scissors to carefully trim away any spots where the boxwood sheet overhangs the plywood by more than 1 inch.
If the idea of building your own flower wall structure seems too overwhelming, or if you need one that holds Oasis foam (wet or dry), you can purchase a structure that is pre-made like the one found here by Amanda Veronee. While the foam in this structure cannot be reused, the framework itself can be broken down and built up time and time again.
STEP 3: Add the Flowers
The final step is to attach your florals! There are as many options for how to do that as your creative brain can generate, but I’ll share a few tactics to get you started. One is to leave your stems long when you process your flowers, and then using the net-like structure of the boxwood panel design to your advantage, punch loose flowers into the boxwood backing as if you were threading the stems into a chicken wire structure in a vase! (Which is how my friend Sydney of Sun and Moon Succulents and I attached all the flowers in these pictures). That’s a remarkably secure mechanic, although it does take some work to pull all the flowers out at the end of the event, so be ready for that.
Another option is to make either separate garlands or chicken wire structures full of florals and then staple them or wire them onto to the backdrop after they are complete. You’ll just have to make sure you devise a way to secure the floral components all the way through to the wood (staple guns for the win here, once again) so that you don’t end up with a heavy floral mechanism pulling the boxwood netting away from the wood backing.
STEP 4: Set it up and let people fall in love with it
For display, simply lean the two-panel structure lightly against a wall. If you need it to stand independently upright, you can construct some basic triangular trusses which can be attached to the back outer edge of each board via a nut-and-bolt system. You’ll need to drill some holes in the plywood to add those, but they’re easily disguised by the boxwood layer, and still make for an uncomplicated assembly/disassembly option if you need to be able to pack the whole thing up and lay the pieces flat after an event.
STEP 5: Determine a going rental rate
$350 is a reasonable starting charge (before floral embellishments) for an item like this, but use your own discretion to charge a baseline that is higher or lower. Whatever price you settle on, it should be reflective of the cost and quality of the building materials, the time and labor you put into construction, and the sophistication of the final product. Your client should be willing to pay you a fair price in exchange for a large piece, and large installations like this require more resources (and thus incur more cost) than, say, floral swags you might provide for an already existing structure. Since you’re generating the structure from scratch, be sure to acknowledge and communicate that it will come with a higher price tag to stay honest with your clients and fair to yourself!
You should, of course, calculate the price of your embellishments to the backdrop independently of the structural cost, based on what you paid at the wholesaler for the flowers you use. These photos showcase about $100 worth of flowers at-cost (notice we used roses, which are naturally more expensive than other options), so I would personally charge $300 just for those embellishments, putting the final price for the whole finished product somewhere around $650. For a more lush version, or one that uses specialty blooms, the price would continue to climb, and for a less full version, the price would drop.
As far as renting your structure out for subsequent events (if you didn’t sell it outright to the original client), it’s perfectly respectable to charge the original construction fee along with the price of the new flowers every time you lease it out. Because you’ll obviously have to replace the flowers for each event if you use live ones, you’ll be continually investing work and TLC into this piece you’ve created (not to mention the transport, setup, and teardown factors). Even if you solely use silk flowers, you’ll most likely be swapping out colors and textures. Don’t be afraid to let that baseline $350 (or whatever you determined) be the go-to charge for structure rental. It’s always a smart business move to make something “pay for itself,” and it's all the more resourceful if it does so several times over. That’s money you can be investing back into your business! Like, maybe it’s time to buy that staple gun instead of always borrowing it…
That said, if a client simply doesn’t have at least $300-$500 worth of budget to put toward a backdrop of this nature, consider suggesting a more economical alternative like hanging a few garlands in such a way as to frame some space against a blank wall.
STEP 6: Have fun with variations on the theme!
The backdrop is an endlessly customizable prop, so if you’re inspired to create a variation, go for it, and share your ideas with the rest of us in the comment section below! Some alternative tacks might be to forgo the boxwood covering in favor of painting the boards, perhaps even adding texture to them with plaster, or partially foiling them with gold leaf. In that scenario, you might install a few hooks or nails around the perimeter of the boards to which you can attach floral swags or garlands. If you need a larger, free-standing option, you might even opt for a three-panel construction, which can independently support its own weight by angling in the outer two panels when you stand the structure up. Possibilities abound. Have fun with this one!