How to Make Crepe Paper Flowers: The REAL Tutorial

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:

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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.”

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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:

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But if you don’t understand Martha’s instructions, you’ll do one of these:

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Materials:

  • 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)
  • Scissors
  • Writing utensil
  • Martha’s template

I bought my materials from Paper Mart because they’re hella cheap.

Instructions:

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.

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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).

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I spy Franzia and more paper flowers in the background!

Martha actually does have a good photo of this step:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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That’s how it gets that nice, tapered look.

And you’re done!

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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?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Unicycle

Location:
Chicago, IL
Wedding Date:
June 2012

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comments

  1. Member
    brittaful 263 posts, Helper bee @ 2:03 pm

    THANK YOU. i’ve had the stuff for crepe paper flowers for a while, but have been focusing my efforts on cardstock ones due to the use of glue over floral tape… i guess i’ll have to go ahead and give it a try :)

  2. Member
    mandyanne 51 posts, Worker bee @ 2:11 pm

    I’m also making these infuriating paper flowers from dear, dear Martha. I got my paper from Blumchen and Co. It took FOREVER to figure out where to buy the crepe paper sheets that were in a good variety of colors. We’re using them for centerpieces, so I still need to make approximately one bajillion of them.

  3. Member
    Hippos 1664 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:23 pm

    Try any party supply store or teacher store for more potential options on crepe paper.

  4. Member
    lerenard 297 posts, Helper bee @ 2:25 pm

    Wow, those look fabulous! I love the texture within the petals.

  5. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:33 pm

    Martha does have a knack for assuming you’re also a totes crafty goddess.

  6. Member
    AlliRae 462 posts, Helper bee @ 2:42 pm

    These are seriously the best paper flowers I have ever seen! So pretty!

  7. Member
    ostrich 2402 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:13 pm

    WOW! move over, martha..there’s a new craft diva in town! :)

  8. Member
    ConRtist 75 posts, Worker bee @ 4:16 pm

    They look fantastic :D Floral tape is super annoying but it does look good in the end. I’m making tissue paper flowers as opposed to crepe paper flowers and adding some origami kusudama flowers. Paper flowers are definitely the way to go… as long as you have the time and patience haha

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    AndSheLaughs, Guest @ 4:17 pm

    I’m making a whole bunch of crepe paper flowers! My favourites are poppies! I actually bought the tutorial and it WAS TOTALLY WORTH it! I bought the tutorial from thecrimsonpoppy.com. I also got my crepe paper from Blumchen and Co. They have a lot of colour choices!

  10. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 4:59 pm

    Great job on yours! It sucks that Miss Martha couldn’t explain herself better, but it doesn’t look like you need her silly tutorial anyway.

  11. Member
    trailmix 6663 posts, Bee Keeper @ 5:59 pm

    Those look amazing! One of my best friends is a photo editor at MS Weddings, I’ll tell her to pass the message along to the crafts department, haha!

  12. Member
    sugarbox 226 posts, Helper bee @ 9:25 pm

    This is a good idea and i will learn it .

  13. Member
    PaperBird28 34 posts, Newbee @ 8:55 am

    Thanks for this tutorial! I am doing all paper flowers at my wedding as well! I have seen some beautiful buds made from paper but most of the tutorials weren’t that good and therefore my results were just plain bad (and I consider myself a very crafty person)! I have mastered the coffee filter peony and am planning to use that flower for my wedding, but before I go full speed down that road I really want to try my hand at crepe paper flowers (something I’ve been wanting to do)! I’m super stoked to be able to use your instructions!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Lo, Guest @ 8:52 pm

    You may also want to try http://www.blumchen.com/index.html. The prices for crepe paper and shipping are pretty reasonable.

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Lo, Guest @ 8:53 pm

    I’m trying this and coffee filter roses.

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    anjel, Guest @ 5:45 am

    gud idea but i know an easier way…hihihi

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Anita, Guest @ 8:36 pm

    I made roses out of con shape coffee fliter for my wedding. Everyone loved them. My wedding center pieces where candle votive which I used beads and safety pins to make, also made my own keep sake which were lil basket fill with candy kisses made once again of beads and safety pins. I am now learning different kind of flowers to make which I enjoy doing. Thanks for the tips.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    Linda Todt, Guest @ 12:16 pm

    I’ve been researching paper roses and peonies for my daughter’s wedding, and discovered a wonderful website for beautiful shades of crepe papers as well as other unique craft supplies: go to http://www.castleintheair.biz to check out what they have.

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    Danielle, Guest @ 12:42 pm

    A great place to buy rolls of crepe paper is :

    http://Www.cartefini.com

    They have an amazing selection and you get a lot of crepe paper for a reasonable price. They also ship a lot faster than Blumchen co.

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Marcia Loftin, Guest @ 10:23 am

    many years ago when I was in high school we made roses out of crepe paper and they were very easy. the crepe paper was cut accross the grain about 3″ inches then folded into a roll 4″ so we had a pad 3X4 and thick. we then cut one end( the cut end) into a half circle, and opened the strip up. it will look like alot of scallops. Using your thumb you stretch the center of this scallop to shape the petals, the top will curl as a rose does. Do this to all the petals, then start at one end and roll it like a bud, squeezing it together at the bottom, and loosely gather the remaining petals around the bud till you have the desired size of rose you need. cut off and tie off the bottom with floral wire. Now you need the floral tape to cover the wire and to cover the stem you add at this time. pull the tape as you twirl the tape on the wire, it will stick to itself and will be much easier to handle.

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    cheryl, Guest @ 11:16 am

    How long before you wedding should you get started on a project like this? my wedding is 2 years away still, but I also don’t think i’ll use real flowers if I can avoid it. I’ve experimented with tissue paper pom poms (still trying to perfect that!) and cardstock hydrangea pomanders. These look lovely too, but if I wanted to incorporate them into centerpieces… how long should I wait?

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    Lo, Guest @ 1:11 pm

    I have been making coffee filters flower in my free time for months. I have been working on them alone. I am trying to make 200, for my wedding this October, and I started in May. I have about 87 finished so far. Mind you I am working on this alone, but if you had some help I am sure you could finish in no time.

  23. Member
    misspharmdee 36 posts, Newbee @ 3:18 pm

    Hi! I love your paper flowers! Most likely that’s what I’ll be doing when my time comes. I was wondering how far in advance did you make them before your wedding?

  24. Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 6:30 am

    this is an EXCELLENT tutorial.

  25. Member
    vintagefair 751 posts, Busy bee @ 6:57 am

    Thanks! I too am pretty cheap and will give almost any DIY item a go.. this was super helpful! I feel like i can make my bridesmaids bouquets and not flounder over the toughness of it all :)

  26. Member
    rwa078 16 posts, Newbee @ 12:51 pm

    Your flowers are beautiful. Thanks so much for the tutorial.

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    Samantha, Guest @ 7:56 am

    I’m going crazy because Martha’s paper flower templates now link to the Martha Stewart Weddings Facebook page instead of the actual pdfs!! I tried to improvise, but I’d reeally like those templates, any chance anyone has them saved and could attach them here?! I’m particularly looking for the continuous petal templates. Thanks!

  28. Guest Icon Guest
    Alison, Guest @ 1:39 pm

    @Samantha: @Samantha: @Samantha: @Samantha:
    Samantha,
    I have the templates but I am not sure how to upload them to this post. If you still need them, you can email me at abaxter@pegasusprogram.us

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