How To: Paper Poppies

How To: Paper Poppies

Enjoy a fun project by making these beautiful paper poppies as an eye-catching and vibrant decoration in your home. Perfect for those summer months to brighten up your home.

paper poppies

Skill Level: Intermediate

Skills required (see the end of post):

  • Basics
  • Shaping

Note: Dimensions are height x length and Paper grain is vertical

You will need:

Tools:

  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Toothpick
  • Deckle edgers

Paper:

  • 60gsm crepe paper in light green
  • 60gsm crepe paper in yellow
  • 60gsm crepe paper in fluorescent orange
  • 180gsm crepe paper strip in ivy green
  • 60gsm crepe paper strip in light green

Other materials:

  • 18-gauge wire
  • Parafilm tape
  • Cotton wool
  • PVA glue
  • Ground turmeric
  • Flower 21 templates (see the end of post)

Method:

Stem

  1. 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.

Centre

  1. Cut one 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 in) square of light-green paper.
  2. Put a small amount of cotton wool around one end of the stem to form a ball. Cover the cotton wool ball with the light-green paper square. Use parafilm tape to secure the paper to the stem.
  3. Use a toothpick to apply PVA glue to the centre of the flower in the shape of a flower pistil. Gently dip the flower centre into ground turmeric, lightly tapping off any excess. Allow to dry completely.

paper poppies centre

Stamens

  1. Cut one 3 x 20 cm (1¼ x 8 in) strip of yellow paper. Gently stretch the piece of paper crosswise to increase the width to approximately 30 cm (12 in). Finely fringe the top 2 cm (¾ in) of the strip.
  1. Fold the fringed paper in half five times, until it resembles a tassel. Gently twist the fringe back and forth several times, then unwrap the paper strip completely.

paper poppies fringe

  1. Wrap the unfringed edge of the strip around the base of the flower centre, securing with PVA glue.
  1. Holding the stem, lightly dip the tips of the fringe into PVA glue, then into ground turmeric. Shake off any excess turmeric, then allow to dry.

paper poppies centre yellow

Petals

  1. Using fluorescent-orange paper, cut four petals with template A. Trim the top edge of each petal with deckle edgers.
  1. Scrunch each petal into a small ball, then open without stretching the paper.
  1. Layer 1: Gather and pinch the bottom 1 cm (½ in) of a petal, then attach it to the base of the flower centre with parafilm tape. Attach a second petal opposite the first petal.

paper poppies layer 1

  1. Layer 2: Attach the remaining two petals opposite each other, below layer 1.

paper poppies petals

  1. Starting from the base of the flower, wrap the entire length of the stem with ivy-green paper strip to thicken it, securing with PVA glue. Repeat once.
  1. Wrap the entire length of the stem with light-green paper strip, securing with PVA glue.
  1. Gently bend the stem to form an ‘S’ shape.

paper poppies stem

Bud

  1. Cut three pieces of wire, each 30 cm (12 in) long. Bunch them together and wrap the entire length of the stem with parafilm tape.
  1. Cut four 11 x 3 cm (4¼ x 1¼ in) pieces of light-green paper. Stack two of the pieces on top of each other. Twist once in the centre, then fold in half to create a twisted sepal. Repeat with the remaining pieces of paper to make another sepal. Cup both sepals.

paper poppies bud

  1. Take one sepal and pinch the bottom 1 cm (½ in), then attach the pinched end to the end of the stem using parafilm tape.
  1. Using fluorescent-orange paper, cut one petal with template B. Gather and pinch the bottom 1 cm (½ in) of the petal, then attach it to the end of the stem.
  1. Attach the second sepal opposite the first, adjusting the petal so that it protrudes from the bud.
  1. Starting from the base of the bud, wrap the entire length of the stem with ivy-green paper strip to thicken it, securing with PVA glue. Repeat once.
  1. Wrap the entire length of the stem with light-green paper strip, securing with PVA glue.
  1. Gently bend the stem to form an S shape.

paper poppies bud complete

Basics

  1. Stem wrapping with crepe paper strip: In this book, we use two different weights of crepe paper to make strips: 180gsm and 60gsm. The 180gsm paper strip is used to thicken the flower stem, whereas the 60gsm paper strip is used to wrap the stem for finishing. Note that these strips are not the same as the crepe paper ‘streamers’ you can buy from party suppliers, which are usually wider. When cutting strips from a roll of crepe paper, make sure you cut across the grain and maintain a consistent width. Keep the length of your working strip to a 30 cm (12 in) maximum, especially if you are new to flower making.To wrap a stem, first, apply a small amount of PVA glue to one end of the stem, then attach one end of the paper strip. Hold the top of the stem with your thumb and index finger, while pressing the length of the stem against your palm with your pinkie and ring fingers. Wrap the paper strip around the stem in a downward spiral, stretching the paper gently in the process. Wrap until the stem is completely covered, then cut away the excess paper. Secure the end of the strip with PVA glue.
  2. Stem wrapping with tape: I prefer to use parafilm tape rather than florist tape, as parafilm tape is non-sticky and a lot easier to work with. Unless otherwise specified, the projects in this book use green parafilm tape. Both florist tape and parafilm tape adhere by stretching, so stretch gently as you go. If this is your first time working with these tapes, it is best to cut them into short working strips of 20–25 cm (8–10 in). To wrap a stem, first, cover the top of the stem with tape. Hold the top of the stem with your thumb and index finger, while pressing the length of the stem against your palm with your pinkie and ring fingers. Wrap the tape around the stem in a downward spiral, stretching the tape gently in the process. Wrap until the stem is completely covered, then tear off the excess tape. To secure the end of the tape, gently apply pressure around the bottom of the stem. This technique is the most essential and challenging skill in flower making, so allow yourself plenty of time to practise. Once you have mastered this method, flower making will be a breeze.
  3. Attaching petals/leaves with tape: Use your thumb and index finger to secure the petal or leaf between the wire stem and the parafilm tape. Gently stretch the tape with your other hand, while wrapping the tape around the stem once. Tear off the excess tape, then apply pressure to secure the tape to the stem. Continue attaching the petals/leaves, tearing off the tape after each layer. If you are new to flower making, I recommend attaching one petal at a time. Once you are familiar with this technique, you can try securing multiple petals with one piece of tape.
  4. Attaching petals/leaves with PVA glue: Using a toothpick, dab a small amount of PVA glue onto the bottom 5–10 mm (¼–½ in) of the petal or leaf. Place the base of the petal/leaf against the stem and gently apply pressure to secure. (To get the dried glue off your fingers without having to constantly wash your hands, apply hand lotion, then wipe it off using a dry towel.)

Shaping

  1. Fringing: Fringing can be done using fringing scissors or normal scissors. I recommend using normal scissors, as you will have more control over the shape and size of the fringe. Always cut along the grain when fringing.
  2. Ruffling: Hold the top edge of the petal between both of your thumbs and index fingers. Gently stretch the paper crosswise in small increments.

Poppy Template:

 

Flowersmith by Jennifer Tram (Hardie Grant, £16.99) Photography © Jennifer Tran

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