LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - It started as a joke and quickly — or shall we say slowly — became a big part of a Longview couple’s big day.
LeTourneau University lab technicians Gabriel and Amber Johnson used a skill they learned in the engineering program to make their own 3D-printed wedding flowers.
The idea was born when the couple made a 3D-printed bouquet of string flowers for their parents for Christmas a couple of years ago.
“One of my wife’s mother’s friends saw those and joked about ‘maybe you guys should just print your wedding flowers.’ We kind of laughed about it. Then we started looking into it and decided we actually could 3D print our wedding flowers and that it would be something cool and unique to do for our wedding,” Gabriel said.
The flowers were printed overnight and on weekends when the 3D printer wasn’t busy with other jobs. The flowers for Amber’s bouquet, the bridesmaids and the boutonnieres for Gabriel and his groomsmen were all 3-D printed.
The couple had to weed through a lot of flowers in a lot of colors before they had something they wanted to showcase on their wedding day. Finally, they narrowed it down to white and burgundy.
“When people heard that we were 3D printing our flowers, they didn’t think it would look good. They thought it would look cheap and plastic, and then once we had assembled bouquets, everyone was shocked at how great they looked, especially after we added real greenery. Then it looked like a real bouquet that someone would use in a wedding,” Amber said.
While printing the flowers wasn’t difficult for the couple, the assembly proved challenging.
“We’re not florists, we’re engineers,” Amber said as she laughed. “We started putting flowers together and deciding what looked the best and how to have variety. Not have too much white, or too much burgundy. A good balance.”
Though the printer is primarily used to make prototypes for engineering projects, Gabriel said they’ve printed toys for Longview ArtWalk and would be happy to print flowers for other people’s weddings.
And since they already have access to a 3D printer, the project was a money saver. The only had to pay for the material and put in the time. Gabriel believes 3D-printed flowers could become a trend.
“One nice feature of the 3D-printed flower is they last forever. You don’t have to worry about drying them or preserving them. We did it because we’re both engineers, and so we’re nerds and we thought it would be fun,” Gabriel said. "We would love for it to become a new trend. I think that would be really cool.”