Searching for Inspiration

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

So last week I hopped onto the no-fresh-flowers train, but that doesn’t mean I’m anti-floral in general. I’m pretty adept at making pretty paper flowers already (and ribbon ones, too), now I just need to figure out what kinds, colors, and configurations to put them into!

Screenshot of my Floral Alternatives Board

Some of the many floral alternatives I’ve pinned while planning.

The up-side to non-fresh-flowers is you can come up with pretty much any color and shape combinations you can dream up. But that also means there’s a LOT of options to choose from, and that can be kind of a down-side at the same time.

While I like browsing wedding magazines for dresses and other ideas, the Internet is the best for floral inspiration. And add in a tool like Pinterest and you’ve got it made.

my wedding flowers pin-board

My Wedding Flowers Board

Unfortunately, when it comes to bouquet ideas, I’m not liking much of what I’m seeing. I’m even wondering if I want to carry a bouquet or anything else down the aisle. The sheaf design in the upper right corner is, so far, my favorite, but it’s still not a sure thing yet.

Moving on to other spots ripe for decorating, we’ve got aisle decorations and centerpieces. As to the former, hanging mason jars seem to be the most photographed, shared, and general thing going around and I couldn’t care less. Mason jars are great for many things, I’ve even used them in party decorations before, but I don’t see them making an appearance at our wedding.

Instead I’ve got something cooking in my head using lattice and wine bottles (of course) with paper flowers. The centerpieces are stumping me, too. Everything is either too tall, too round, too sparse, or too boring.

While I know there’s still plenty of places to look for a spark of inspiration, everything just looks like so much of the same these days, and nothing that I’m really dying to diy.

Pretty Book and Flower Icon

Anyone else having a Goldilocks moment trying to envision their decorations–floral or otherwise?

Paper Petals, Part 2

64 Arts

Tuesday we looked at two ways to make roses from a single length of ribbon or paper. Today we’re going to go strictly paper and add a few more steps. But look at the results!

Paper Roses

Paper Roses

A reminder of the supply list from the last post:

  • Paper
  • Scissors or craft punches
  • Bobby Pin
  • Glue

I found this kit on clearance at Marshall’s a couple of weeks ago to make a gorgeous crepe paper bouquet (it’s also from Martha Stewart, by the way). I opened the kit, preparing to be amazed at some complex project at hand. Do you know the big secret?


Yup. The petals are all hearts, which if you think about it, makes perfect sense. Petals are sort of teardrop shapes, two together make a heart. So, while, sure, having a kit is great, you can totally do this without even paying $5 for this kit (much less the $10 they originally wanted for it). And, since we’re dealing with basic shapes, here, I don’t think I’m really giving away any trade secrets, you know?

Start with the Hearts

Start with the Hearts

Start with a bunch of heart shapes. If you’ve got a craft punch this would be a great use for it, otherwise trace and cut with scissors or just freehand some. I’ll bet they’ll look even more realistic if hand-cut as opposed to identical pieces. Still, if you don’t trust yourself to cut without a net, go for the uniform, it’s okay.
For each of the hearts you want to curl the curved edges a bit. You can use a skewer or whatever but I found that a bobby pin (used similar to a quilling tool) makes this step SO simple: slide the bobby pin over the tip of the heart/petal, roll away from you, slide it out–it’s like a curling iron for paper.

Do this to all of your hearts and then start assembling them.

Curling the Petals

  Curling the Petals

A Bud from a Single Heart

A Bud from a Single Heart

The first heart creates the bud and will wrap around itself a couple of times to make a tight center. If you want to have stems for these flowers, wrap this first petal around a pipe cleaner or piece of wire. Dab a little glue on the last flap to fold over and press to secure.
Add more hearts by overlapping the edge of the previous one and continuing to wrap in the same direction until you run out of hearts or your rose is the size you want. A small rosebud will look very nice with only 3 hearts. The fuller flowers used 15 hearts each.

Paper Rose--15 petals

Paper Rose--15 petals

Experiment with different types of paper–I’ve used some shiny tissue paper, banana paper as well as some gorgeous handmade paper from the local art store to make the roses in the opening picture. The handmade paper is my favorite–it looks so much heavier and full, even in that bright turquoise.

