Six paper flowers

It got into my head that I needed to make some paper flowers. I don’t know why. But I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal because the Internet is a veritable smörgåsbord of craft tutorials, and all I had to do was fire up Lappy 5000 and pick one out.

About 300,000 search results later, I was no longer any more confident in my ability to make a paper flower than I was in my cat’s ability to retrieve his stupid mouse instead of staring at my hand after I throw it.

There were just too many choices and although I could compare the photos, they didn’t reflect (1) how good each tutorial was, (2) how closely my flower would resemble the picture, or (3) which flowers would look nice together. It was terribly overwhelming. I mean, what was I supposed to do, try every single one?

Then again, I thought, if anyone is supposed to try every single one, it might as well be me. At least I could take notes and share them with the world, perhaps saving some other hapless soul from the same overwh…um, overwhelmption. (What’s the right word?) I could make it a mission!

After some consideration, I decided that 300,000 might be a few too many to take on, so I narrowed it down to the six most promising and got to work.

Once I was all finished, I selected the ones that looked the nicest together and made a little arrangement. The two that I left out are also nice, but look best on their own and with others of their kind.

Wow, that sounded kind of racist, didn’t it? I mean, I know I’m just talking about flowers, but… man. Language is crazy. All right, moving on.

Here are the six tutorials I chose and the stunning photographs that originally accompanied them. Each of the original tutorial authors is amazing and generous for sharing them.

Six Great Paper Flower Tutorials

  1. Cupcake liner flowers from Intimate Weddings.
  2. Parchment flowers from Etsy’s How-Tuesday. I got to see these in all their glory this summer, when my friend Pura’s mom made thousands of them of out of colored vellum for Pura’s wedding.
  3. Simple paper flowers, from Creature Comforts
  4. Lovely Kusudama flowers from Folding Trees
  5. Tissue paper carnations, also from Folding Trees
  6. Tissue paper roses from My Juice Cup

And here are the finished flowers, so you can compare my clumsy novice versions with the expert originals, along with my notes.

  1. The cupcake liner flower tutorial is presented beautifully, with all the details you could need. I made some with standard cupcake papers and some with mini (pictured in vase). For me, the only sticky part was crinkling each layer just right without allowing it to follow the curves of the layer before it, especially once I got to the outer layers. It helped to hold all the finished layers tightly closed in my other hand, so the layer I was working on couldn’t possibly know what the previous layer looked like. Of course, cupcake liners have a reputation for being among the cleverest of kitchen-related papers, and a couple of times, they figured it out anyway.
  2. You can’t ask for anything clearer than a step-by-step video tutorial like the one Etsy gave us for these vellum flowers. Cutting out the circles is a pain, so I made one 3″ flower (as recommended), then switched to 1.5″ because that’s how big my circle punch is. Crimping the edges of the petals takes some practice, and getting the wire to hold firmly is tough if you don’t use floral tape, which I didn’t. (Pura’s mom said the floral tape made her stems too sticky, and she managed to make thousands of flowers for the wedding without it, so I wasn’t about to get suckered into the floral tape like a suckery old sucker.)
  3. What could be easier than cutting a spiral and rolling it up? The simple paper flower looks great, and definitely has the best payback-to-effort ratio. Trouble is, the  tutorial doesn’t explain how to attach the finished flower to a stem. For mine, I made a long, narrow loop with a piece of floral wire, caught the inner petals inside the loop, then used the loose end of the loop to make a little spiral-shaped nest underneath the flower. Not perfect, but it held up pretty well.
  4. Kusudama flowers are a lot of work. Lots of pieces, lots of folding, lots of gluing, lots of tricky construction. But conceptually, they’re pretty simple. Once you’ve got the Folding Trees tutorial all you need is a lot of patience. To make mine in the scale you see in the vase (similar to mini cupcake flowers), I started with 4″ squres. To attach the flower to a stem, I then cut six pieces of floral wire, made a small loop at the end of each one, threaded one through each of the six flower sections, and twisted them together at the bottom. It’s way more wire than you need to hold up a little flower. On the other hand, it sure is secure.
  5. Since the cupcake liner flowers are carnations and the tissue paper carnations are carnations, it’s hard to avoid comparing them. Their construction is similar, but these tissue paper carnations are slightly more complex to make (since you have to cut out the circles yourself). But they have pretty colors on the edges, which looks quite realistic when done correctly. Unfortunately, mine looked kind of dingy because I wasn’t able to find white tissue paper as bright as my white cupcake liners, so if you’re thinking of including both in a single arrangement, it’s probably best to do them in a different color.
  6. The paper rose is was the toughest flower of the six, in my opinion, although the tutorial is deceptively glib. I had a hard time making mine look anything like the picture. I kept wrapping and unwrapping and rewrapping and throwing away paper and starting over. To be fair, it’s an easyconcept, and there isn’t much more the tutorial could’ve included; it just takes a certain dexterity, I suppose. So if you’ve got the right touch (and/or enough patience), you can make this something beautiful.

