Flower Week: Tissue Paper Carnations
Today is the start of Flower Week on Folding Trees. Every weekday, I will be showcasing different types of paper flowers. You may be surprised at the variety of flowers you can make using different paper craft techniques! If you know of any amazing flower tutorials I should include in my round-up, let me know!
When I had the idea for Flower Week, I thought I would kick off the week with some flowers that I made myself. I wanted to try some tissue paper flowers, but when I followed various tutorials I found online, the flowers I made weren’t realistic enough for me. So, here’s what I came up with to rectify that:
A vase of pretty tissue paper carnations! Below is a close up of the flowers – aren’t they lovely?
Want to make your own? Keep reading to find out how!
This tutorial is Donationware – the instructions are available for free, but if you like it please consider sending me a donation (via my other website, PlanetJune) to show your appreciation:
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The complete instructions are available below, regardless of whether or not you choose to pay for them
You will need:
- Tissue paper
- 2 large paper clips
- Pipe cleaners (chenille stems) or floral wire
- Coloured marker pen
- Optional: floral wire, floral tape, wire cutters
You can make your carnations any size, but I found that a 3″ (7.5cm) circle gives a realistic-sized flower. Fold your tissue paper in half again and again until it is just larger than your circle size. I used a 20×24″ sheet of tissue paper, which let me cut 48 circles at once – enough for 4-5 carnations!
Find a suitably-sized circular container and draw around it with a pencil onto your folded tissue paper.
Start to cut out the circle, holding all the layers of tissue paper together. If you can’t cut through the whole thickness, try cutting half the layers at a time, then draw another circle to cut out the other half. I found that I could cut through 48 layers with no problem, as the tissue paper is so thin. You don’t have to cut too exactly, so don’t worry if some of the layers don’t come out as perfect circles. Use a large paper clip to help keep the layers together.
As you continue to cut, add a second paper clip on the opposite side of the circles to keep all the circles together.
This next step is the key to making the flowers look more realistic than standard tissue paper flowers. If you are in a hurry or making them with children, you could skip this step and still end up with nice flowers. It is a bit tricky and takes a few minutes to complete, but I think it’s worth it!
Take a marker pen with a complementary colour (a cheap kids’ pen is fine). A bold colour will give a more effective result. Use your non-writing hand to hold the edges of all the tissue-paper layers together, and use the side of the pen nib to begin to gently colour the edge of the circles. Take this slowly – if you press too hard, the tissue paper layers will separate. Colour a small section of the edge at a time, and go over each section a few times to ensure the colour is intense and the ink has saturated all the edges.
Continue to colour around the edge. When you are about halfway through, move the paper clips to areas you have already coloured, and fill in the gaps.
Note: I have switched to the white tissue paper for these photos as the coloured pen shows up more clearly!
..Erm, yes. You may well end up with a coloured finger by the time you have finished (see below) as you have to hold the papers close to the edge to keep them together while you colour them! Don’t worry – it’ll wash off
Remove the paper clips and select enough circles from the pile to make one flower. I used approx 12 circles per flower, but 8-10 circles would be fine.
Keep these circles together and poke two holes near the centre of the circles. I used the end of a pipe cleaner to do this, but if your pipe cleaners aren’t sharp enough you could use a large needle or similar.
Fold down about 1 inch of the pipe cleaner, and push the long end through one hole and the short end through the other hole.
Pull the ends all the way through, then twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together underneath the flower to keep all the circles together:
Now to make the petals. Separate the topmost circle and crumple it upwards from the centre. Scrunch up the paper randomly, but try to concentrate on the base of the petal (the centre of the circle) and leave the coloured edges alone.
Now repeat with each circle in turn. Crinkle each circle up individually, and try not to have the folds in the same place each time. You can see (below, right) how I am squeezing my fingers around the base of the petal each time I add a new circle. This stops the coloured petal edges from being creased into folds.
Keep scrunching… When all the circles have been crumpled up, you will end up with a lovely carnation like this:
And that’s it for the basic tutorial! If you are making these with children, you probably want to stop at this point. If you want to make the stems look more realistic, here are some ideas:
Make a double-headed stem by cutting down one pipe cleaner to half its length (use wire cutters for this) then twisting it together with another completed stem:
I wasn’t satisfied with my green furry caterpillar stems, so I converted them with some floral wires and green floral tape:
Cut the floral wire to the same length as your stem.
Holding the wire and pipe cleaner stem together, start to wrap the floral tape tightly around them. Start about 1″ down from the flower head (below, left) and wrap up the stem to the head. Then wrap all the way down the stem to the bottom. To wrap without the tape getting tangled up, hold the tape steady and at an angle to the stem with one hand (below, right), and use your other hand to twirl the stem around, winding the tape around itself as it goes.
The floral tape will stick to itself, so there is no need to use glue to fasten it down. Remember to stretch the end of the tape as you wrap the end of the stem, to help it to stick securely.
Make just one as a paper buttonhole. Make about a dozen, and you have a beautiful bouquet!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you make any tissue paper flowers, please add them to the Folding Trees Flickr group, and please consider leaving me a donation. Thanks!