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.