9/12 Real Bride Kimberly: Flower Power – A Journey in Paper Flower Making

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One of the trends I immediately fell in love with on Pinterest was the paper flower. I thought they were beautiful and were a great way to cut down on floral costs. So, after pouring over hundreds of pictures online, I decided that I wanted to use paper flowers to decorate the wedding arch and the sweetheart table backdrop. I am toying with the idea of using them to create a selfie-station as well, but I am still undecided.

To be sure that I wasn’t biting off more than I could chew with this project, I decided to have a trial run. I wanted to make sure that:

  1. I was skilled enough to make them, I didn’t want to commit myself to something that was beyond my skill level.
  2. The time and stress involved in making the flowers were worth the savings. If I’m going to be up all hours of the night stressed out, it might be worth it to buy them ready made.

So, this week I decided to embark upon my flower-making journey with a classic flower.

A rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet.

Now, normally I am not a fan of roses. Don’t get me wrong, they are pretty; but I prefer calla lilies, orchids, and peonies. However, I think roses transform perfectly into paper and would look gorgeous on my arch and backdrop. So, once I’d chosen the rose, I searched online for a template and tutorials on how to make them. During my search, I came across Pearl’s Crafts on You Tube. The rose that I saw her make in her videos were exactly what I was looking for. She also had some other flowers that I thought would be perfect for what I was planning for my wedding.

After looking through the comments, I discovered that she sells the templates for the flowers that she makes. So, I emailed her with a few questions including how much the templates were, and how and when would I receive them. Judy got back to me right away and was very sweet and helpful. Her templates normally run $13, which I though was reasonable. However, fate was smiling down on me that day, and she told me she was running a sale. So, I got the rose template plus three other templates for $25. And, the rose template includes a small, medium, and large version, so that was a great bonus.

Once I had the files, I printed the templates on 65 lb cardstock and mentally prepared myself for an evening of tracing, cutting and gluing.

No tools, no problem. Well… maybe it’s a little problem.

I knew from watching the videos, and from speaking with her that Judy used a cameo silhouette to cut out her petals. My sister has a Cricut, a similar machine, and she offered to let me borrow it whenever I needed it. Work was hectic this week, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to learn how to use the Cricut, as well as work on the rose. So, I decided to trace and cut the petals out by hand with scissors. I didn’t think it would be a big deal to cut out some petals. WRONG! By the time I got done cutting everything, my hand was killing me. I took a little break to massage my sore hand and kept on pushing.

Another tool that I was missing was the bone folder, which Judy uses to curl the petals of the flower. Now, she provides alternative methods of curling the paper, but I decided that I wanted to buy the tool. It wasn’t expensive, and I had a 40% off coupon for Michaels. (I love Michaels and their 40% off coupons.) Once again, I was too busy and unable to purchase the tool in time to make the rose. Rest assured, that I will be visiting Michaels before the weekend is out and my coupon expires.

After some moaning and groaning, I traced and cut out the twenty-six petals that are needed to make the rose. Now I was finally ready to start gluing

Petal power and folding finesse.

Once the petals were cut and folded, I glued four of the small petals together into a t-shape. Once I had two t-shapes, I began to roll and glue the petals together to make a cone. This would become the center bud of the flower. My bud didn’t come out exactly how I wanted, so I was a little discouraged. But, I continued to fold away until I was finished in the hopes that the finished product wouldn’t look so bad. Needless to say I wasn’t a happy camper at this point.

You catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

Next, I began to glue the twelve medium petals to the underside of the bud, two at a time. Once each petal was attached, I would bring the edges toward the bud and glue them down. This was kind of tricky as I didn’t want to have any ugly folds or ripped paper. I discovered that if I tried to force the paper where I wanted it to go, it would not obey. However, if I let it fold naturally it would look much nicer and give me less trouble. If you are kind to your paper, your paper will be kind to you.

Would you look at that, this paper is starting to become identifiable.

Once I got about halfway through gluing the medium petals, I could see the rose start to take shape, and I began to get excited. For the first time, I felt like maybe this was doable. Maybe I could make the beautiful flowers that I had seen on Pearl’s Crafts or Pinterest. At one point I got up from the kitchen to show my fiance my work. I felt like a little kid showing their dad what they made in art class that day, but I didn’t care. I was proud of myself, damn it!

The final step was to glue the six large petals. The petals were glued down side-by-side, one over-lapping the other to give the rose a finished look. Once I’d done five of them, I looked at my rose and I felt that the last petal wasn’t needed. I placed it on the flower, but it made the rose look uneven, so I left it off.

I earned my paper rose wings today. Yay! Now, somebody get me a drink.

I started making the rose at 9:00 P.M. I finished just after midnight. Yes, that was three hours of my life tracing, cutting, folding and gluing a single paper rose. Now, during that time I was also watching the tutorial, massaging my aching hands, and showing off my masterpiece. I’m sure once I get comfortable with the process it won’t take me so long. Plus, I’ll have the Cricut, so hopefully that will save me some time.  Having the bone folder will also save me some time as rolling the paper with a glue stick to curl the petals was awkward and time-consuming.

And the verdict is in…

Am I skilled enough to make the paper flowers on my own? YES. It was easier to make than it looked. Yes, I had some ugly fold lines, and I ripped the tip of a petal, but you can’t tell. The flower looks beautiful if I do say so myself. And I do.

Is making the flowers myself to save money worth the time, effort, and stress that goes into creating them? YES. I am confident that I can significantly cut down on the amount of time it takes to make the flowers. And, making the flower wasn’t particularly stressful. Even though it took me three hours from beginning to end, it didn’t feel that long. I can definitely see myself making paper flowers for other events. All in all, it was a good experience, and I am excited to continue learning and to start building up my paper flower stock pile. Full steam ahead!

Next up, the dahlia. Wish me luck!