CENTRED on the middle
Paper flower centers work as contrasts of extension; and that’s whether they’re bold and beautiful or fine and delicate. Observe any open flower and notice how your eyes are drawn to the middle. Regardless of size, it’s hard to miss the delicateness, elegance and/or striking exuberance that separates the middle of a flower from its counterparts. Even when surrounded by masses of flamboyant petals, they never fail to draw the eye.
Take a cue from nature and use the same concept to create your centers. Start with simple buds and fringe; and follow wherever your creativeness leads. I’ve found when I think of them as smaller flowers I never run out of ideas. The examples below detail how to create multiple centers with a basic fringe.
If you are unfamiliar with the term contrast of extension, it is a design principle used in colour theory. Learn more at https://www.canva.com
No templates needed
All of the featured centers can be used as flowers. For now though, let’s label them centers. Their sizes range between I” and 5” in diameter and they are all made the same way.
Note: There are 5 featured centers - Simple buds; Simple fringe centers; Composite centers; Double layer centers and Cleaning brush centers.
Paper Flower buds and centers
Simple buds can be used on their own
Simple fringe centers are made with stems and fringe -no bud
Composite Centers combines a bud and a fringe
Double layer Centres are structured with two layers of fringe of same or varied sizes
Cleaning brush centers are an elongated form of the simple fringe centers
There are many ways to make paper flower centers but this post focuses on fringe. It’s easy and the method is template free.
Materials needed to create centers listed above
Assorted papers: Napkins, tissue, Construction, other
Floral or other tape
Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks; glue sticks craft glue
Fringing shears (Optional)
Edge scissors (Optional)
Note: The above listed adhesives anticipates how separate papers behave in the process of being stuck to another sheet or different type of paper. Soft papers like tissue and paper napkins need adhesives that will not compromise their structure. On the other hand, sturdier, thicker papers, need strong glue to hold them. You won’t need every type for each center.
How paper types affect design
Different papers produce unlike results even when using the same technique. That’s mainly due to weight and texture. Generally, firm papers maintain an upright structured look. In contrast, softer papers tend to curl or droop and have an untamed appearance. That’s especially so if the fringe is longer.
In the photo below left: All the centers are made with the same size and style of fringe. Notice how the sizes seem to vary? Now, take a look at how the seemingly largest pink and gold center has spread. That’s because it’s made of the lightest paper of the lot. The one second from left has kept a stiffer form because it’s made of glossy flyer paper. Use Contrasting textures to create interest.
simple Fringe centers
Ruler & pencil
Needle nose pliers
Floral or other tape
Glue gun and hot glue sticks, glue sticks, craft glue
Paper (Tissue, crepe, paper napkin, or other)
Step 1. Cut paper – Cut a strip of paper 12” x 2 ½”
Step 2. Mark or eyeball - You can choose to mark cutting guideline near the base of paper strip. If you are confident though; skip it. If you want to be precise, draw a lengthwise line about 1/2” in from one edge of paper.
Step 3. Create fringe - Use scissors to cut slits from top edge of paper to within 1/2” of base edge or to marked line.
Step 4. Bend the stem - Use needle nose pliers to bend one end of the wire stem
Step 5. Attach fringe and stem - Apply a spot of glue to base of fringe at one end. (b) Place bent end on top, add a bit more glue over stem and tightly roll to finish. (c) This applies especially to longer thicker paper strips: To prevent paper from slipping off roll, frequently apply appropriate adhesive at base .
Cover stem as in Step 3. - Simple buds above.
Note: Use hot glue to anchor papers to stems; other glues might not be strong enough to hold wire to paper.
Double layer centers
Strips of paper 6” x 1 ½” (Narrow fringe)
Strip of paper 8” x 3” (Wide fringe)
Glue gun and glue sticks
Floral or other tape
Step 1. Attach double layer fringe
(a) Attach, roll and glue narrow fringe to bud. (b) Glue wider fringe to end of narrow fringe and roll till finished.
Note: Fringe sizes are design options; feel free to use strips of the same dimension and match or contrast colours.
Create Your own unique papers
Variety and harmony is easy to achieve in your designs when you make your own papers; you don’t need to start from scratch.
All of the papers used below were laminated/glued together. Any paper works with suitable glue; I used paper napkins, newsprint paper and gold tissue paper. A glue stick was my adhesive of choice; because it contains less moisture and left fewer chances of ripping the tissue paper during application.
Making laminated papers
The process is simple: Lay out the more substantial paper on a flat surface and apply liberal amounts of glue all over. Assuming your are working with a rectangle or square, place the tissue on top of the glue-smeared paper and smooth out. You can start from one edge and finish at the other. Or start from the middle; and with a gentle smoothing motion, push top layer outward to all edges and let dry.
To prevent having to reapply glue, use manageable pieces of paper. Glue sticks dry quickly.
More than 40 years ago, I saw my mother making the same type of centers with crepe paper. She used them as fillers for her paper flower arrangements and called them fringe flowers. To date, it remains the simplest way I know to make centers/fringe flowers.
Thank you for sharing your time. I’m so happy you stopped by.
I hope you found some ideas to take into your next creative pursuit.
In the meantime, I plan to surround each featured center with some compatible petals. Looking forward to sharing them with you.
If the Lord will, see you next time.