Paper flowers are a hot craft these days. It seems like everyone is creating a garden from paper scraps for their weddings, parties, or just to decorate their room. For the not-so-artsy among us, paper flowers can seem intimidating. Paper flowers can actually be fairly simple and we would like to give you some practical tips on how to make paper flowers in just a few minutes. In less time than it takes to read this article, you can have a rose, carnation, or a petaled flower made from paper.
What Are Paper Flowers?
Paper flowers are a type of art or decoration made from folding flat pieces of paper into all types of flowers. Common paper flowers include lilies, peonies, poppies, orchids, roses, dahlias, gardenias, hydrangeas, apple blossoms, and daisies. The difficulty with how to make paper flowers will change depending on the method. Some designs, such as the anemone, are very simple and can be mastered in minutes. Others, such as a Juliet rose are far more complex. Any type of flower can be fashioned from paper with the right instructions and enough time, and bouquets of paper flowers can be created by combining many flowers.
Origami is often used as a catch-all phrase for paper folding, but origami is specific to the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. Different types of paper-folding have been practiced for thousands of years and are believed to have origins in many places including Japan, China, South America, and Europe. The earliest known ways of how to make paper flowers begin with the Mayans in the 5th century CE and the Chinese in the 1st century CE. Essentially, as soon as a culture invented paper, it began fashioning the paper into beautiful art forms.
Benefits of Paper Flowers
Paper flowers are easy! Paper folding can be complex, but learning how to make paper flowers is one of the easier paper folding techniques. Paper flowers are inexpensive, or maybe even free. You only need a scrap of paper and a few minutes to make a beautiful and simple gift. Recycling! Store bought decorations are expensive and wasteful. Why not use recycled newspaper or advertisement flyers to decorate for your next birthday party?
Paper flowers are personal and touching. What is better than a gift made especially for you? There is something personal and touching about a paper flower added to a card or a gift package, or simply left on someone’s desk as a surprise. Paper flowers will not make you, or your guests sneeze. Allergies to flower pollen are common enough that someone attending your event may be bothered by the real flower. Paper flowers provide beauty and comfort.
Paper flowers are great for parties of all types. They work well for birthdays, baby showers, weddings, graduations, retirements, housewarmings, anniversaries, sympathy, get-well wishes, dinner parties, congratulations, or any other occasion. There are few events that cannot incorporate a string of paper flower. Even better, once the event is over, you have beautiful flowers that will not wilt and will last as long as you wish to keep them. For large events, starting early or hiring a paper folding pro might be the best bet.
Paper flowers are customizable. Any type or color of paper can be used for paper flower design, from the simplest recycled materials to glossy metallic silvers. All you need to keep in mind is choosing a paper thin enough to easily fold as needed. They can be arranged in any combination or fashion you like. Seasons do not affect which paper flowers you can have at your event. Want a rose in the winter? Not a problem with paper flowers that are available year-round. Avoid the high cost of out of season flowers by making your own.
How to Make Paper Flowers
The type of paper flower you intend to make will change the approach of how to make paper flowers. There are many tutorials (like this one) on how to make paper flowers. Here, we will start with a few basic paper flowers designed for beginners. These all use cuts and some kind of fastener. More traditional paper folding will use neither but is more difficult to learn.
Petaled Paper Flowers (Glue Required)
Step One - Choose Your Paper
Cardstock or construction paper works best for these flowers. You may want to use watercolor paintings or other paintings, drawings, or artwork to make your petaled paper flowers.
Step Two - Cut Squares
Measure and cut squares for your flower. You will need about a dozen squares for each flower. 1" (2.5cm) flowers, 2" (5cm) flowers, and 3" (7.5cm) flowers are easy options.
Step Three - Fold and Cut
Stack all twelve squares together and fold all the squares in half at once. Holding the creased edge, use sharp paper scissors to cut along one short, open edge and the long edge of the paper until you have a curve. Open it up and you will see the petal beginning to emerge.
Step Four - Roll the Petals
Flower petals form all sorts of shapes and curves; they are not flat. Roll and then unroll your cut pieces of paper to encourage those curves. The tighter you roll the paper, the more intense the petal will curve.
Step Five - Create the Center Bud
Roll one piece of your cut paper into a tight scroll for the center bud. Secure the bud with some white or hot glue.
Step Six - Add the Petals
Working on petals at a time, build your flower. Place a dot of glue in each bottom corner and add to the layer before. The internal petals will still be fairly tight, but as you progress outside, splay the petals out more. Be sure that your petals are offset from each other and that each one peeps out from the next. Once you have as many as you like the look of, you are done!
Rolled Roses (Glue Optional)
Step One - Choose Your Paper
Any paper works for these flowers, but stiffer paper such as cardstock or construction paper works best. Choose a piece of paper that is a few inches across for your first rose. After that, you can work with any size paper and the beginning shape does not matter.
Step Two - Draw a Spiral
Starting at the outside edge of the paper, draw a spiral towards the inside. Do not worry about the thickness or spacing of the lines. More space will give you taller petals and less will give you rosebuds. Uneven spirals are fine too.
Step Three - Cut Out the Spiral
Cut along the line you drew in step two to create one long curly cue of paper. The paper should be continuous.
Step Four - Curl the Paper
Using a cotton swab, chopstick, pencil, or similar stick-like object, start to curl your spiraled pieces of paper around the stick. Start at the inside of the spiral, hold it tight against the stick, and wind the paper around. You can wind it around as tight as you like. As you wind, it will be offset slightly; that is normal.
Step Five - Remove
Once you have wound the entire spiral around the stick, remove it. You will now have a rosebud created by a single, simple piece of paper. At this point, it is optional to glue the base for stability.
Folded Carnations (Tape and Wire)
Step One - Choose Your Paper
Tissue paper works best for these flowers, but newsprint or other thin paper will work just as well.
Step Two - Cut Strips
Cut the paper into strips of various sizes. There is not a rule on how wide to make your strips, but you will need at least an inch intact for the base, so try to make them at least two-inch wide strips.
Step Three - Cut Vertical Lines
On one edge of the strips of paper, begin cutting vertical lines every one to three centimeters. The width of your cuts will determine the width of your petals. Leave about one inch on one side untouched for the base of your flower. Cut lines all the way across the strip.
Step Four - Wire and Tape
Now that you have strips cut and all your strips have vertical lines cut, you can build your flower. Take one piece of tissue paper and roll in around the wire using the uncut end of the paper as your base. Tape the end if needed. Take the second piece of paper and roll it around. Keep doing this until you have rolled and secured all of your pieces of paper.
Step Five - Finish
The last piece of tissue paper to be added will need to be secured with tape or wire. Tape the base of the flower securely, or wrap it with enough wire. If you want a realistic green bud on the bottom, use floral tape. Attach your flower to a “stem” of a pencil, stick, or another object.
You now have three easy methods for how to make paper flowers of your own. Make several and give someone special a bouquet today!