Introduction: Giant Paper Flowers
Flowers are a staple of celebrations, and what could be better than having giant beautiful flowers adorning your party or wedding venue? This Instructable provides the files and instructions for three different types of flowers that can be customized for your party needs. I’ve included .pdf, .svg, and .dxf files of the petal templates so that petals can be cut by hand, with a laser cutter or with a silhouette cameo or similar device. I’ve also included a .pdf, .svg and .dxf file of the cardboard bases I used for my flowers. Any scrap cardboard will do however, and laser cutting these bases is an additional optional step. If you choose to cut your cardboard with these files you must use a laser cutter, a Silhouette or Cricut cutter will not cut through 1/8th inch cardboard.
Step 1: Tool and Materials List
- Cardstock (one flower uses 13-15 8 1/2x 11 sheets depending on how you lay out your sheet)
- Hot glue
- 1/8th inch cardboard (standard box cardboard) cut into circles approximately 4 inches in diameter (one for each flower)
- Tissue paper or construction paper for centers (optional)
- Hot Glue Gun
- Vinyl cutter OR Laser Cutter OR Scissors*
*I used a laser cutter (60 watt Epilog Helix) for my flowers, but the files work just as well on a vinyl cutter like the Silhouette Cameo or Cricut. If you don’t have these tools but would like to use them you can find a fab lab or makerspace near you. If you want to cut these by hand you can, but make sure you allot enough time, cutting by hand will be VERY time consuming.
Step 2: Cut Out Your Petals and Bases
If you’re cutting the flowers by hand, print the templates on cardstock and cut out one of each type of petal for tracing. Trace the template over the cardstock you plan to use for your flowers and cut out 8 petals of each size.
If you’re using a cutting tool you’ll need 8 of each size of petal (small, medium and large) to make a full flower [if you choose to add a bud you’ll need four bud petals as well]. The petal templates are laid out on an 8 ½ x 11 image canvas, you will need to resize the canvas and lay out duplicates appropriate for your cutting tool. You can experiment using more or less petals as you get comfortable with the process. This tutorial will run through the basic assembly process which requires 8 of each petal and includes the additional optional bud.
Step 3: Roll the Petals
To make the petals look fuller, roll them gently in a tube starting at the point and moving toward the widest part of the petal. Unroll before gluing and the petals will be more curved and natural looking.
Step 4: Glue on the First of the Large Petals
Start with a cardboard disc and one large petal. Place a small dollop of hot glue close to the center of the cardboard disc and glue the petal on at the pointed end.
Place another small dollop of hot glue on the tip of the first petal and glue another large petal point in, on top of the first 180 degrees around the circle. The two flower petals should be overlapping slightly at the point and sticking out on opposite sides of the disc.
Step 5: Glue on the Remaining Large Petals
From here you can fill in the remaining large flower petals by moving in quarter increments clockwise from the first petal. Each time place a small dollop of glue on or near the point of the preceding petal. This will build up the center and keep the petals stuck together to prevent flapping and folding. If you need to you can add a dab of glue behind the petals on to the cardboard for additional stability.
Step 6: Add the Medium Petals
Return to the center of the disc with the glue gun. This time you’re going to use the medium sized petals. Again, roll them before you begin starting at the point and working toward the widest point of the petal.
Place a small dollop of glue on the center of the disc again, but now place the first medium petal slightly offset from the first large petal, so that they overlap but are not covering one another completely.
Attach the remaining medium petals following the same pattern as you did with the large ones.
Step 7: Small Petals
To finish, attach the small petals in the same pattern. Starting slightly offset from the medium petals.
When all the petals are attached you can add a center by crumpling up a piece of tissue paper or construction in a contrasting color and gluing it to the middle or you can add a bud. Instructions for adding a bud are in the next step.
Step 8: Optional Bud
If you choose to add a bud, roll four of the bud petals in the same color tightly.
Put a dab of glue on the tip of one petal inside the curl.
Attach the second petal at 180 degrees to the first.
Add the third and fourth petal in the same way. To attach the bud to the flower, add a dab of glue to the bottom of the bud and press firmly into the center of the flower.
Step 9: All Done!
You can experiment with different colors, different petal configurations/numbers and different shapes in the center.
Try folding your daisy petals down the center to have them look more like a Dahlia, or using less petals for the Rose and fanning them out farther to have it look like a poppy.
With these three simple shapes you can make several types of flowers. For a Mardis Gras look use bold bright cardstock but for something more subdued you can use all white or even pastels. The possible combinations are endless!