Beautiful Flowers (Paper)
Making paper flowers is easier than you think. In a few steps, you could make pretty bouquets, centerpieces, backdrops, and wall art. Note; my flowers are imaginary. You could call them fantasy. One of my favorite papers to work with is coffee filters. I make simple folds, cut and glue, and I get beautiful flowers without tracing templates. As well, they are accessible, durable, and budget-friendly. If you’re exploring inexpensive wedding ideas or home decorations, consider them.
Dip-dyeing paper flowers
I dip-dye most of my paper napkin flowers, to create texture and color spectrum. The Dip-dyeing process adds color in progression or extracts color in part from materials. Papers dipped in pigments gradually change color from the dipped end to the next. And in bleach, they lose color in the same way. I use common techniques to create multiple paper textures. Some include drawing, sculpting, squeezing and gathering. And sometimes manipulation involves wetting, drying, starching, ironing and sewing paper.
Pretty DIY flowers that are easy, budget-friendly and time-saving Newsprint, construction paper, tissue papers, and paper napkins all produce great results. This post features three types of flowers: The lovely pink bouquet stars tissue paper while the other two uses paper napkins. They are variations of the same construction method and each comes with separate instructions.
Pretty paper napkin flower (here’s how to make it)
Center of Paper Napkin flowers
Made with a fringed paper napkin strip wrapped around paper cord.
Begin by making the center. I used paper cord and fringed napkin strips. For variations, use any of the following materials alone or combined. See making centers below.
Center and Wire Stem
Wrapped with floral tape
Wire comes in different sizes called gauges – higher numbers depict thinner wire. Your flowers will have adequate support with 18 gauge wire stems. Wooden skewers and dry branches from the garden work as well. Use pliable papers, fabric or floral tape to cover stems. Floral tape is adhesive.
Dip-dyed Petals of Paper Napkin flowers
Left: Dip-dyed strips of paper napkins used to make petals of paper napkin flowers. When cutting napkin strips, use bordered areas at base of flowers.
SIZEs of NAPKIns used in paper napkin flowers
Dinner napkins sizes vary. The ones I used are squares but rectangles are common. Look for those with narrow borders. You will have more material to work with after cutting off the edges. Smaller napkins can work but you will need more strips. If cutting off borders on paper napkins, don’t toss them. Save them for making centers and miniature flowers.
Materials and tools you will need:
Scarlet Clothing dye
Pink dip-dyed paper napkins (See dip-dyeing below)
Yellow dip-dyed paper napkins (See dip-dyeing with bleach below)
Pink paper cord
Hot glue gun
Wire cutters, wire stems and floral wire
Thread, wire and glue offer options of how to secure petals to stems. Seasoned crafters are familiar with different methods; beginners can explore and choose what works best..
Preparation and Assembly
Cut 2 pieces of 6 inch paper cord.
Make 4 knots at each end and trim off any extended pieces past the knots.
Cut a 4”x12” strip of napkin and use a straight edge to draw a line about 1” above the base.
With the straight edge as a guide, use scissors to cut 1/8 inch slits to the line.
Place fringed strip on a smooth surface and with your fingers, gather the base at the lower edge.
Lay top of stem on lower edge of fringed paper and secure with hot glue.
Roll gathered paper tightly unto stem and glue into place.
Attach floral tape to stem by securing tape to the top of the wire. First, stretch a piece of the tape; hold the stem in one hand and the tape in the other. Continue by placing the tape over the top of the stem; holding it on an angle; and twisting the wire until it is entirely covered. Continue stretching the tape as you go, for a smooth finish.
Cut off the embossed borders around the napkins.
Fold napkins in 3 equal size folds and cut apart. (Each napkin will produce three 4x12 inches strips).
Dip-dye napkins and let dry; see dip-dye below.
Cut out petal shape at the colored end of the paper. You will need four 4x 12 inches dip-dyed strips for each flower.
Fold strips in half lengthwise - 2 layers.
Fold again in thirds 6 – layers. (Each strip will have 6 connected petals for a total of twenty-four).
Place two 6-petal strips on a smooth surface
Offset the other 2 strips on top of them and gather base edges with your fingers. (I used my sewing machine to gather. But if you don’t sew, it’s easy to gather by hand with a needle and thread).
Wrap ruffled napkin strips around the stem and secure with hot glue. You can also use strong thread or floral wire to secure petals to stems. Suggested options aim to incorporate the materials you have on hand.
Note: Full gathers and deep-cut petals create flowers that open wide; while fewer gathers and shallow-cut-petals develop erect, unopened blooms.
Dip-Dyeing provides plenty of satisfaction because it produces exciting, organic patterns. Diluted craft paint and clothing dye add texture and color. Depending on the water paint ratio, craft paints make papers stiffer when they're dry. Undissolved dye particles will crystallize on paper when it dries. If that happens, remove the deposits with a soft brush.
To dip-dye with water and bleach solutions, use about 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of bleach. That combination will not always supply the color gradation you want; experiment. Use stronger solutions and longer time-frames for heavier papers and darker colors. For pastel-colored napkins, use weaker water/bleach ratios. Light colors could lose all of their pigment in seconds. Dipping in plain water adds subtle crinkle to papers while diluted food coloring adds delicate texture and color. Plant and vegetable dyes are also good alternatives.
