Thanks everyone! They are definitely a labor of love – very time consuming – but I think super worth it!
What you’ll need: Watercolor paper (nothing too thick), scissors, acrylic paint of your choice, masking tape, hotglue, floral wire strips
First, I created a template with petal shapes. Mine were pretty freeform, but basically raindrop shaped. As I got larger in shapes, I made the base part of the drop wider. Trace the template onto the watercolor paper – you will want 5 petals for each of your 4 basic shapes per flower. Once all you petals are cut, go back in to the pase part of the petal and cut a small wave into it – this gives a more natural look to the petal.
You will also need to create a center/stamen. Reference your kindergarden days of making construction paper grass for this – cut a ~2.5″ long stip of watercolor paper (about 1-1.5″ tall) and cut thin ‘grass’ about 2/3 of the way down the length of the paper. Cut the last 1/3 of the stip off halfway down – this should line up just about with the bottom of the cuts you just made. It almost looks like a handled comb at this stage.
Next is the painting part. Regardless of what color you choose (for this example I’ll use the purple as in the front flower in my picture), you will want to use acrylic paint (no need to get anything terribly expensive) and water. Starting with the smallest petals – the centermost petals to your flower – you will want to coat both sides of the petal with slightly watered down acrylic. I mixed in just a few drops of water with my purple paint so that I could still get a little bit of variation within the petal.
Moving to the next size, you will add a little more water and paint both sides again. While the petal is still slightly wet, dry off your brush, dip it into pure acrylic paint, and gently brush ON ONE SIDE ONLY just around the edge of the petal. Wipe off your brush again and blend the color into the petal, creating a darker edge that fades into the rest of the petal. Don’t blend too much or you’ll start to ruin the paper.
You will repeat the same technique for the next two series of shapes, adding more and more water each time. (My outermost petals were barely colored, but you can make them as colorful as you like depending on what type of flower you’re making.)
Let everything dry – I normally gave it overnight just because of my schedule. Then you’ll need to slightly curl/wrinkle your petals. Don’t worry – you really can’t wrinkle them too much (unless you roll it up into a ball or something!) A good way to crinkle them is to put the base of the petal on the pad of your finger, and curl the edges up the sides of your finger. *For the petals with dark edges (everything but the smallest size), put the petal dark side down before curling so that the dark edges come up over the sides.
Now you will roll the center and start to attach the petals. Just roll the center up, starting with the side thats all grass, ending with the shorter end, securing everything together by wrapping a piece of masking tape around the bottom. Then take the rolled up center and press the cut end into the palm of your hand, bending the ‘grass’ and making it look more real.
Start with the smallest petal size and, with a dot of hot glue at the smallest end, attach them to the center, slightly overlapping the previous petal with the next. When you put a petal on, be sure to hold it for a few seconds to make sure it sticks. Once all 5 petals have been glued, gently bend back the petals so they appear slightly opened. *You will bend/manipulate them more once all petals are attached, but just do a little bit now to start to develop the shape and keep things even.*
Continue to glue and stick for each layer until all layers are attached. It should look sort-of like a big, upsidedown head of garlic.
The next step may seem a little, how should I say, scary or violent, but I promise its the best way to do it! Hold the flower in your hand, holding onto the end of the center, and bang the flower onto a clean table/hard surface. Don’t hit it hard, but use some force. This will open all the petals evenly, creating a fuller looking flower. You can then turn the flower back over and start playing – bending some petals out, curling them more, pushing them in – until they look just how you want them to look.
You may need to cut off the end of the center if you have some sticking out the back. I did it on all mine to make them tighter in the centerpiece. Either way, if you do want to get rid of the extra center, wait until the very end to chop it off. I just used scissors and it worked out fine.
The last step I did because I was making centerpieces with these and pushing them into foam. Take a 4″ length of floral wire (I found that the fabric/string covered long lengths worked better than the green wire wrapped on the spool), fold it in half, add a good amount of hot glue to the folded end, and insert it into the back of the flower through the center. Twirl 180 degrees to ensure that the hot glue gets all over the center and it holds.
If you dont want to do the wire, you can cover the end/back of the flower by taking fake green leaves off stems of foliage/other flowers you may be using, cutting them down as close to the actual ‘leaf’ part as you can, and hot glueing them to the back.
You can take this same basic concept to make flowers of all sizes – you can add on more layers of petals to make a larger flower, only do 2 layers to make more of a young bloom like I used for my branches. It’s totally up to you!
I hope this helps everyone! I’ve also included a few cell pics of the different sizes I made before putting them into the centerpiece for reference. Good luck! Let me know if anyone has any more questions… 🙂