CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Spring and summer bring an abundance of fresh flowers, but blooms crafted out of paper can last all year long. Arranged in a vase, tucked into a wreath or plopped atop a wedding gift, paper flowers are an inexpensive way to add a touch of color and elegance to home decor or gift wrapping.
I found tutorials online for a range of paper flowers — roses, daisies, tulips and more — but settled on peonies for their lush but relatively unfussy shape. I tested three techniques that employ different types of paper: crepe paper, cardstock and coffee filters. All produced pretty results, but the cost and ease of execution varied quite a bit.
Here’s what I found, with each method rated from one to 10, with 10 indicating the least expensive, easiest and best results:
1. COFFEE FILTER METHOD
This technique was both inexpensive and easy, though it was a bit messier than the other two methods, and the resulting bloom looked more like an oversize carnation than a peony. Following instructions on a blog called Crafted Sparrow (http://bit.ly/1Wp2Xcd ), I folded and trimmed eight white coffee filters to create a scalloped edge. Floral wire is then threaded through the center of each filter, with a bit of glue to hold them in place. Green floral tape wrapped around the wire creates a stem, and the finished blooms can be dunked in diluted food coloring to dye them any desired color. That’s where things got a bit messy, and time-consuming, because the soggy petals take time to dry. But the technique does lend itself to experimenting with a range of colors for very little money.
1. CARDSTOCK METHOD
This method requires more prep work but the flower comes together fairly quickly. Kelly Wayment, who writes a blog called Finding Time to Create (http://bit.ly/1rVqzs1 ), provides a free template and tutorial for her paper peonies. One version of the template can be imported into software for the Silhouette digital cutting machine, which essentially functions like a printer that cuts shapes out of paper instead of printing.
I have a Silhouette, so this was an inexpensive project for me. For those who don’t have a digital cutting machine, Wayment provides a downloadable PDF file (find it in the comment section following her post). That file can be printed and the various petal shapes cut out with scissors by hand.
Once all the pieces are cut, the flower is formed by misting the paper with water to make it more pliable and bending the pieces into petal shapes. Small petals are wrapped around a pompom or bit of crumbled paper to form the center of the flower bud, and the other petals are layered around it and glued in place. The result is a fairly realistic flower, though the flat bottom does not lend itself to display on a stem. These flowers look best on a flat surface, such as the top of a gift.
1. CREPE PAPER METHOD
My only previous experience with crepe paper involved party streamers, but this technique uses sheets of much thicker paper that can be stretched and formed into very realistic petal shapes. I found a detailed video tutorial at a blog called Ash & Crafts (http://bit.ly/24LdkbS ), which made it easy to follow each step.
This technique was the most expensive, given the cost of ordering the roll of crepe paper online, but one roll would be enough to produce many flowers. Individual petals are cut out of the paper and glued around a floral wire stem. I had trouble making and adhering the leaves to my stem, and cutting and gluing each petal individually took some time. But the result is a surprisingly realistic and sturdy blossom.