Paper Napkin Flower
Dipped in clothing dye
Dip-dyeing Paper Napkins in Clothing Dye
Follow instructions on the dye package; mix a small portion, and do a dip-test. It’s is beneficial, and it will help you decide how long to leave papers in solutions.
Stack about four 12 inch napkin strips and fold closely together. Dip one end lengthways, 1 inch deep into the dye container for a few seconds. Remove and allow the excess drippings to decrease. Hang to dry clothesline-style with the dry side up. When paper napkins are wet, they are extremely fragile. Unfold them carefully when they are almost dry. Leave open on a flat surface to air dry. If you are looking to reduce drying time, use a blow dryer. Try a lower setting first. Higher settings could scorch paper and change the color. Microwaves and conventional ovens are also options. Caution: they too, can scorch and burn papers.
Pink Tissue Paper Flowers
The pretty DIY bouquet above is an easy project. It is a variation of the red/yellow paper napkin flowers at the top.
How I made them in summary:
I applied hot glue to wire stems; inserted them into hollow Q-tip; layered and gathered tissue paper strips together. And to finish, I glued and wrapped the gathered tissue around stems.
Now, here’s how you can make them in detail.
MATERIALS AND ASSEMBLY
BUD AND STEM
1 wire stem
1 Cotton swab
Cut a hollow cotton swab in half
Bend one end of the wire with pliers and insert the top of the stem into the opening.
If the opening is narrower than your stem, put a small amount of hot glue on the stem, attach swab and bind it with floral tape or a narrow strip of paper.
Two layers of tissue paper the same color as your flower is a good choice. Use caution; hot glue is hot.
To cover wire, stretch a piece floral tape over the top and twist the wire until the stem is entirely covered. To save time, I opted not to color the buds.
A package of 180 pieces Craft Wire Stems cost $1.50 at the dollar store. They are soft and easy to bend but strong enough to support the weight of the flower.
1 strip of 2 1/4 x 20 inches tissue paper
1 strip of 2 1/2 x 20 inches tissue paper
Fold strips of tissue in half lengthwise – 2 layers.
Fold again in quarters 4 – layers.
Fold yet again in thirds 12 – layers.
Cut out a curved petal shape at one end of the paper.
Open the layers and place the widest strip of tissue on a smooth surface.
Stack the narrower, strip on top of the first strip in an offset position.
Use your fingers to gather both layers of tissue at the base of the lower edges. If you have difficulty mastering the finger-gathering technique, use a sharp needle, strong thread, and a running stitch to gather the tissue. Or, take advantage of the ruffle foot on your sewing machine; as I did. Tissue paper tears easily; use a gentle hand.
Lay the top of the stem at the base of the gathered paper and secure with hot glue.
Roll the gathered paper unto the stem and glue in place as you go.
Note: A tight roll with fewer gathers produces an upright flower; while full gathers always form open petals. Still, other factors affect flowers width and shape: Deeper cut petals fall lower and wider while shallow-cut petals produce a bud-type flower.
For details in pictures, click here.
More pretty paper napkin flowers
This is a variation of the flowers above and you don't need templates. They're good for bouquets, backdrops, and home decor. To get this color, I dipped red napkins in 2 cups of water mixed with 1 tbsp of bleach and left them to dry. See dip-dye in bleach below.
Make these flowers
1. Cut, fold and cut - Cut off napkins borders, fold them in 3 equal sections and cut them apart. Each napkin strip will be 4 x 12 inches. You will need six strips for each flower.
2. Fold and cut - Fold strips in six and cut sharp-pointed petal shapes at the bleached end of tissue. Open strips; each one will contain 6 connected petals, totalling thirty-six.
3. Gather petals base - Place the three 3 strips inline on a smooth surface. Offset the other 3 strips on top of the first set and use your fingers to gather the base at lower edges.
Next, hold the stem in one hand and the gathered petals in the other. Secure the petals to the top of the stem with a small amount of hot glue. Wind the petals on an angle around the stem and continue until you reach the end. Secure end with hot glue. Use a small piece of tape to cover visible end at the base of the flower.
I used my sewing machine with the ruffle attachment. If you don’t sew, you may gather by hand with a needle and thread
Dip-dye in Bleach
To dip-dye, stack about four 12 inches napkin strips and fold closely together. Dip one end length-ways, 1inch deep into water and bleach solution for a few seconds. Remove and allow excess drippings to subside. Hang to dry on a clothesline-with dry side up. Or create a hack that serves your purpose. Remember paper napkins are extremely fragile when they're wet. Unfold them carefully when they are almost dry and leave on a flat surface to air dry. If your focus is saving time, use a blow dryer. But try a lower setting first. Microwaves and conventional ovens work too. Again, opt for lower settings. Higher temperatures could scorch paper and change their colors.
It’s your turn; make your paper flowers, show and tell.
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Please reach out if there’s anything you will like to learn or see.
If the LORD will, see you next time.