Thursday, July 9, 2009

Paper Flower Memories (Paper Daisy Tutorial Included).....

"The poets darling."
~William Wordsworth, "To The Daisy"~

I will never forget the magical moment when I crafted my first paper flower. I was six years old. My teacher, Mrs. Butts, gave each student two facial tissues, a piece of string, green construction paper, and a pipe cleaner at craft time. We were instructed to get our safety scissors and paste from our cigar box of school supplies from the cubby under our desks and the magic began.We were shown how to cut the tissues in half, separate the tissue layers, and to stack the layers one on top of the other. It was a good thing we were making carnations because our cutting skills were pretty sad and many a jagged edge or small tear attested to the fact. Once the layers were stacked we learned to fan fold, flipping the tissue stack back and forth until it looked like an accordion.
This accomplished, we were to sit holding our little fan folded tissue pinched between our thumb and fore finger until the teacher could come around and tie the string tightly around the middle. We girls in banana curls and barrettes batted our eyes and fanned ourselves like little Southern Belles having the vapors as the boys made airplane noises and flying motions with their winged tissue creations. Once the string had been tied, the pipe cleaner was twisted over the string to create a stem.The teacher then instructed us to fan out each side and gently separate each layer pulling towards the center. Like magic a flower began to form. Once we had all the layers fluffed together she helped us to trim and shape the flower into a frilly carnation. We cut out construction paper leaves and pasted them to the stem then planted our flower in a Dixie cup that had a little bit of clay in the bottom to stick the flower stem in. We carefully printed off a flower poem onto a piece of paper from our Big Chief writing tablet in our neatest first grade scribbles and erases. These creations proudly sat on our desks at open house when our parents came to meet our teacher.I went home that very day with my head filled with the wonder of being able to make a paper flower, fingers itching to try again. I always arrived home from school before my mother got home from work so I thought I might surprise her with a paper carnation bouquet. It was I who was in for a surprise.

Looking around I found some thread in mothers sewing box and pipe cleaners, scissors, and paste in my craft box but, we had no facial tissue. I wondered if I could use toilet tissue instead. Much to my delight I found a pretty pink roll under the sink and thought how much better it would be to make pink flowers rather than plain white. They took more layers and came out much smaller than the facial tissue ones so I decided to make more. I used the whole roll of tissue!
Then I thought white mixed with pink would look even prettier so I set in on the white roll on the tissue holder until my fingers got tired of folding, tying, twisting, and gluing. I gathered up my abundant bouquet and carried it to the kitchen table. I thought a vase would look much prettier than a Dixie cup so I dug one out from under the cabinet and surely water would look prettier than clay so I pushed a chair over to the sink and filled the vase.

I bunched up my bouquet and plopped to on top of the wide mouthed vase and scooted it to the center of the kitchen table where my mom was sure to see it when she got home. Satisfied that she would be surprised I went off to play in my room. She saw it all right, the whole gloppy soggy mess dripping down the vase, tissue pieces, thread, and pipe stems sinking to the bottom.
At first, after a long tiring day at work, she did not see my effort to create a surprise for her, she only saw a mess to clean up. When I bounced into the room yelling, "Surprise!", my face fell and crocodile tears began to roll as my eyes landed on my carefully crafted carnations turned to mush. Through sniffles and tears I explained what happened and she explained to me that paper flowers must be kept dry.

I graduated from toilet and facial tissue up to crepe paper and wrapping tissue in my tween years when making giant colorful Mexican flowers and displaying them in your bedroom was a hot trend. I revived the carnations recently using crepe paper streamers to make tiny carnations to decorate some nut cups for a baby shower and then once again tucked the idea away. That is until I saw a paper flower crafting book from the 1960's for sale on Etsy.
I am hooked again and my experimental nature has taken over as my fingers itch to test out various supplies, techniques, embellishments, and uses for paper flowers, minus the water of course. I thought you might enjoy seeing my first try at making a simple daisy and variations of the same pattern, as well as learn the technique yourself.
MATERIALS:*Any color crepe paper for flower petals
*Brown or Yellow crepe paper for flower centers
*Green crepe paper for leaves
*Covered wire ~ 30 gauge
*Stem wire ~ 18 gauge
*Floral tape
*Cotton Ball, approx 1 1/2 inches in diameter, 1 per flower
*Fine roll wire
*Wire cutters
*Hot glue & glue gun
*Spray glue

NOTE: You do not want to use a liquid glue when working with crepe paper, it can dissolve the paper or cause the color of the paper to bleed or run.


