Paper Flowers How-To

It'll feel like spring all year with this easy-to-make paper tulip centerpiece.
Make Paper Tulips

Make Paper Tulips

This charming centerpiece is inexpensive, easy to make and will brighten up any spot in your home.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Potter Craft

Image courtesy of Potter Craft

Waiting for spring can leave even the most patient, cold-weather loving gardener desperate for any burst of color during the last dreary weeks of winter. And though we can’t control Mother Nature outdoors, we can create beautiful color with just a couple of strips of paper.

Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell’s Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand takes you on a craft adventure to create hundreds of beautiful paper flowers for weddings, gift-giving, for decorating your home and more.

This paper tulip project will add a cheery pop of spring to your home any time of year. What’s even better is creating the tulips requires no gluing or special tools, so kids can easily help out or even tackle the projects themselves.

The tulips are completely customizable — you can use any color paper that fits the season or your personal style. Thuss and Farrell recommend trying white tulips with deep green leaves, silver tulips with white leaves for the holidays, or pale pastels for springtime entertaining. No matter the colors you decide, you’ll be delighted when these paper beauties greet you each morning!

Make Paper Tulips

Make Paper Tulips

Try crafting white tulips with deep green leaves, silver tulips with white leaves for the holidays, or pale pastels for springtime entertaining.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Potter Craft

Image courtesy of Potter Craft

Twisted-Ribbon Tulips

You Will Need:

  • 3 1/2 inch-wide paper ribbon in gold and white
  • 1 1/2 inch-wide paper ribbon in pink, white, lavender, and red
  • Twisted paper ribbon in light pink, lavender, navy, yellow, and burgundy
  • 18 inch, 18-gauge paper-covered floral wire
  • Floral tape
  • Deckle edger (optional — this tool helps create a soft edge)
  • Dry floral foam
  • Decorative rocks
  • Large bowl, pot or container of your choice

1. Cut the Paper Tissue

Cut a 3-inch length of 3 1/2-inch white paper ribbon. Cut a 2 3/4-inch length of navy twisted paper ribbon; untwist it completely. Make five cuts, 3/4 of the way down to make six connected strips.

To make the petals, cut three 4-inch lengths of 3 1/2-inch gold paper ribbon; fold each in half lengthwise. Starting 1 1/2-inch from the top of each piece on the unfolded side, round off top corner with a deckle edger. Repeat with remaining pieces to create 3 petals.

For the leaves, cut a 12-inch length of pink twisted ribbon; untwist completely and fold in half lengthwise. Starting 1 1/2-inch from the top of each piece on the unfolded side, round off top corner with a deckle edger.

To make the smaller blooms, repeat the steps using the following measurements:

  • Petals: 2-inch length of 1 1/2-inch paper ribbon
  • Stamen: 2 1/4-inch length of paper tissue
  • Leaves: 10-inch length of paper tissue

2. Build the Tulips

Roll white paper ribbon lengthwise, scrunching loosely; bend in half. Center the wire between the fold and twist paper around the wire, creating a small loop. Secure with floral tape.

Using the navy ribbon, twist one strip from the base up toward the top, leaving the last 1/2-inch untwisted, to create an abstract stamen; repeat with the remaining five sections. 

To create a bunch of paper tulips, gather and wrap the petals by placing a flower center at the base of one end of a paper strip, supporting both between thumb and index finger. With your other hand, begin gathering the strip of paper against the stem while rotating the flower slowly as you pinch and wrap the paper around the stem until you reach the end of the strip. Hold it firmly together and tightly tape it (to prevent slipping) at the base of the flower center and down the stem. Continuous petals can be cut into multiple lengths to make attaching them easier.

For single petals (like blooms in the middle container pictured above), hold one side of the base of a petal or leaf between your thumb and index finger, and the opposite side of the base between your other thumb and index finger. Scrunch the sides toward each other, creating multiple gathers. Press a bit to crease. This technique adds dimension and creates a thinner base and a slightly rounded petal. You can pre-scrunch your petals to condition the paper, and then use the method above as you attach each one to a stem. 

After finishing the stems, scrunch and pleat the leaves, then attach one leaf 3-inches from the end of the stem, secure and top the remainder of the stem with floral tape. 

3. Style the Centerpiece

Fill a container with blocks of dry floral foam. Trim the paper tulip wires to varying lengths and push the wire down into the floral foam. Fill the container with decorative rocks, sheet moss or any other desired materials — just make sure it will weigh down the foam and keep your paper flowers from toppling over.

To style, use your fingers to gently curve the wires in any direction or bend them around a jar, can or dowel to create clean uniform curves. Leaving stems stiff and straight will give your flowers or leaves an angular and graphic appearance. Curving the wires will create a more lifelike and organic impression.

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