Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to Make a Paper Flower Medallion

A few months ago I came across a picture of some paper wall art that looked like pretty dahlias and thought… I can totally make that, so I did! I made large ones and small ones and before I knew it I made a lot of them. I brought them into the flower shop and my coworkers loved them! We hung them on a wall in our office and it turned into a pretty spiffy looking bit of wall art.

Over the following weeks our paper dahlias were finding their way into the background of a few of our Facebook pictures and people started asking what they were, if they could buy them and how they could make them, so here’s our how-to (we of course offer them for sale too).


Here’s what you’ll need:
 - Some scrap cardboard
 - A compass with pencil (or something circular to trace around)
 - Stapler and staples
 - Glue (I used Elmer’s, but pretty much any glue works well, especially a hot glue gun)
 - A box cutter or exacto knife
 - A book (or sheet music or scrapbook papers or any kind of pretty paper for your flower)
 - A pair of scissors
 - A piece of wire ~6” (I use 18 gage, but any gage is fine)
 - Something pretty for the center *optional*

Cut out cardboard circles.


Start with your scrap cardboard (I used an old flower box) and use your compass to make a circle (or trace something round). Big circles will make big flowers, small circles small flowers. If you plan to make a few, mixing the sizes creates a fun and interesting look. And though I have yet to try it, I’m sure this craft could be easily adapted to make square or oval shaped flowers. Once you’ve drawn your shape, carefully cut out your circle with your box cutter or exacto knife.




Next select your paper. I was given a large amount of old romance novels that a friend got for free from a local flea market and they’re perfect! I love the ecru color of their pages, so shabby chic, and I don’t feel too terrible about cutting them apart (for some reason the idea of cutting up most books makes me sad… I’m not trying to start another Bonfire of the Vanities here!).

Cut the pages from your book.

The size of the pages of most romance novels is perfect too, around 7” x 4.5” or so, I made one with big magazine pages once and it didn’t look so hot, so if you‘re using a large book, I recommend cutting the pages in half, it will give your flower more petals. Anyway, like I mentioned in the supplies area, any kind of paper will do really, simply chose what you like the look of.
So if you are choosing to violate a book like I did, carefully use your box cutter and run it along the inside of the binding over and over again, removing the pages as you go, to cut all the pages out as whole as possible.





Curling...

Next curl your papers into cones. It took me at least a dozen cones to really get efficient at it and not crinkle my pages.

I made my cones by turning the page horizontal, holding the inside left corner between my left index finger and thumb, and using my opposite hand to turn the page over my holding hand and then I rolled the bottom of the page into a point.




Curling...
Curled.

Then, using my stapler, I stapled my cones along the circumference of my cardboard circle.
Staple your cones to the perimiter.



Make lots and lots of cones.


Once the perimeter was filled with cones I made a lot more cones (no, I didn’t count how many, the number you need will vary depending on how large your circle is) but these I stapled as I went, since my stapler won‘t reach the inside of the circle. Once I have a lot of cones made it’s time to glue.








Overlap your rings of cones.
Get Gluey!
Using my Elmers I ran a bead of glue along the long side of my paper cone, a couple of inches from the top and down to the staple at the bottom. I then pressed my gluey cone to the cardboard, overlapping my first layer of cones. You may overlap them more or less, depending on how full of petals you want your flower to be.





Working my way toward the center I glued circle after circle of cones.


Make some small cones.


Once you are very near the middle and the cones become too long to neatly fit you will want to create some smaller cones. Simply cut your pages in half and roll 5-6 short cones. These can be tricky to roll neatly, but keep at it, they look much better in the center of your flower than a bunch of mangled long cones.

Adding a trinket can be fun!




Now it’s decision time… do I finish my flower in all paper or do I add a fun trinket to the center? When I created lots of these for one wall I mixed it up, some were created with all paper and some I choose an old used halogen light bulb for the center. I’ve been colleting spent light bulbs for years now and I love the bit of shine these add to the middle. You can choose anything really, crystals, an artificial flower, a faux bird’s nest, a glass ornament, whatever works with your d├ęcor.

Get gluey again!




If you are choosing to finish the center with some sort of bauble, simply slather it with lots of glue… lots and lots of glue, and press it into the center of your flower.





You're just about done...



Roll a few pages tightly.

