Introduction: Paper Flowers

I wanted to make a bouquet of paper flowers for my mother-in-law which were also child friendly to create. These flowers needed to last rather than be glorious for a brief moment in time. So I went hunting for paper flower instructions. There were so many fantastic origami and kusadama examples, and although I've made a few in my time, I didn't have time for this. I eventually came up with this modification of an idea I found while trawling the Internets.

  • Coloured paper - regular A4 sheets are great, preferably coloured on both sides
  • Straws - green if you can find them
  • PVA glue
  • Scissors
Choose coloured paper that will give your flower some punch - even full colour glossy magazine pages would work well. Your paper needs to be rectangular to allow for the cuts required.

Step 1: Cut Paper

Place both sheets of paper on top of each other. Cut both in half along the longest dimension. You will now have two sets of paper, enough to make two individual flowers.

Take one set of paper and cut from the bottom corner to the middle of the other side. It's important that you leave one long edge intact as you'll need this area to apply your glue to. The large piece is the one you'll be using.

Step 2: Fringing

With your set of paper still together, begin cutting strips into the diagonally cut side but NOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. Leave a 1cm strip along the straight edge to keep the paper intact. No need to measure, but if the guide helps, draw a pencil line at the 1cm mark to help you know where to stop cutting (good if you're asking children to do the cutting).

The finer the strips, the finer the "petals". Chunkier means fewer petals but also a more sparse looking flower. Somewhere in between is good.

Step 3: Glue and Roll

Separate the two pieces of paper and off set them slightly - about 4cms to the left and 5mm from the bottom. The bottom piece of paper will become the outside of your flower.

Apply glue to the uncut edge of the bottom piece of paper and stick the other piece of paper on top. Then apply glue to the top piece of paper too, again along the uncut edge.

Place the straw at the beginning of the smallest end of glued area and begin to roll up the paper. You will have to squeeze the paper onto the straw as you go and adjust your positioning as the rolled paper will try to take a wonky path. Aim to keep the bottom edge straight-ish.

When you get to the end, give it a good squish between your fingers (apply pressure for 10 seconds) to make sure the end of the paper holds.

Step 4: Unfurl

At this point your paper will be quite soggy with glue so take care not to pull too hard on the paper. It would be best to leave your flower to dry for a short time. This is a good time to go back and build your second flower (remember that second set of rectangles you cut from your A4 sheet?).

Once you're confident that your flower is held together, begin to open out the petals, always holding onto the glued base area. One at a time, working from the outside in, start to gently peel open the petals. You'll notice that because of the offset paper, the petals should unfurl somewhat randomly.

Step 5: The Bouquet

And there you have a finished flower!

Display as a bunch in a vase of their own, or combine them with other fake flowers to give an everlasting bouquet.

A lovely way to cheer up a room when fresh cut flowers are not available.

Experiment with different scissors to create unique edges, different thicknesses of paper and fringing widths, adding more layers for a fuller blossom and of course colour combinations.