What’s better than a beautiful spring bouquet? How about one that never wilts or needs a water change? We have nothing against fresh blooms, of course, but if they’re hard to come by this time of year where you live, we have just the craft project to help you channel spring.
Artist Jennifer Tran of Papetal has come out with Flowersmith, an inspiring book filled with crepe-paper flower tutorials for crafters across all skill levels. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself zooming in close to see the incredibly realistic details of these gorgeous paper blooms, especially the following magnolia, a true harbinger of spring.
“I am fascinated by the bold structure of the Magnolia grandiflora,” Tran tells us. “The flower center alone is a wonder. Before creating this flower, I examined a real model very closely. I dissected it, layer by layer, to fully understand its structure: how the center was formed, how the petals were distributed, and how attachments like leaves and buds were arranged. After the initial study, I would then experiment with different materials and methods of construction. I made several versions of the magnolia before I arrived at the one shown here in Flowersmith, and I’m quite happy with how it turned out.”
Tran is truly masterful with this medium, but she encourages readers to make these projects their own.
“As I often say to my Instagram followers, I have one guiding principle in flower making: flaunt your flaws,” she generously starts in her book. “You will find that even if you use the same templates as the person sitting next to you, your flowers will always be unique. As with natural flowers, no two paper flowers can ever be the same—and doesn’t it make life more exciting! Some flowers that you make will appear perfect to your eye, while others may seem to be missing some elements, but what they will all have in common is that they are uniquely yours. Embrace them!”
Who wouldn’t be motivated with that type of encouragement? Follow along Tran’s step-by-step tutorial below, and be sure to let us know how they turn out.
Makes 5–6 Magnolia Grandiflora, 30–40 cm (12–16 in)
SKILL LEVEL: Beginner
Dimensions are height x length; paper grain is vertical
- Bamboo skewer
- 60gsm (grams per square meter) crepe paper in white
- 60gsm crepe paper in dark green
- 60gsm crepe paper in light brown
- 60gsm crepe paper strip in dark green
- 180gsm crepe paper in lime pulp
- 60gsm crepe paper in salmon
- Glue stick
- 18-gauge wire
- Parafilm tape
- PVA glue
- Flower 16 templates (included below)
Cut four 50 x 13 cm (20 x 5 in) pieces of white paper. Using the glue stick, paste all four sheets together. Allow to dry.
Cut two 50 x 7 cm (20 x 2 3/4 in) pieces of dark-green paper. Paste the sheets together, using a minimal amount of glue to avoid discoloration. Allow to dry.
Cut two 50 x 7 cm (20 x 2 3/4 in) pieces of light-brown paper. Paste the sheets together, using a minimal amount of glue. Allow to dry.
Paste together the dried dark-green and light-brown sheets. Allow to dry.
- Cut three pieces of 18-gauge wire, each 30 cm (12 in) long. Bunch them together and wrap the entire length of the stem with parafilm tape. Wrap the stem with dark-green paper strip, securing with PVA glue.
- Cut one 2.5 x 20 cm (1 x 8 in) strip of lime-pulp paper. Gently stretch the strip of paper crosswise to increase the width to 30 cm (12 in). Fringe the top 1.5 cm (1/2 in) of the strip.
- Wrap the unfringed edge of the paper strip around one end of the stem, gradually moving downwards as you go, so that the fringe covers the top 2–2.5 cm (3/4–1 in) of the stem. Secure with parafilm tape.
Trim the fringe into a cone shape.
Cut one 2 x 20 cm (3/4 x 8 in) strip of salmon paper. Fringe the top 1 cm (1/2 in) of the strip.
- Wrap the unfringed edge of the salmon paper strip evenly around the base of the flower centre, securing with parafilm tape.
- Using the pasted white paper sheet, cut two petals with template A. Cup the petals. Attach the petals randomly around the base of the flower centre using parafilm tape.
Using the pasted white paper sheet, cut seven petals with template B. Use the edge cut-out technique on one or two petals. Cup all of the petals. Attach the petals around the base of the flower centre using parafilm tape.
Cover the base of the flower with dark-green paper strip, securing with PVA glue.
- Using the light-brown/dark-green pasted sheet, cut three leaves with template C. With the dark-green side facing up, create a fold down the centre of each leaf to make a spine, then curl gently.
- Using parafilm tape, attach the first leaf to the stem, 1 cm (1/2 in) below the base of the flower. Cover the leaf joint with dark-green paper strip.
- Attach the second leaf to the stem, 1 cm (1/2 in) below the first leaf. Cover the leaf joint with dark-green paper strip.
- Attach the third leaf to the stem, 13 cm (5 in) below the second leaf. Cover the leaf joint with dark-green paper strip.
- Gently bend the flower stem to create a natural look.
Excerpted with permission from Flowersmith by Jennifer Tran, published by Hardie Grant Books, February 2018.
Have you ever made flowers out of paper? Tell us about it below!