Wax Bud Tiara Tutorial with Once Wed

Before I started Camp Makery, I used to work for the amazing stylist Joy Thigpen and the equally amazing wedding blog where she is creative director- Once Wed. During that time I had the opportunity to work on some incredible projects with them, and one of them was making this bridal tiara inspired by vintage french wax bud crowns. It was used in the cover photo shoot, "Daughters of Poseidon," for the Once Wed Magazine, and afterwards, they loved it so much they asked if I would share the process on how I made it. Read on to learn how to make your own chic wedding day keepsake. 

From the original Once wed post:
"Orange blossom circlets and tiaras were a frequent bridal accessory in Europe and the U.S. as early as the early 1800’s and was actually adopted from ancient China as the orange blossom was a symbol of purity, innocence, and fruitfulness. Then Queen Victoria wed wearing one in 1840 and it was all over. In Victorian times the orange blossoms were the standard for all weddings, well into the 1050’s. When real orange blossoms weren’t available, wax dipped buds and blossoms were used.
We made this crown of wax buds as a loose replica of a french one from the 1800’s. You could make one from real or artificial flowers and buds. If you’ve got a lot of time and not a lot of money, this is a great way to make a really luxe keepsake."

  • wax (we just used pillar candles in colors we liked)
  • something to melt wax (make-shift double broiler or crock-pot work well)
  • popsicle stick (or something else to stir the wax with)
  • flower buds or millinery stamens (found on Etsy, with multi heads like this one)
  • millinery pips (found on Etsy, double headed in gold like these here)
  • millinery pips multi headed (found these on Etsy as well)
  • white floral/paper tape or silk thread if you’re feeling really fancy
  • newspaper and twine

1. Search the internet for an image of a crown you like. Figure out how many buds (stamens and pips) you’ll need. Buy more than that. I ended up using a combo of white ones, gold ones, and pale pink ones; the colors all softened after being dipped in the wax.  Don't feel limited to using the only kinds, colors, shapes, and sizes that I did! You could make any number of beautiful designs with all the beautiful options of stamens and pips out there.
2. If you bought any that came with green stems, you will need to spray paint them white.
2. Melt down wax in a glass bowl over a pot with about a cup and a half of boiling water. Stir often.
3. Prepare a little twine clothes line with newspaper under it to catch drips.
4. Turn the stove down to low heat and wait about 2 minutes for the wax to firm up a bit. this is about the consistency you’ll want to try to maintain. Stir regularly.
5. Dip your buds or stamen into the wax and hang on the little clothes line to dry. (this is one great reason to use the millinery pips–you can just fold them in half or make a little notch in the wire and hang them on the line like little dipped candles.)

6. Once they are cooled, you may want to dip them again once or twice to build up the shape and size you’d like. We dipped most of ours 1-3 times. (you want to end up with a lot of buds that are pretty uniform in size and shape.)
7. Make lots more than you need so you can use only the best ones in your crown.
8. Look at the image(s) of the crown(s) you like and try to make something similar. In most cases you’ll probably need to make some parts in the same way you’d make a garland, wiring together more buds as you go along.
9. Wire your buds or sprays of buds to a wire circle the size of your head.
10. Cover all wire with floral or paper tape or silk thread so that it’s all smooth and pretty.

Check out some of the other lovely images from this shoot! Love the above oyster shell votives? Me too! I had so much fun making those on-location as a last minute idea. They ended up being one of our favorite parts of the whole shoot.

How gorgeous is that oyster shell garland?! To get the DIY on that, check out this post by that talented lady who made it, Jeannine of Honey Suckle Wedding Company over on Once Wed. To see all the images from this shoot as it appeared on Once Wed, check it out here.

The below images has become one of the most viral images on Pinterest. I have to pinch myself when I see it and remind myself- "I helped make that!" As a matter of fact, all the coral and barnacles on the table are real ones that I purchased from a flea market in Sarasota, Florida 2 years earlier for my own ocean inspired wedding, and the candle holders are actually upside gold antler candle holders I picked out from Zara Gallery. The linen is from Crate & Barrel, and the stoneware is by Vera Wang.


wax crown: Lauren Weems of Camp Makery
photography: jose villa
creative direction + styling: joy thigpen  
hair + makeup: 
elle german 
claire pettibone’s sparrow 
wax crown: 
adorned event design

What other ideas for an ocean-inspired wedding or dinner party would you like to see? Let us know your thoughts by following us on Twitter and tweeting @CampMakery!