June 30, 2015

How to: Simple Paper Flowers

It's probably not surprising to most of you that I have had a wedding-themed Pinterest board since long before Matt and I got engaged because...well... isn't that why Pinterest was invented?

Paper FlowersAnyway, since I now have a good reason to put it to use, I've been pinning wedding DIYs like it's my (second) job. Mostly, I'm on the lookout to make our very small wedding budget stretch to incorporate all the things I want without being wasteful. I'd much rather spend the money we have allotted on a good photographer and food and drinks for our guests than on frilly decor.

Of the frilly decor items, the one that particularly grinds my gears is the thought of is spending $2500 on flowers (which I read is the average). The very possibility that a bridal bouquet could cost upwards of $75-100 is insane to me. Flowers die. Usually within days, if not hours, and carrying them about only for them to be put down somewhere seems like a ridiculous waste of money.

So, a few weeks ago, I stumbled on this tutorial that made coffee filter flowers look easy and like something that would make pretty decor for our wedding without breaking the bank. They're based off of a Martha Stewart design and you can print the templates to help you out. These flowers utilize the white cone coffee filters and you can buy 800 of them on Amazon for less than $20. Naturally this was the solution to my flower conundrum.

...Except they didn't turn out exactly like I had hoped. They're actually much harder than you'd think. I tried watching a video on YouTube, tried reading a second tutorial, and attempted to make them multiple times to no avail. Frustrated, I threw them out before I could snap a picture for you. But trust me, they were not rose-like in any sense of the word.

So on to Plan B.

I stumbled on Lia Griffith's tutorial (here) on how to make paper roses. I also used Capital Romance's tutorial (here). They seemed to have the same shape as the Marta Stewart ones but seemed a good bit easier, so I thought I'd give them a go. Lia's tutorial provides templates as well for those who need them, but I just sort of used a combination of the two techniques together. I tried using both scrapbook paper and coffee filters, and actually prefer the look and feel of the filters, not to mention how pliable they are, but depending on what you're going for, any kind of paper would probably work.

I recommend swinging over to her site for a very in-depth look at her method, but here's a play by play for what I did:


Printer or Scrapbook Paper (or coffee filters)
Glue (I used Elmer's)
Floral Tape
Floral Wire

Recommended items that I didn't use this time:

Bamboo Skewers (Lia doesn't use these, she doubles her wire, but I thought the skewer might give a more solid "stem" for single rose displays. Totally your preference depending on what you use them for!)
Pretty Beads for centers (when I make finished products, I will probably use these.)


1. Start by deciding how large you want your flowers to be. I tried making mine using 3", 4" and 5.5" squares for varying sizes. The "standard size" is about four inches.

2. Cut your paper to size. You want to use a square - so cut evenly on both sides to the proper length and width.

3. If you don't want to use the templates, you can simply the process by folding the paper corner to corner three times.

4. After you've folded your paper, you should have a triangle with two folded sides and one "open" side. Cut the open side in the shape you'd like your petals to be. I did a half circle, but I imagine you could do triangles, or square shapes and still yield similar results.

5. Cut the very tip of the triangle that falls between the two folded sides. Cut it as small as you can. This will service as the center of the flower.

6. Repeat steps #3-5 for two more square pieces of paper - if you unfold them, you should have something that looks like this:

7. Once you have cut your triangles, your next step is to cut sections out of each of them. Out of your first flower, cut one petal. Out of the second, cut two petals and finally cut three petals out of the third. You should have the following pieces:

Paper Flowers

8. Using the glue, overlap the end petals of the three largest pieces. This should yield "cones" of four, five and six petals, respectively.

9. The single petal should be rolled into a cone shape and glued.

10. The two petal and three petal pieces, should be molded into cone shapes by just barely overlapping the sides of each (make sure to give the glue time to dry!).

11. Using a skewer or pencil, roll the edges of the petals of the three larger pieces back, to give a more realistic petal shape.

12. Now we assemble the flower on the wire! I didn't use the bead, but if I had, I would have threaded the bead onto a length of wire, and then folded the wire down on either side (the bead should be in the center). Holding the wire in place, twist the bead to give it some stability. This will be your center and will go into the smallest, center petal. Because I didn't have any beads, I just twirled the wire around a pencil a few times.

13. Starting with the smallest petal, you can now add each layer onto the wire. I used a little glue on the base of each petal as I added them on to help secure them.

14. Once all the petals have been added, use the floral tape to secure the last petal to the wire. Here is where you can also use the bamboo skewers for stems. Wrap the wire around the skewer, and then wrap the whole stem in floral tape!

Paper Flowers

And there you have it! Each flower takes just a few minutes once you get the hang of it (whereas the Martha Stewart ones took me nearly 30 minutes each).

I think I'll be making these in mass over the next few months. The coffee filter versions can be dipped into watercolor paints or food coloring if you want to dye them. Alternatively, the scrapbook paper makes for festive flowers and I may obtain some paper in my wedding colors to mix into the bunches! The possibilities are endless.



  1. Very cool!! We bought our flowers wholesale and did the arrangements ourself. :) Spent about $500 total. There's a great black on millwood ave just in case you wanted any live flowers.

    1. Thank you for the tip! I know I will definitely need some, I'm just trying to minimize the damage! I will definitely check it out!

  2. At my wedding, all the guests (literally, all) told me how the food surpassed all expectations, since wedding food generally sucks. The brisket at NYC wedding venues was mind-blowing. My husband also had some custom choices for food that the chef easily made and incorporated.



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