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.
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.
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.|
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 décor.
|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.|
|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!!