1. To make the flower center, place cotton ball in the center of a 6 inch square of brown or yellow crepe paper.
2. Gather the edges of the paper together and twist making a crepe paper covered ball with a tail or stem.3. Place stem wire up inside the tail, (I added a dab of hot glue to the cotton ball and stuck the wire end in it to keep the wire from slipping out), and wrap fine wire tightly up close to the base of the ball. Cut away excess paper and wrap stem with floral tape.4. To make petals, cut a strip of paper 18 inches long and 6 inches wide. Fold into fourths as shown below. The grain of the paper runs lengthwise.5. Make slits about 1 1/2 inches deep at both ends dividing it into thirds. This makes the side of the petals. Now round off the corners as shown below.6. Open this so you have an 18 inch strip. Fold in half lengthwise as shown below.7. Run a piece of wire along the folded edge in between the two layers of paper. Gather the paper up on this wire making a circle of petals. Place petals around the daisy center and tighten the wire. Wrap ends of wire around stem of flower. Trim away excess wire with a wire cutter.8. Wrap stem in floral tape. Gently stretch and twist tape around the stem.
9. Cut two 6 inch squares of green crepe paper. Cut in half to make four 6 inch by 3 inch pieces. Cut two 8 inch pieces of wire.11. Spay glue on side of two of the 6 inch by 3 inch pieces. Place wire down the center of the 6 inch length allowing some wire to hang over the edge. Place remaining piece of paper on top of the wire and gently press together, sealing the wire and fusing the paper pieces.
12. Trim into leaf shapes.
13. Using floral tape, tape leaves to stem.I think this traditional daisy would make a lovely package topper for a baby shower or little girls birthday gift. This is why I really ordered the book, with floral package toppers in mind.
Here is a variation using sewing pattern tissue paper and instructions, coffee dyed lace, brown crepe paper, brown candy liner, and brown wire and floral tape.For this one I did not round the petals but left them straight so the pattern markings would not be lost. I slipped the center through a candy liner, gathered a piece of dyed lace into a circle, slipping the center through it also, and then followed the same finishing instructions as above.For the leaves I cut to two large rectangles of the pattern instructions, trimming the top to look like a leaf shape, highlighting them with Walnut Ink, then gathering the straight bottom to form the bottom of the leaf I attached them to the stem with a bit of wire and floral tape. I love the sepia look of this one!

I wanted to try using more layers and get a lush look for a wedding package topper to I experimented with multiple layers of tissue alternated with tulle on this one. Adore it!
Following the same basic instructions make three petal patterns using white crepe paper, trimming the petals using a pinking shear. Prepare two more petal patterns using a fine white tulle. Layer in this order: crepe paper, tulle, crepe paper, tulle, crepe paper. Using a needle and thread or a sewing machine, stitch straight down the middle of the layers to hold them all together to make gathering easier. Fold petals in half and gather on wire as in original instructions. You will not get a tight gather due to all the layers, there will be a hole in the center.I used a white candy liner, a white cupcake liner, a white crepe paper streamer ruffle, bits of gathered white tulle, and a button to create my center. Using white covered wire I threaded it through the button and twisting it a couple of times on the back. I went through the middle of the small white candy liner, using a little hot glue on the back of the button to make it stick, through the paper ruffle, gluing as I went, gluing on a few snips of tulle and finally through the cupcake liner. I glued the whole thing around the center of the flower leaving the long ends of the wire free. For leaves I gathered a vintage napkin in the center and twisted the wire around it to secure it. Some brushes of clear glitter around the center edges would also be a nice touch. After a little fussing and fluffing I have a package stopper topper!Next I tried a patterned tissue gift wrap. I crumpled the paper up to give it a texture rather than its new stiff look the followed the original instructions. For the center I used a bit of pink silk fabric rather than paper to cover the cotton ball. I added a couple of silk leaves that I dry brushed over with a bit of gesso and a sprinkle of clear glitter. This one is pretty in pink!Lastly I tried using some coffee dye muslin following the original instructions. The thickness of the fabric was a bit bulky to work with but I am pleased with the finished result. There will be a large opening when the flower is finished off and the petals will be loose. I lifted them up very gently and placed dots of hot glue around them near the gather to secure. I used two round sturdy cardboard circles to glue over both sides of the center openings. I had a wonderful paper flower left over from a kit I had purchased through Five Dollar French General to I glued it to the top of the flower. To the back I glued a pin back.I thought this one would make a great package topper but I intend to use it as a fashion accessory! I tried it on my favorite summer hat, love it! I tired it on the lapel of a denim jacket, love it! I tried it on a vintage scarf tied on the handle of a casual summer bag, love it too!