Wired, they’d make a lovely arrangement or package tie or could be added to a headband or hair clip. Make enough of them and cover a wreath form (attach with hot glue) for a centerpiece or door hanging (just keep it out of the weather).

Want one more way to while away an afternoon making very cute things out of paper and not much else? Check out this Origami Paper Roses Tutorial from Housewife Eclectic. They could also pass for tulips, too!

How many roses will you make, today?

4, 5 and 6-fold ribbon roses

Paper Petals, Part 1

64 Arts

Picture this. You’re in the mood to make something floral but there’s a few impediments to your creative zen:

  • You possess neither a green thumb nor a neighbor’s garden from which to pilfer.
  • Your craft room comes up shy in the silk flower department.
  • It’s way too late to go to the craft store (or you don’t want to spend a lot of money or just don’t want to get dressed to go out–I know, I’ve been there).

What do you do?

Do you have

  • Papers or ribbons?
  • Scissors or craft punches?
  • Glue or tape?
  • A bobby pin (optional, but helpful)?

Why, then, you can make your own flowers! And who knows, you might find making them more fun than your original idea.

Ribbon Roses 1

All you need for these first two techniques is some 1-inch ribbon (fabric or paper) and scissors. Needle and thread wouldn’t hurt but it’s not absolutely required just yet.

Several years ago, probably more like over a decade, I learned how to make ribbon roses thanks to an episode of Martha Stewart’s show. (I was in my Martha phase, then. But after seeing her do a kitchen segment with dirt under her nails my enthusiasm began to seriously wane. That many people around, a camera close-upping on your hands, and you don’t think it’s important to clean up a bit? tsk tsk)

I had brought work home with me, including my adding machine, and had scads of used adding machine tape, so practiced with that. Turns out, adding machine tape makes spectacular practice ribbon! Those roses lasted ages, sitting on the front counter at the office, and I’ve never forgotten the technique.

It’s a series of 4 simple folds, each a 90-degree angle and leaving a little space between the corners creates a hole in the center of the square. For paper you can crease the folds and make life easier on yourself, the same with wired ribbon. Non-wired (aka floppy) ribbon just has to be handled a bit more carefully. The pins in the below pictures are just to leave my hands free to work the camera, once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to whip through these flowers with just your fingers in no time flat.

Ribbon Roses, Steps 1-4

Ribbon Roses, Steps 1-4

When you reach the end of your ribbon (or you think you’ve folded enough–better to err on the side of extra folds and unravel some at the back of an over-full flower than not have enough), thread the end of the ribbon through the small hole in the center (this is the one part that’s easier with ribbon than paper), and twist the ribbon as you pull to create the center bud. Continue to twist more than you pull, rotating the petals around the center bud, creating that offset look that makes it look more flower-like, less square. Tie off the tails at the base of the flower and then arrange the petals the way you want them.

Ribbon Roses, Steps 5-8

Ribbon Roses, Steps 5-8

You can also play with the angle of the folds for different finished flower effects.

4, 5 and 6-fold ribbon roses

4, 5 and 6-fold Ribbon Roses

As you can see, I’ve tacked them to this yoga block (not like it was being used for anything else) with a pearl-headed corsage pin. For more permanent use and any sort of application where they’re going to get a fair amount of moving around (clothing or accessories), take a needle and matching thread to secure the layers of petals, hiding the stitches among the folds.

The 4-fold rose likes to return to it’s squarish roots while the 5-point (fold into a pentagram, 5 72-degree angles for the precision-minded) looks the most rose-like to me. The 6-fold rose (hexagram or 6 60-degree angles) is pretty, yes, but even I had to start over a couple of times and finally placed it on the yoga block so I could fold with one hand and hold down with the other–rotating with each turn was not working. It is pretty, though.

But that’s not the only way to fold a flower.

Ribbon Roses 2

Going back to our garland knot-guru, Nimibirla, here’s another way of forming delicate ribbon roses for any number of uses.

You can certainly make these flowers with only one ribbon, but the two together are not only beautiful, they make the technique easier to see. If you’re only using one ribbon you may not need to stitch as many times as she shows.

Come back Thursday for the third way to make your house bloom with little to no cost and no green thumb needed.

Are you reaching for your ribbon, yet?