That’s all there is to it. If I were going to rank them from easiest to hardest, I’d do it like this:

  1. Simple paper flower (3)
  2. Cupcake liner flower (1)
  3. Vellum flower (2)
  4. Paper rose (6)
  5. Tissue paper carnation (5)
  6. Kusudama flower (4)

And in order of impressiveness and elegance, based on the reactions of people I know:

  1. Kusudama flower (4)
  2. Vellum flower (2)
  3. Simple paper flower (3)
  4. Cupcake liner flower (1)
  5. Tissue paper carnation (5)
  6. Paper rose (6)

Hope that helps. Of course, you’re going to make the flowers you like best, but at least you’ll have an idea of what you should expect. So go forth! Fold paper!

Kristina Ackerman

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer, living and DIYing with her fella and their little fella in a cute old house in Atlanta, GA, USA.

  • Your talent and creativity really annoy me! ;)

    • sigrid

      hehe be annoyed

  • John

    Having seen them in person, I think the Kusudama flower (4) is visually interesting, but the Tissue paper carnation (5) has the greatest potential for realism. I also very much like the Cupcake liner flower (1). From a distance it would fool you, but up close I realized what it is made from and was impressed at the creativity.

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  • This is fabulous! I was just thinking I needed to make some paper flowers, too.

  • Harmony

    Thank you! This is awesome. I am glad I stumbled upon it. I had actually already found a couple of these on my own, but the way you tried and reviewed them all and put all the links here is so helpful! And I love your turquoise and white combination and the way yours turned out. The spiral flower I actually found difficult. first of all, a 4″ square made a very tiny flower, is that really the size you did? and secondly I also had a really tricky time trying to attach it to a wire, maybe you could post a photo of how you did that part. Thanks again!

  • I love the way you put them together. They are all gorgeous! Thanks for posting your review and tips.

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  • targuia

    You’re flowers are better than the original ones, the blue is awesome
    Thank’s for the kindness of putting the tutos,

  • jenn

    what kind of paper did you use for the kusudama flowers?

    • I used cardstock, but I don’t recommend it for tiny flowers, because it’s very hard to adhere into place. Any paper just on the heavier side of printer paper is fine, and I’ve made lovely ones out of regular printer paper even, so you can’t really go wrong. The thicker the paper, though, the rounder and smoother the petals will stay.

  • WOW!!! I LOVE THESE!!! Thanks for sharing your creativity and the tutorials! I’m going to work on these straight away!

  • Oh my God, these are AMAZING! Your color choices really enhance the beauty! I’m so glad I “stumbled upon” your work. Seriously!

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  • Pkae

    Wow! I am totally impressed that you did all that investigation! Have you considered becoming a reporter (of things non craft; or hey, you could probably start your own site just doing this!)

    Hmmm, having not yet gone to your site, maybe you already do this!?!

    At any rate, great job! I also have been looking and trying this and that flower (from paper or fabric) so you have done a ton of work for me ;-) I will definately be trying 2 or 3 myself!

    P.S. I have seen many cupcake paper flowers and yours looks better than most the tuts do!