I have at least two more daisies I want to experiment with before moving on to the next flower. Just think there are eighteen more flower patterns and endless possibilities!

I'd love to see your version of this darling daisy! If you make one send me an email including a photo, I'd love to do a photo collage of them all listing artist and links to your blog. Enjoy!

Miss Sandy


Lorrie said...

These are ALL wonderful - thank you so much for showing all the different things you can do with just one technique! It's a craft from my childhood, reinvented!


Lady Farmer said...

What a wonderful craft idea! I have never seen paper ones! You are so inventive with all of your variations. Can't wait to see the others!
Thanks for sharing with the tutorial!
Summer Blessings!

LiLi M. said...

Thanks for these great tutorials. What possibilities, endless, thanks for inspiration! Have a nice day creating!

Anonymous said...

Sandy you must be a teacher. The tutorial is so easy to follow and so articulate. Reminds me of one of the first papers I had to write in college English, a how to paper. I choose "How to Stay Slim." That was 32 years ago and I was in my 8th month of my last pregnancy. I did it partly for laughs but I was 40 years old and knew I needed to keep an eye on getting slim again after my darling Beth was born. It was about diet and exercise. Blessings

JD/ Jill said...

These are just lovely and so creative, I am a paper you know I will give these a try...thank you for sharing...

Anonymous said...

You bring to mind all of the school supplies from childhood - I can almost smell the paper, glue etc. These are all such pretty ideas. Thanks for sharing and blessings this weekend.

Tina said...

Miss Sandy - your paper flowers are SO beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial. I just LOVE the one with the sewing pattern tissue and the coffee dyed lace. My favorite color.
Have a lovely weekend.
Tina xx

Beth Leintz said...

Beautiful- I love that you showed so many variations and different kinds of paper tissue etc.

Cant wait to try some of my own!

kathy said...

SO LOVELY _ brings a smile to my heart -- as we always decorated out doors at school - and we all wanted the coveted award for best door decorations for spring -- we made so many flowers -- and while we did not win - thought is was the prettiest one around -- It is
truly the simple things in life we remember with such pleasure -- thanks for the reminder-
Blessings Kathy - ga

Anonymous said...

PS, I have a presentation for you on 7/11/09 blog.

Holly Campbell said...

Wonderful flowers! I love working with paper, so I will be trying some of your suggestions! Thank you for the tutorial, and ideas.

Vee said...

Don't know how I missed this one! (I so hated making carnations even though I often was recruited for the task. 8{ ) I love your fashion accessory! That one came out amazing and is my very favorite, too.

Ragamuffin Gal said...

These are sooo wonderful Miss Sandy ~ I cannot wait to get my supplies out and try these! I enjoyed reading your description of making your first flowers, especially the cigar/supply box ~ I remember that.

Mary Green said...

LOVE this - I have patterns I keep meaning to do something with & here you are. Thank you!

Barbara Jean said...

This is awesome!
Great instructions, and such a variety to try.
Thanks for emailing me in regard to seaside children's pics.
Otherwise i may not have found you!

Barbara Jean

PS I'd like to tell about your blog at my place if it is OK.

Daisy said...

I LOVE this entry.
I love Daisy and with your instruction I can make my own bouquet of daisy to decorate my room.

I also want to share your tutorial on my many people can follow.

Thank you so much!

CADEAR said...

the daisies are absolutely incredible! I'm planning on using them to decorate my dorm room wall. I'm going to experiment with larger sizes. thanks so much for the tutorial!

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