If you’ve ever read a Martha Stewart craft tutorial, you were probably left scratching your head, shouting obscenities, or punching your computer screen right where her little head shot shows up.
Martha’s tutorials sometimes focus heavily on pretty pictures, but are sometimes lacking in the instructions. Take this crepe paper flower tutorial, for instance, which my MOH and I tried out the other day:
Image via Martha Stewart
(As you may recall, all the flowers at my wedding will be made of paper because I’m a cheap masochist.) The tutorial instructs you to cut out petals with their template and shape them by stretching the crepe paper. This was all simple enough, and I got through these steps feeling like I could totally pwn good ol’ Martha in a paper flower match to the death. But when it came to attaching the petals to the stem, the instructions are weak sauce: “To attach petals to stamen, stretch floral tape slightly, then wrap it twice around stamen. Add petals, wrapping tape across base of each as you add it. Once petals are added, wrap tape around twice more, then wrap down along stem to anchor and to attach leaves.” But how exactly do you attach the petals with floral tape? In case you didn’t already know, floral tape really isn’t very sticky.
In fact, it’s the least sticky thing I’ve ever encountered that had the audacity to call itself “tape.”
Image via Bananalogic
Except maybe these little guys.
So let me back up and rewrite this bad boy, because once you get the hang of it, it really is quite a nice concept. It yields these lovely thangs:
But if you don’t understand Martha’s instructions, you’ll do one of these:
- Floral wire (mine is 18 inches long, and I’m planning on cutting it down to Martha’s recommended 12 inches.)
- Floral tape (it sucks @$$, but you need it)
- Crepe paper (the sheets, not streamers)
- Writing utensil
- Martha’s template
I bought my materials from Paper Mart because they’re hella cheap.
1) Print Martha’s templates from her site, and cut out the petal shape you want (we made roses and peonies, but she has carnations, dahlias, lilies, tulips, and more).
2) Trace the template onto your crepe paper as many times (or more times) as it tells you to—make sure the grain of the crepe paper is parallel to the petal template! For example, she suggests using 35 petals for the peony and 12 for the rose. I ended up liking the fuller roses better, so I used 24 petals. Then cut out your petals. This will take you a really long time.
There’s my MOH wielding her weapon of choice. Yes, that’s a Jason Wu shirt.
3) Shape your petals by grabbing them between your thumbs and pointer fingers and stretching the crepe paper out forming a concave shape (or convex, depending on what your point of reference is).
I spy Franzia and more paper flowers in the background!
Martha actually does have a good photo of this step:
Image via Martha Stewart
This is the only fun part of the whole process
4) Once you have all of your petals shaped, attach a stamen to your wire. There are a bunch of different stamens you can make, depending on what flower you choose, and Martha explains them all. They’re not hard, I promise.
5) Here’s the important part! Hold one of your petals up against the wire so the petal sort of wraps itself around it, pinching the bottom of the petal. Then wrap your floral tape around the base of the petal leaving some crepe paper hanging out the bottom.
6) Keep wrapping tape and adding petals as you wrap, stretching the tape as much as you can without ripping it. Here’s the key: think of the tape as a piece of string or ribbon that just happens to be a teeny tiny bit sticky. Don’t think of it as scotch tape or masking tape. Pretend it only works by the force of tension, not adhesive.
7) Once you have all of your petals attached, wrap the tape around a few more bazillion times, angling it downward until it covers up that ~centimeter of exposed paper.
That’s how it gets that nice, tapered look.
And you’re done!
It’ll take you a long time to even get one done, so if you’re planning on doing 5 bouquets worth like I am, you should start yesterday.
One thing I’m not pleased with is the yellow color. Paper Mart only sold 2 shades of yellow—this one, and a golden looking one that I don’t like. Where do you guys buy sheets of crepe paper? And what paper flower tutorials have you tried?
- Chicago, IL
- Editor for a Web Publishing Company
- Wedding Date:
- June 2012
- Bridges of Poplar Creek