The flowers in California are absolutely stunning. Never before have I lived somewhere that has such an amazing variety of plants and flowers – all of which feel very exotic to a city dweller like myself. Every time we take a walk, we come across new blooms and it’s all I can do to keep the kids from picking them to bring home (I admit, it is VERY tempting).
The other day, I diverted their inclination to pick from our neighbors’ gardens by promising to make our own flowers when we got home.
I hesitated to post this DIY because well, it’s not particularly original. I imagine we’ve ALL made paper flowers at some point – at home or in school – and the steps are pretty straight forward. All of that said, it is such a win with kids because it’s very hard to mess up, it’s a relatively tidy project, and the results are super versatile. So, consider this post a reminder of this “oldie but goodie” as we say.
We did do some new things to give the traditional project a little spunk: we colored the tips, varied the shape of the ends of the paper folds, and used different widths of paper strips to create different varieties of blooms…
There are also a million different things you can do with the finished flowers! String them into a garland, combine them into a giant work of art for your wall, top a gift, make a headband, or just wrap a bunch with ribbon and make someone else happy with a bouquet.
-Tissue paper or crepe paper in different colours
1. Start by cutting strips of tissue paper. When you unfold a pack of paper, it usually has about 8 sheets folded up together. Keep these stacked and cut strips anywhere between 4″/10cm and 12″/30cm wide, and about 12″/30cm-18/45cm” long. I cut different widths for variety, but you could cut them all the same width too!
2. Fold the stacked tissue paper in an accordion fold.
3. Secure the center of the accordion fold by bending a pipe cleaner around it and twisting it under the bottom.
4. You can use markers to color the tips of the flowers! This results in a really pretty and subtle edge of color in the final flower.
5. Experiment with scissors – different end treatments will result in different petal shapes…
6. With the pipecleaner “stem” pointing down, GENTLY pull each layer of the tissue paper up. This can be tricky for kids, but it helped when I told them to keep their fingers toward the very center of the flower instead of at the edge of the petal when pulling (also, if they tear, they still look pretty :)).
7. And that’s IT!
After running them through the process, the kids were eager to do it all on their own. We found that having them choose 4 sheets of tissue was the right number in order for the petal separation to go smoothly.
Even when they started cutting their own uneven strips, and crumpling the tissue paper, the results were fantastic.
My favorite flowers came from layering different colors and types of edges on top of each other like this.
The kids have been earning pocket money helping out here and there in the Pipsticks Studio this summer. They are really excited about the idea of “working hard” and having something to show for it.
Apparently the entrepreneurial spirit has rubbed off on them in the process: they were so happy with their creations, they decided to set up a flower shop in front of our house…and made $10 in one evening (I’d like to take this moment to thank my neighbors for their generosity, haha)!!
I managed to sneak my favorite white one with pink and purple edges out of the sale bouquet to top a friend’s birthday present (without the kids seeing – or else they definitely would have demanded payment)! I love how delicate this one looks, created with just markers and white tissue.
Hope you’ll dig this project out of your personal archives and give it a shot. As always, let me know how yours turn out. 🙂