Thursday, 4 June 2015

Crepe Paper Flowers

When I was in Taipei, I gleefully picked up few packs of crepe paper flowers at a bookstore. I could only find them from Martha Stewart in North America and it seemed like she has discontinued them. You can still find them on eBay, but they are quite expensive for a pack of extra heavy crepe paper, some glue, and wires. In fact, if you are in the States, it would be cheaper to just order the extra heavy crepe paper by itself and download the pattern from Matha Stewart's website.  Unfortunately for me, Canada doesn't seem to have any online retailers who offers the extra heavy crepe paper at a similar price as our counterparts in the States.

The beautiful end result 

When I moved in, I knew it was finally time to break these out and make some beautiful flowers. I do apologize in advance. As I was so excited to start everything, I didn't remember to take pictures at every step. I only took them as I remembered. So there will be discrepancy between the patterns as I remembered to take pictures at certain stage with one pattern and another stage with another pattern.

Each kit comes with pre-cut heavy crepe paper, leaves, calyxes, floral wire and tape, just enough for three flowers. This is different from the Martha Stewart kits where you get a pattern and you have to do the manual work of cutting everything beforehand. It also does not include any glue, unlike the Martha Stewart kits. I find the exclusion of glue to be more difficult but a less sticky situation as the papers tend to get really wet when you apply glue and it tends to seep through to the other side and onto our hands.

The first step is to stretch out the paper, against the grain. Each of the petal is cut along the grain, such that you can easily stretch it out. I have attempted stretching out those cut against the grain. While it still does work, there is less of a stretch and the petals looks just a little weird. By stretching the petals out, you are essentially shaping the body of the petals. So you want to be careful with this step because once you stretched out the crepe paper, you can't push it back in. I like to stretch out one side to a curve I like then replicate it on the other side.

After you are done, it's time to curl the petals! They recommend doing it with a pen or something in a tubular shape. All you have to do is wrap the edges around the tubular shape and roll both items down. This will create a curl on your petal. You can adjust this step to how much you want the petals to be shaped.

Some flowers, like the poppy, has a paper and paper stamen. With paper stamens, once again, I am glad the manufacturer did the work for me, all you have to do is fold it down, and start wrapping against the floral wire. I should mention that you need to create a small loop on the end of the floral wire before you wrap the paper stamen around it. This ensures the wire will not fall out after you wrapped everything around it, kind of like an anchor. Once you roll the stamen around the wire, use a small piece of floral tape to secure it in place. Then you can have the fun of lightly folding each little strip to the sides to create a "pom pom".

Once all the petals are curled and the stamen is secured to the wire, it's time to put together the flower! The particular sets I got uses 3 petals for a single flower. If you do it freehand or follow Martha Stewart's kits, it uses more petals.

For these patterns, there are pre-cut holes in the center of each petal. All I had to do is poke the wire through and stack them. I also stick the calyx in so I don't have to let go once I have set the petals. Once I got them sitting where I liked them, I hold a piece of leave next to it and start wrapping the floral tape tightly against the bottom of the flower. Pinching it slightly to make sure I get all the layers and secure them into place. Once I am happy with it, I just wrap the tape down the floral wire to ensure it has a consistent color throughout.

Repeat the above process as much as you want and voila, a beauitful bouquet!

I ended up sticking the flowers in a bowl that used to house my Morimos until my parents threw them out during my move. I really like how it just brightens up my coffee table. I like these flowers since they do not wilt, needs no attention besides the occasional dusting. They look pretty darn close to the real thing and they last a long time. The original ones I made in 2008 are still sitting in my parents bathroom looking as lovely as the day I made them. So if you love having flowers in the house but can't afford the cost, this may be an alternative for you.


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