First, a bit of honesty. I have never made a paper flower. Rebecca and I are a great team and I designed our forthcoming book as well as major word-smithing, offering feedback on flower concepts, and making sure that a noob could understand the skills and how-tos…but until last week, I’d never actually touched any crepe with the intention of making anything with it. The specifics of paper flowers have always been close to Rebecca’s heart and it’s a fact that she’s a master, having made literally thousands of paper flowers. So, what kind of flower do you make for the person who’s seen it all?
Rebecca (RT) recently had a big birthday and I took it upon myself to make the master flower crafter a surprise flower of her own. The concept was simple: family. Three flowers in one. A center flower representing RT as a mom and wife and two adjoining flowers one representing myself and one for our daughter Poet.
I had a great time and pretty much made things up as I went along. Besides having a read understanding of the fundamentals I was completely new to the actual techniques like using floral tape, making continuous petals, gathering and wrapping, joining stems, making centers, etc. I buried myself in our craft room (actually more like rebecca’s craft room) and quietly started to poke around for materials. When I couldn’t find something I thought I wanted (like double-sided white crepe—I didn’t know they came in short sized folds, so I didn’t look in those bins!) I had to modify my plan. In the case of RT’s flower that meant using a piece of vintage double-sided crepe of unknown origin that she had been saving for a special occasion, oops! I inadvertently used quite a few of the techniques we’ve written about as things got more complex as I went along, several center types, continuous petals (easier) and single petals (harder) and joining stems to name a few. At times I thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew like making a custom block print for the Patrick flower…and not being able to locate a brayer at the last minute or would this even work on crepe? The custom print required an emergency trip (via motorcycle!) to Michael’s craft store for cutting tools and rubber block. Incidentally, the artwork is based on a tattoo.
This post is an ode to those of you who haven’t made a paper flower before. I’m hooked, it really is fun and not very hard to do. Project specifics are below for anyone who wants more detail.
Finished stems in brown floral tape, all petal/leaf shapes are from our book.
- Center: Cotton ball center covered in yellow plastic bag over red crepe with sandwiched aqua flake glitter. Surrounded by zebra print single-ply crepe fringe and aqua pips.
- Petals: vintage double-sided crepe in peach/tangerine(?) painted using a fan brush on one side with diluted white acrylic. I’ve been told this paper is especially supple with regards to cupping etc. I tested this against a new piece of white double-sided crepe and while there IS a difference, it’s very subtle.
- 18-gauge paper covered floral wire
- Center: Spun-cotton ball covered in metallic blue (fades from light to dark) crepe. Surrounded by: Metallic blue crepe fringe; Blue tissue continuous petals; Vintage aqua/light blue double-sided crepe petals.
- Calyx: Hand cut from vintage orange single-ply crepe finished with red floral tape and then brown.
- 20-gauge cloth wrapped floral wire
- Center: Small wired pinecone with black pips bundle; Large wired pinecone with exposed cotton tuft.
- Leaves: Hand block printed in white acrylic on vintage double-sided black crepe. Reverse side is diluted white acrylic squiggle painted using a fan brush. Oak leaf template, smaller leaf template.
- 20- and 26-gauge cloth wrapped floral wires
Process Notes: Join stems of the finished flowers, style the stems. I randomly taped in some freeform leaves cut from VERY delicate vintage madras single-ply crepe.
I made these flowers to give to my mom for a spring family dinner this week. They are made from thick double-sided crepe and look sweet and simple in glass vases. They would also look charming planted in pots filled with foam and covered with paper grass. I think their bowing heads, speckled leaves, and bright green stems are a nod (especially this year) to the welcome sight of the first flowers of spring. Our daughter helped paint the green crepe paper for the leaves with a kid’s texture brush.
- Double-sided crepe in shades of green and spring colors. Blumchen.com, castleintheair.biz/shoppe
- Atlantic brand floral tape in metallic green. save-on-crafts.com
- Spun cotton 1/2″ balls. Blumchen.com, vintage-ornaments.com
- 18″ lengths of 16-gauge cloth-covered floral wire. save-on-crafts.com
- Martha Stewart Crafts Brand paint in Granny Smith createforless.com
- Kids texture brush. Lakeshorelearning.com
- Sharp scissors
- Craft glue
Link to: Spring Belles templates
1. Dilute the Granny Smith craft paint with a little bit of water in a container. It should be thin enough to flow well, and thick enough to not be overly watery. Cut 2 folds wide each of assorted green double-sided crepe papers. Lay the pieces on paper towels and “paint” them on both sides by blotting the texture brush all over in a random pattern. Set aside to dry. If the paint sinks in and seems to go away, add more paint to your mixture to thicken it up. The colors of the crepe will blend with the paint to make different color spots. Enlist the help of a little one with this step if desired!
2. Glue a spun-cotton ball to the end of a length of floral wire, then paint with the diluted Granny Smith paint and let dry.
3. Using our petal template #134 cut 3 petals each from assorted double-sided crepe colors. Crepe paper grain runs with height. Using a skewer, gently curl both petal tips on a diagonal around the skewer as shown.
4. Cut three 2.5″ lengths of green floral tape. Scrunch the bottom 1/2″ of the base of the first petal as shown, and pinch it slightly. Attach the bottom 1/2″ of the first petal to the base of the ball, as shown, by gathering the base of the petal while holding it tightly to the base of the stem, and wrapping a piece of floral tape tightly around to secure it. Pull gently on the floral tape as you secure the petal to release the adhesive in the tape. Wrap the tape at first around the top portion of the base of the petal, and then tightly down the stem, with the tape moving on a diagonal. If your first try isn’t tight enough, remove the tape and try again with a new piece. The tape must be as tight as possible, so the petals will not pull out or fall out. Repeat step 8 with the second petal followed by the third petal, adding them at 1/3rd intervals around the center, so all 3 petals are spaced evenly around the stem. Gently “Cup” the center of the petal to create a slight bell shape. Use your fingers to gently pull the folds of the grain apart to create dimension. Do this very gently so you don’t pull the petals out from the tape, or rip the paper.
5. Finish the stem with a long piece of floral tape. Begin at the base of the flower, and wrap the tape tightly around and down on a diagonal as you spin the stem with your opposite hand. Continue to pull on the tape gently as you work, and wind it all the way to the bottom of the wire. Twist the end and trim. Curve the stem around a bottle of glue or a can to style it.
6. Using our leaf template #62 cut 3 leaves from assorted painted green double-sided crepe paper. Scrunch the the bottom 1/2″ of the base of each leaf. Cut an 8″ length of green floral tape.
7. Attach the first leaf about 5″ from the base of the stem with the tape, and continue adding the additional leaves as you wind the tape down the stem, spacing them about 1/2″ to 1″ apart. Pinch the tape and score at the end with your fingernail to keep it from unravelling. Gently curl the leaf tips with your fingers.
Loving these beautiful ceramic pieces, each made by hand, no two are alike.
From/ Analogue Life
5 flowers from our PAPER TO PETAL Spring collection are available at the brand new super beautiful Terrain store in Westport, CT, beginning Mother’s day.