CONCORD, N.H. -- Sure, a single stem tucked in a bud vase looks pretty alongside breakfast in bed, but why not go big this Mother's Day, with long-lasting, giant paper blossoms that can brighten up an entire room?
Fresh flowers are still fairly scarce where I live this time of year, but paper flowers know no season, and they won't wilt. Super sizing them ups the impact considerably, and they're actually easier to make than smaller-scale blooms with fiddly little petals. And depending on the colors and design, giant flowers can be used for gorgeous backdrops for weddings, showers, nursery decor and more. I even found tutorials for making stems that allow the flowers to stand up on their own, though I decided to skip that for now and focus on sticking them on the wall.
I tested three different methods of making oversize flowers to hang on the wall. While the techniques were similar, and each resulted in flowers that measured about 16 inches across, the biggest difference was in the materials: crepe paper, card stock and tissue paper. Here's what I found, with each method rated from 1 to 10, with 10 indicating the least expensive, easiest and best results:
Before I tried making a few small paper flowers a few years ago, my experience with crepe paper was limited to those cheap rolls of streamers you hang up for kids' birthday parties. This is a different kind of product, one that comes in large sheets or rolls and is thick and stretchy. I followed a tutorial on the website for Mercantile Craft Company that uses crepe paper, glue and a sturdy paper plate.
The easy-to-follow instructions call for cutting simple petal shapes out of a double layer of crepe paper, then gathering the bottoms together and gluing them to create a double petal. While I think it would be easier to use a stapler instead of glue at this step, it was not difficult, just time consuming. The petals are shaped by gently pulling the paper into a cupped shape, and then they are glued onto the plate in layers. The center of the flower features smaller bits of crepe paper arranged more at random, and a fringed piece in a contrasting color for the center. I was surprised to see that nearly an hour had passed by the time I finished my flower, but I expect that I would speed up if I was making more because I wouldn't be stopping to view the video of each step.
The result was easily my favorite, and everyone I showed it to agreed. It wasn't the cheapest, however. It took an entire 20-inch by 8-foot piece of crepe paper to make one flower, which cost about $3.50.
COST: 6. EASE: 8. RESULTS: 9
The JenniferMaker website is a wealth of crafting inspiration, particularly for paper flowers fashioned out of card stock. I chose the "Giant Winter Rose" tutorial because it most closely resembled the other flowers I was attempting, but the site also has instructions for sunflowers, peonies and more.
This technique involves cutting out individual petals and gluing them to a round card-stock base. I used my Silhouette cutting machine, but a Cricut machine also works, as would tracing and cutting free templates by hand. With the exception of the inner stamen piece, I think hand-cutting would be faster, since it took me about 40 minutes just to cut out all the various pieces using my machine.
Each petal is then shaped by rolling the edges with a spoon handle or similar object. The actual assembly went more quickly than I expected, though it was a bit tricky to maintain a round shape, and my flower ended up looking a bit more pointed around the edges than the example shown on the website.
I found packs of card stock on sale at my local craft store, so even though this took about 18 sheets, the materials cost less than $2 for one flower, making this a more affordable choice assuming you already have a cutting machine or are willing to cut the petals by hand.
COST: 7. EASE: 6. RESULTS: 7
The third flower I made was inspired by the decor site Design Sponge, which featured a tutorial written by a clothing company that had made giant tissue paper flowers for its advertising. While the instructions also involved making stems so the flowers could stand upright, I limited my efforts to the blossoms alone.
This tutorial was the least detailed of the three, since it gave no information about the size of the petals or how many to cut. That meant I had to guess based on the photos, which was a bit frustrating. Unlike the other two techniques that started with the outer petals and built inward, this one started with clutching the inner petals together like a bouquet and taping them together.
Gathering the petals together and taping them got a bit unwieldy, and my flower didn't turn out as ethereal as the examples shown on the website. But it probably used less than a dollar's worth of tissue paper, making this the most affordable option. Since it also didn't involve hot glue, this would be the easiest method to attempt with children, as well.
COST: 8. EASE: 5. RESULTS: 6