Making flowers out of coffee filters or tissue is nothing new, but I’ve been meaning to try my hand at it for quite sometime. And when I say ‘try my hand’, I mean ‘try my hand’:
Wear gloves. Learn from my mistakes.
Of all the hundreds of tutorials out there on this, I landed on the one from Rebecca at The Crafted Sparrow. I liked this one. So I did it. :-) Honestly, she does a really bang-up job of laying out the tutorial, so I highly recommend you head over and follow her instructions–but I will muddle through mine just the same! Because I am a professional muddler.
I began with pretty simple supplies: scissors, large white coffee filters, thin craft wire, floral tape, hot glue, and whatever color food coloring you are looking to do. I wanted RED. Super-saturated red. We’ll get to that later.
Now settle in for some busywork…depending on how many flowers you want to make, there is quite a bit of coffee-filter cutting to be done. I obviously wanted a lot of flowers, so I kind of hunkered down a few nights in a row and cut filters while watching a lot of reality TV. It helps. I promise.
You’ll want to fold a single coffee filter in half, then in fourths, then again into eighths and cut the top of it into an arch (in order to make a scalloped edge). I even folded some to just fourths, and some as much as into sixteenths, because I wanted the ruffles of the flowers to be inconsistent (which feels more real to me).
For the center of every flower, I wanted some fringe, so I folded the coffee filters into eighths and then instead of just scalloping the top, I actually cut them down in length by about a quarter, and scalloped the edge. Then I cut the edge so that it had fringe.
Magic! I suddenly have a manicure.
A typical flower is going to be assembled from various pieces of these different-shaped filters–you can use any combination or repetition of any of the scalloped-edged pieces, with one fringe piece in the center.
A typical blossom is made up of about four pieces, but to make larger ones, sometimes I would use up to six, and to make smaller ones, sometimes I would only use one scalloped-edge piece and one center piece. There is no right or wrong amount here, and I strongly encourage you to make them various sizes–much more realistic-looking that way!
Now, take a small length of wire for your stem. Rebecca at The Crafted Sparrow suggested taking a pencil or a paintbrush or something of the sort and wrapping one end of the wire around this a few times to make a small circle as a sort of catch for the wire to not pull all the way through the coffee filters. I did this. Great idea. So once you have your wire loop, slide a fringed coffee filter piece on up the wire and mush it into a flower shape (again, look at the Rebecca’s tutorial, she did a better job of documenting this with the camera). I adhered it with a dot of hot glue. Then slide a scalloped coffee filter of your choosing up next. Mold it into a flower shape and adhere it with hot glue. Keep building until your flower makes you happy. If you want, at the end, you can wrap floral tape around the bottom to give it a finished look.
Now for the fun part…dyeing them! To get your desired color, you’re gonna have to mess around a little bit with your food coloring. Mix a few drops of food coloring with water in a bowl and test it out on your extra coffee filters. I wanted my flowers to be all varying shades of red, and so, to be honest, I hardly had any water mixed with mine at all–nearly straight food coloring. For some of them, I even added black food coloring to get that black-red color.
I recommend making several bowls full of varying shades of the same color, as this gives you a really realistic color scheme (flowers are gonna vary in color slightly from one to the next, right??). So play around with it! And…again…wear gloves.
I dipped my blooms fully into the mixture, making sure that every bit was soaked up with liquid. Then I set them, face down, on a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet to dry. Once dry, I went through and fluffed them up into the proper shape.
I went around and around with what I actually wanted to use these for–my intention was to make a Valentine’s Day centerpiece using up-cycled tin cans as vases. Long story short, I wasn’t super pleased with how it turned out:
Not the worst thing I’ve ever made, so I figured I’d share the photos anyways. Happy Valentine’s Day a week late!! LOL.
It was at this point that I realized what I really wanted out of these things was a big, lush centerpiece arrangement. So I dug out my big silver basin, and taped the top off into a grid (this is a great florist’s trick that helps support a mass of flowers-live or paper- in a wide-mouthed vessel. I used Scotch tape, which works fine, but clear floral tape works even better if you can get it because it is narrower, clearer, and has a stronger bond).
Make sure your vessel is completely dry when you apply the tape. I dried it off, but just before I took this photo, my sparkling water bottle exploded everywhere. Perfect.
Be sure to run a length of tape around the circumference of the vessel to pin down the grid tape edges:
It ain’t too purty but it keeps things secure and theoretically will be covered by the lushness of your arrangement.
I started by inserting a bunch of branches:
Next, I realized that the flimsy wire I made my peonies with was too flimsy, so I hot-glued each blossom to a piece of stiff, raffia-covered craft wire. Then I proceeded to shove them in amongst the branches.
Once you’ve got quite a few flowers in there, add a few more branches, and then keep adding flowers until the thing is overflowing.
I even hot-glued a couple of smaller blossoms to some of the branches for a little more drama:
So as much as this was supposed to be a Valentine’s Day project, I bumbled it enough that it didn’t quite turn out to be that. But that’s just between you and me.
Happy Valentine’s Day next year!!!