Paper Flower D.I.Y.

We had an incredible time at our event this past weekend at Curate boutique! Thanks to everyone who was able to come out and grab a mimosa and make a beautiful paper flower with us! We had a lot of fun helping friends new and old make these delicate paper creations and hopefully you did too! Special thanks also to Courtney at Curate for hosting us in her fabulous shop and for generously offering up a $50 gift card and styling session to one lucky lady! 

For those of you who were unable to join us in Cincinnati for this event or for those who did and want to make more paper flowers read on to learn everything you need to know!


picstitch_03.jpg

Paper flowers and paper crafts have been a longstanding tradition in many countries and cultures, used as decorations for ceremonial events and celebrations as well as standing in as décor during seasons when fresh flowers were unavailable.  While fresh flowers can now be found year-round (thank you globalization,) there is an undeniable beauty, charm, and personality to handmade flowers that cannot be replicated. Like real flowers, paper flowers are delicate, imperfect and true works of art. And best of all, they are relatively easy, cheap and fun to make and can last for many years to come. Paper flowers are the perfect adornment to any gift and they make great decorations for holidays and parties. 

There are many different techniques and materials that you can use to make paper flowers. At the most basic level, all you need is crepe paper, scissors, wire, and floral tape (or glue.) Crepe paper is a special type of tissue paper that is coated and gathered to create a sculptural finely crinkled paper that can be stretched and configured into various forms, perfect for making organic shapes like flower petals. The grain of the paper runs in the direction of the folds or gathers of the crepe paper and in general petals and leaves should be cut with the grain to enable better pliability and support. Crepe paper is available in several varieties including single-ply, which is perfect for making delicate petals, as well as double-sided ply, which is heavier and has a fun two-toned appearance.

For our event we chose to make a relatively simple yet sculptural paper poppy flower. To make this flower you will need the following supplies, most of which can be found at your local craft store:

  • single-ply and double-ply crepe paper  in a variety of colors; we purchased a selection of colors from D. Blumchen & Co. online shop but there are plenty of other online suppliers including Carte Fini which has a lovely selection of solid and ombre colored Italian crepe papers; outside of big cities your best bet for finding nice crepe papers is online
  • 18 or 20 gauge floral wire
  • cotton balls or ½” foam balls
  • scissors (fringing scissors make easy work of the fringed centers but aren’t necessary)
  • green floral tape
  • hot glue gun- you can use a low temperature gun for this work
  • wire cutter

1. For the flower center, cut a 3” x 1.5” H rectangle out of your selected color of crepe paper. Fold the piece in half and fringe the open end, leaving a ½” to a ¼ “ band at the bottom. We used Martha Stewart's fringing scissors for this task.

2. Tear up a cotton ball into smaller segments. For our flowers we used a ball that was approximately a 1/2" in diameter. Adjust the size of your center depending on the overall scale of your flower. 

3. Glue the cotton balls to the end of the floral wire. Alternately glue the small foam ball to the end of the wire if using that.

4. Now you've got everything you need to assemble your flower centers!

5. Wrap the balls with a 2-3” square of your desired tissue color. Twist the paper tightly around the ball and wire to create a nice snug center.

6. Glue the fringed piece around the wired ball, wrapping the strip right at the base.

7. Fluff the fringe as necessary around your center. Now you're ready to add petals!

8. Cut a 3” strip of crepe paper along the height of your sheet in the color you’d like to use for your petals. Feel free to mix and match colors of complementary crepe paper for your flower petals.

9. Fold the strip into six layers and cut out a rounded petal shape, following the grain of the paper. This particular flower style looks best with anywhere from 5-7 petals so cut out as many petals as you find necessary.

10. Using your thumbs and index fingers lightly grasp the center of the cut petals and gently slide your thumbs, pulling outwards from the center to smooth out the fold of the paper in the center. This action creates a cupped shaped petal. To add additional texture to the petal you can flute the edges by gently stretching the edges of the petal in opposite directions with your hands.

11. Repeat step 10 with all your cut petal forms

12. Using your hot glue gun begin glueing your petals around the base of the stem, right below the fringed center. Overlap your petals slightly as you add them.

13. Keep layering on petals until you reach your desired level of fullness. Using your fingers gently press down into the center of your flower to open up and form the petals around the center.

14. To create a leaf for your flower cut out several leaf shapes from your one or two-ply crepe paper. We liked the look of layering several different shades and sizes of leaves.

15. Glue a piece of floral wire to the base of your larger leaf and then glue the smaller leaf over the piece of wire to cover it. Using your green floral tape wrap the base of the leaves and continue to wrap the wire about an inch down. Floral tape is a slightly sticky tape with an embedded adhesive that is released when you stretch the tape. With one hand, hold the end of the tape and slowly twist the wire. With the other hand pull the tape, stretching it to get the adhesive working and wrap the tape down the wire, slightly overlapping it as you work your way down. 

16. Now you're ready to add the leaves to the flower!

17. Starting at the base of your flower wrap the ends of the tissue and wire stem with the floral tape. Work your way an inch or so down to the point where you'd like to add your leaves. Again using the same run of floral tape, wrap to combine the flower wire stem with the leaf wire stem. Wrap the two wires down together to your desired length and trim the end with wire cutters.

18. Bend and twist the leaf wire to position it however you'd like and again gently press down into the center of your flower to open it up. You now have a gorgeous paper flower!

19. For a little extra sparkle you can add glue to the center of your flower, on the fringe, or anywhere really and sprinkle on a glitter color of your choice. Turn the flower upside down over a tray or plate and gently tap the flower to remove excess glitter. For a more precise application of glitter at the center or fringe you can add the glitter as you make those pieces, allowing it to dry before adding on your petals.

That’s it! Trim the wire stem down and wrap your flower around a ribbon to accent a wrapped package or keep the stems long to create a bouquet of paper flowers to display in a vase. Have fun playing with different colors and scales of petals and leaves and remember that the beauty of these flowers lies in the imperfections and nuances that naturally occur as you cut and create each piece!

If you’re interested in learning more about making paper flowers, the book Paper to Petal provides a great introduction to the craft and is loaded with inspirational projects to make as well as providing great resources, templates, and detailed instructions for every flower shown. Another great resource is Lia Griffith's blog- she has tons of unique paper craft projects and some very helpful how-to videos to get you started!

We hope you enjoy crafting and creating your own beautiful paper flowers as much as we did!

- a & c.