We were recently going through our archives and came across our DIY guide to crepe paper flower aisle markers from Eunice & Daniel's wedding. Crepe paper flowers have so many fabulous uses, that we thought you might like for us to re-post our instructions and templates here. As always, the quality of the project is only as good as the materials you use - we recommend German crepe paper, and our favorite source is Castle in the Air!
Basic Guide to Making Crepe Paper Flower Aisle Markers
The Grain of Crepe Paper The grain of crepe paper runs along the short side (following the creases). Generally, cut your petals so that they run with the grain of the paper so that they hold their form and can be stretched properly. That being said, sometimes you want a floppier response (for example, with some types of fringe for flower centers).
The grain direction is indicated on each template with arrows.
Making the Petals Note: Crepe paper flowers are very forgiving. Petal and leaf shapes do not need to be exact - the templates are a guide, but for the sake of speed you might consider cutting freehand, using the templates as a general guide to size and shape. Additionally, size the templates up or down, depending on the size of the flower you would like to create.
Paste the template onto a bit of card (cereal boxes or heavy weight card stock work well) and cut it out.
Never cut a single leaf or petal. Cut a few at a time. Cut a strip across the grain about 1/2" wider than the depth of the pattern you are using. Unfold the strip of crepe paper and, starting with the two ends together, refold three times for single crepe (you'll end up with eight thicknesses) or twice for duplex (4 thicknesses). Pin the template (with grain indication aligned to the grain of the paper) onto your paper and cut it out, cutting through all layers of the paper with sharp scissors.
Shaping the Petals
Fluting the Edges If you stretch the edge of the crepe paper, you will get a ruffled effect. Hold the edge of the petal between the thumbs and forefingers (your fingers will be close together, as you will be stretching several times along the edge of the petal) of both hands. Stretch the paper widthwise along the edge of the petal. Repeat as necessary.
Cupping to Shape Petals Hold either side of a petal with your thumbs and forefingers. Gradually stretch the entire width of the petal with both hands, using the thumbs to push into and cup the petal and the forefingers to stretch the paper away from the thumbs. This will give the petal a more dimensional shape - as you would see on a real rose petal. Experiment with cupping at the top, base or half way down.
Curling You can curl the crepe paper with the edge of a pair of scissors (as if you were curling ribbon) - drag the blade of the scissors along the grain to accomplish this.
Making Flower Centers
There are several techniques for making flower centers, depending on the look you are trying to achieve.
All flowers start with a ball center for something for the petals to attach to. Start with a small ball of scrap paper (size depends on the size of the flower you are making, but in general about the size of a spitball on up) and a square of crepe paper (around 1 1/2" or so - somewhat bigger for a larger flower). Apply a generous amount of white glue to one side (the wrong side, if there is one) of the crepe paper square). Bend the end of a piece of florist's wire, cut to your desired length.to form a small loop. Place the ball of paper at the end of the wire. Center the crepe paper square on the top of the ball, glue side down. Pull all four sides down to meet at the base of the ball and twist the paper around the wire stem.Cut a short (approx. 2") length of your 1/2" green strips (see Wrapping the Wire Stems) . Apply a bit of glue to the wrong side at one end. Attach to the base of the ball you have created at the end of your wire at wrap around the twisted base, straight around to begin with and then continuing down the wire at a slight diagonal. Continue past the base of the flower center for about 3/4". Cut the strip and apply glue to the inside of the end and attach securely to the florist's wire.
From here you can expand on the center by wrapping a strip of fringed paper or a calyx shape around the center (in the same way you attached the green strip) or adding sheath shapes cut from templates. To add sheath shapes, simply apply a bit of glue at the bottom of each sheath, and attach around the base of the center ball.
Fringing For a fringed center (as for a Poppy) cut the crepe paper into a strip across the grain at the required width. Stretch the strip fully for a fine fringe and less so for a coarse one. Fold the strip in half and cut with the grain, making the cuts as close together and as deep as necessary but always leaving 1/2" or more at the opposite end uncut.
Putting it all together To make a flower, first construct a flower center.
Pick a style of petal and attach your first petal by applying glue to the inside bottom edge and pressing it into place along the base of your flower center (the level at which you place the petal will determine how much of the center is showing. Attach the next petal so that it slightly overlaps the first. Continue this way until you are happy with the look of your flower.
With a little glue and a 1/2" strip of green crepe paper, wrap the base of the flower to cover any raw edges (see Wrapping the Wire Stems for technique).
Add some sheath shapes (optional) for a realistic base for your flower.
Wrapping the Wire Stems Additionally, have on hand 1/2" strips of green crepe paper cut across the grain. They should be strips long enough to wrap the length of your stems.
Stems are wrapped with these strips. Start the wrapping by putting a bit of glue over the flower base. Wrap the end of a strip around it 2 or 3 times very tightly. Then, with the long end of the strip in one hand and the wire in the other (held just above the winding strip), twirl the stem wire around and around while stretching the strip, guiding it diagonally and downward. When the end of the wire is reached, put a bit of glue on the end and continue to twist tightly. Cut off the end and affix with glue.
Note: In lieu of green crepe paper strips, you can also use green floral tape.
II. Crepe Paper Flower Aisle Markers
Crepe paper in various colors (for the flowers) that work with your palette and some crepe paper in green or floral tape for covering stems. Quantities depend on how many you are making, but one packet goes quite a long way. Duplex is my favorite (it is thicker and often two toned) for most flowers, but standard crepe paper works as well for a more delicate, unstructured flower. Mixing the two adds a nice depth.
- White glue
- Glue brush
- Florist's Wire
- 1 1/2" - 2" ribbon - about 18" per marker (we used vintage velvet ribbon)
How to: Using the templates, make a large quantity of flowers (this is a great project to do with friends). You will need 10-15 flowers per marker, three large and a variety of medium and small sizes. We mixed and matched centers and petal styles as well as scaling the templates up and down to get a mix of flower sizes.
Start with three larger flowers. Twist the stems together, then fold the stems out to the left and right and twist to create two "arms" that will later be joined in a loop that will give structure to your arrangement. Angle the flowers to create a nice central focal point. Add more large and small flowers to your arrangement, twisting their stems around the two arms. Use small flowers to fill in any gaps. When you are happy with your arrangement, make a loop with the arms, twist the ends together, and flatten so that they are hidden behind the flowers. Don't worry about how the back looks - no one will see it.
Cut an 18" piece of ribbon and trim ends at a diagonal or in a dragon tongue shape to prevent fraying. Fold the ribbon in half to form an inverted "V" shape. Position the ribbon behind your crepe paper flowers and pierce a small finishing nail through the wires of the flowers and then through ribbon. Nail into the end of a bench (be sure to get your vendor's permission in advance).
If attaching to the back of a chair, we've a length of 2" ribbon through the wires at the back of your flowers and then through the railing on the back of the chair; tie off using a square knot.