If you would like stick to all paper, then I recommend rolling a few half pages very tightly, around a pencil or pen, bending them in half, and gluing them in the center. This creates the most authentic flower look, your tightly rolled pages mimicking the petals at the center of a real dahlia.






Fold the tight rolls in half
and glue them in the center.

Now that you’re done gluing, give your flower ample time to dry, at least overnight. I waited just a few hours once before hanging and I had drips of wet glue running down my paper petals before I knew it!


Also, due to a past cat related smashing incident, I now always dry mine someplace high, where a few select up-to-no-good cats won’t be tempted to take a nap upon them. If you use hot glue, I imagine all this could be avoided, as your flower would dry very quickly.

Phillip Cat:  Known paper flower smasher!!



Add a wire loop to hang it by.
Finally, to the back I took a 6” piece of 18 gage wire, folded it in half, jabbed it through my cardboard and twisted it around itself to make a loop to hang my pretty flower by.









Wall of Paper Flowers


We love this craft, it’s inexpensive, simple, unique, eco-friendly and beautiful! Clustering a bunch together as we did makes a great statement wall or even standing alone it is a lovely piece of art and conversation piece. We hope you give this a try and have fun making your own!!

-Jennifer Kelly




62 comments:

  1. Fantastic idea , great ,Plz post some more ideas

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    1. Thanks so much! We're working on a few more tutorials that we hope to post in the near future!

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  2. loved this....!! i have a bunch of paper i used for animation...was just gonna dump it...so just googled for something creative...im sure gonna do this!! thanks

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    1. The animation paper sounds like a great idea, we bet it will look amazing! Have fun crafting!

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    2. don't ever throw stuff away - www.freecycle.org post what you want to give away - post what you need or want to get - always FREE!! Love It!

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  3. Thanks for all the love everyone! We adore making these paper flowers, they look great in the shop and our customers always walk up for a closer look at them. We even caught a couple snapping photos!

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  4. Oh my! Beautiful

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  5. Can you use scrapbooking paper?

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    1. Thanks for asking Terri, we tried one with scrapbooking paper and it did turn out pretty. We caution you though, scrapbooking paper is much heavier than the romance novel papers, so when rolling it into cones it has a tendency to want to crease and we needed a bit more glue to hold the pages in place securely, but if you have the patience you'll be happy with the results! Thanks again :)

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  6. really like how these turned out. Great post!

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  7. it is around 80 of those roles by the way. You can get old books at your local library for 1-2 dollars. it is beautiful.

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    1. Great tip! Thanks for sharing! We lucked into our books, someone abandoned them at the end of a flea market, which is another great source for inexpensive or free books!

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    2. check in with www.freecycle.org to also find free books - you can post to receive items you are looking for or post to give away - this for FREE items only! Love it!!!

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  8. Would news paper work? If it does you xould make it for birth of baby, or wedding out of news paper that day. Have to try this

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    1. I love the idea of newspaper!

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    2. We haven't tried newspaper yet, it seems a little less sturdy than book pages, but if you have a gentle touch we think it would work great!

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  9. This is such a great idea! I am going to use it behind my bed. Just as Pennie McCAin suggested, I am going to try to use newspaper. :) Thank you!

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    1. Sounds beautiful! Please let us know how it turns out!

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  10. Love this idea! Can't wait to try it. I love the look of the book pages, but I wonder if you could spray paint the finished product? I'm envisioning some beautifully colored zinnia's!!

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    1. Sounds beautiful!! One of our employees had a similar idea and made a lovely one out of colored craft paper. We work with spray paint in the shop from time to time and think that painting would go well, we just recommend several light layers, allowing them to dry in between so the paper doesn't get too wet and soggy and to prevent drips. Have fun! We're sure it will look fantastic!

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    2. You could also ink/sponge the edges of the book pages for a lovely subtle look - pretty shabby chic!

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  11. I love this. What a nice way to fill an empty space on your wall. Cheap and easy to do too. Thanks for the step by step instructions.

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    1. Thanks so much!! We're happy to inspire :) Happy crafting!!

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  12. What a great idea! I've been looking for creative/fun wall art ideas. This is perfect. Thank you for sharing! =)

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    1. Thanks so much, we're glad you enjoy it! Have fun crafting!!

