If you follow our Instagram feed you may have noticed that we went a little flower crazy last weekend. We had the lovely task of building a backdrop for a charity photo shoot to raise money for Save The Children’s Syria Crisis Fund. The brains (and heart) behind the shoot came from Charlotte from Emily Gray Photography who photographed over 70 families on the day and raised an amazing amount, over £3000!

The shoot was hosted by the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, in their Pineapple House no less, so we wanted to bring the essence of the garden inside. I had a few lovely references to draw from, but we needed flowers. Lots of flowers.

DIY make a fresh flower backdrop

Thanks to the wonders of social media and the generosity of a few lovely florists, we gathered up more than enough beautiful blooms to fill our backdrop and create possibly the best smelling shoot ever.

So if you have an event coming up that needs a bit of wow factor, perhaps a flower wall is the thing for you. It would be pretty awesome for a wedding. In fact I might get married again, just so I can make another one.

DIY make a fresh flower backdrop

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1. A backdrop and stand, or something to hang it from – we used a Colorama, which is a standard paper backdrop used by photographers. You can buy or hire them from professional photographic shops, like Calumet in Soho and they come in every colour of the rainbow. Places like Calumet will also hire stands to hold it up. You could also stick the flowers straight onto a wall.

2. Flowers – we used a combination of all sorts, but you could be a bit more uniform with it and use the same flowers all over, like the pink rose reference above.  If you want to make a flower wall that will last more than one day, you could use fake flowers. The best value fake flowers are from Ikea. They have all sorts of types.

3. Tape – we used gaffer tape because some of the flowers were quite big and heavy. I got some white and neon pink gaffer tape from Pro Centre in Hoxton for about £5 a roll. If you’re using fake flowers you could probably use washi tape because they’re a bit lighter.

4. Scissors and secateurs – to cut the tape and the flower stems.

DIY make a fresh flower backdrop

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It’s a very simple process that probably doesn’t need much explanation, so here are a few tips.

1. If you’re doing it on a paper backdrop, stick all the flowers on while it’s laid out on the floor instead of trying to stick them on once it is hanging up.

2. Start at the top and mark out the gaps between the flower stripes. Once you have this top row, just follow the stems in a straight line to the bottom. Be careful to step away every now and then to make sure you’re not getting wonky.

DIY make a fresh flower backdrop

3. Tape the flowers right up under their heads, especially if they are quite heavy. This will stop them flopping down once it’s upright.

DIY make a fresh flower backdrop

4. We used a combination of white and pink tape, I think if it was all  pink it would have detracted from the flowers. Cut your tape into little chunks and set them aside before you start sticking to speed things up.

5. Choose flowers that will last the day without water. I was surprised at how well ours lasted, they were up for about 10 hours and we only had a few droopers. Ask your florist for advice with this.

6. Keep in mind the area that will get the most attention and put your best flowers there, then use your cheaper ones on the outer edges. For our shoot, everyone was standing, so we placed all our real showstoppers at about eye level, and kept our more hardy flowers for the bottom where they are likely to get kicked about.

DIY make a fresh flower backdrop

7. We enlisted the help of a Gruffalo puppet to get the kids smiling. Everyone say cheeeese!

DIY make a fresh flower backdrop

Thank you to everyone who donated flowers for the cause, also to Charlotte for giving us an excuse to build something so lovely and Dalston Eastern Curve Garden for hosting us.

…And Lizzie from Lizzie Thorne Flowers who helped us with her floral expertise on the day as well as going on a special trip to the flower market the morning of the event to get the best blooms. Thank you Lizzie, we couldn’t have done it without you!

And finally, thanks to the 70 families who came along on the day, supported the cause and raised over £3000 for Syrian kiddies! We can’t wait to see all the finished portraits by Charlotte!

DIY make a fresh flower backdrop

The JustGiving page for the event is still up if you’d like to contribute. And check out #snapsforsavethechildren to see all the buzz from the day. 

Photos: Emma Scott-Child and Charlotte Gray
Styling; Ladyland