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  13. superb!I am lucky to have explored your creative works..thanks a tonne to post such detailed steps.

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  14. I LOVE IT WHAT U THINK ABOUT SPRAY PAINTING IT ? LOL just asked

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    1. Thanks so much! We like the idea of spray painting, just remember to paint in light layers, allowing them to dry in between, so the paper doesn't get soggy. Happy crafting!!

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  15. This is beautiful! Love the look with the book pages.

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  16. I love this idea. I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. FAB instructions! LOVE your wall of flowers - and the kitty is pretty CUTE, too! THX for taking the time to post the deets!

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  18. Love this! Since I'm French crazy, I'll look for some old French written books! I'm not a crafter, but I've stenciled mirrors/windows with French poems, and now have a basket of painted pinecones turned upside down...faux zinnias! ;-)

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    1. That sounds like a fantastic idea! I love that you're keeping to your French obsession! The pine cones sound pretty! Painted pine cones have been one of our latest obsessions as we start planning for the upcoming holiday season, but turning them into zinnias breathes new life into a traditionally wintry botanical. Thanks for sharing!

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  19. In the 60's I was a Keypunch Operator, if anyone knows what that was. We made these using the IBM cards after they were punched for the large computers. We made them at Christmas time. After we made the flower was made we spray painted them in gold or silver and sometimes added glitter. For the center we added old jewelry. We made so many, everyone wanted them.

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    1. What a wonderful story!! They sound beautiful and what a great way to re-purpose the IBM cards!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

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    2. Yes! We did that too... I liked the silver!

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    3. Yes! We did that too... I liked the silver!

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  20. Ah, I remember those punched-cards! My sister used to make wreathes out of them as well....I guess we're showing our age here! Haven't seen a punch card since the late seventies.

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    1. Some of our office girls here at the shop remember those too! So cool!

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  21. Your paper flowers are beautiful! I was thinking about making one for my front door. I live in Savannah, Ga. It gets cold in the winter and we do get rain. How can I protect the paper so it will withstand the weather? Would spray paint do the trick?

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    1. That sounds beautiful! I think it would make a great door wreath! I'm not sure if spray paint alone would be enough, but there are lots of waterproof sprays that you can buy for paper. We found this site with instructions for making paper waterproof: http://www.ehow.com/info_8734775_can-spray-paper-make-waterproof.html
      Happy Crafting!

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  22. Jennifer,
    Your 'Wall of Flowers' is amazingly lovely. Your step-by-step instructions are the best and easiest to follow that I have ever come across.
    Thank you so much for your generosity. I look forward to making these beautiful flowers soon! (I'm sure that my husband will be glad to see some of my novels get gone!)

    ~S~

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    1. Thank you so much!! I'm so glad you enjoy our idea! Happy crafting!!

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  23. What a great idea! I'm going to try making some with different glass Christmas ornaments in the center and decorate for the holidays! So excited to get started <3

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    1. That's a fantastic idea!! Thanks for sharing! Happy crafting!

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  24. I work mainly with fabrics, and my mind is simply whirring with ideas right now! Oh, oh, oh, I love you for this!

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    1. Oh I'm picturing a beautiful pillow right now, and that's just the start! So happy we could inspire! Happy crafting!!

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  25. Thank you, I am making one for a table center piece. Beautiful!

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    1. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing! Happy crafting!!

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  26. What Did You Use For You Circumference For The Card Board Piece?

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    1. Thanks for asking! We've made these in quite a few different sizes, but the one we create the most of has a circumference of about 44 inches. Happy crafting!!

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    2. hi! 44 inches? Is that right? That sounds ginormous!!! LOL!!!

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  27. Wow i really like this idea and the flowers are lovely. I think I would like to try this in my guest room but i want mine to be silver petals. What would you suggest i use could i spray paint the petals?

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    1. Thanks, we're glad you like them! We recently picked up a can of silver paint for a different project here at the flower shop that we think would work well for painting paper too (we did a test spray and the paper is taking the color well). It's Rust-oleum brand Bright Coat Metallic Finish. We were going for a shiny chrome finish for our project and it worked great! It was about $3.50 from Home Depot, who carries quite a few shades and finishes in silver paints. Just go lightly and let the paint dry in between coats so the paper doesn't get too soggy. Thanks for your comment and happy crafting!

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