  • I just found your article via StumbleUpon and had to smile since I had the same problem quite a while ago and I would have loved to have read your post before ;). Wonderful post!
    I just made the Number 3-roses for an Easter decoration (see here on my blog) and I was quite ennoyed at the tutorial, because it didn’t really tell you how to hold anything in place. I used a good deal of hot glue in the end ;) and created a little paper base for the bottom.

    So, I am now excited to check out your other posts! Have a wonderful Monday and start of the week!
    Yours, Theresa from

    • Theresa, they look beautiful! I love your photos. That first one in front of the window amazes me.

      Do you know what the craziest part is? I was totally thinking about making a twiggy-eggy-Easter arrangement this week for the first time, and now here I am admiring yours! I saw something about blowing out the eggs and hanging them up recently on… Martha Stewart? And I thought it would be pretty, if only I could get my apartment in order first. I’m thinking about it even harder now, because that looks damn nice. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Molly

    It is shameful to say I’m having trouble with the simple paper flowers (3)? I use the same size, but they do not come out as large looking, nor do that stay together…they tend to…pop away and unfurl =P. Any tips?

    Ironically, I find the kusudami ones relaxing and fun to make!

    • Don’t be ashamed, Molly! The ones in my photos are rolled loosely and not glued, but a few strategically-placed dabs of glue might help you keep your flowers at the tightness you’re looking for. Or, if you roll them really really tightly, then when you release them they should stay loosely curled. That’s what I did. Try curling them as tightly as you can and releasing them a few times (maybe even starting at the wrong end once, to teach the outside petals to stay curled) and see if they’ll stay curled as tightly as you want them to. Let me know if that helps!

      It may also have to do with the thickness of your paper, though. Here, I used cardstock. Different papers all have their own little idiosyncracies. What are you using?

      • MaryH

        I also have issues with #3. I am using just plain printing paper though so that my have something to do with it. but they end up looking like a super thin funnel and don’t really resemble a flower at all, they also uncurl quite easily. :( not sure what I am doing wrong…

        • EmilyR

          I had trouble with #3 too but I found if you cut the spiral so that the thickness varies (try it a bit thicker towards the end) and sort of curl/crumple the edges of the petals, they look a lot nicer and less funnel-ish. I also sprayed my cardstock with water, crumpled it an the ironed the crumples in and it looked quite nice and vintage!

  • I’ve seen this arrangement but usually, there is only one type of flower all in one vase. I love your idea of creating different types and putting them all together. It’s a great idea for a gifts also. Thank you for the tutorial!

    • Anonymous

      My pleasure! I hope this little roadmap helps a bit, because I think these links go to some pretty great tutorial authors.

  • your flowers are hardly clumsy…. for a minute there i kept scrolling up and down to see which was the original!

    great work!

    • Anonymous

      Woohoo! Thanks for that!

  • Tariust16

    Omg I had been looking everywhere to find out how to make paper flowers for my wedding placement cards! This is awesome, thanks for your help.

    • Anonymous

      Fantastic news! I hope your wedding turns out exactly the way you’re picturing it.

  • Forum4study

    i dont know much about making flower’s , but i do know that your a really good writer!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you! That’s awfully nice. :)

  • Chelsey

    Hey I’m doing the Kusudama flowers for my wedding (bouquet, centrepieces etc) and I’m having trouble with the stem. I don’t really get how you did it here. I read it but I’m just not sure – can you help me out? Thanks,

    • Anonymous

      Yes! You know how each petal of the Kusudama flower is a kind of cone, with the pointy part at the back of the flower? Each of my cones had a tiny pinprick of daylight coming through that pointy part, so for each petal, I took a long piece of wire, folded the end over (so that the tip would be larger than the tiny hole at the back of the petal), and fed the wire through that hole from front to back, so that the little wire-loop could be seen from the front of the flower if you looked way down deep into the back of the petal.

      After I had done that to all six petals, I had six wires sticking out the back of the flower, so I twisted them together to make one six-ply stem.

      Is that explanation better?

      • Chelsey

        Yes I think I get it now, I will know better once I start fiddling around with it myself. Thank you so much for the quick response!!

      • Angelica

        Hi! I’m also having trouble fixing the wire to create the stem. I believe I’ve got your point, but I’ll only know once I start reassembling the flowers. Thank you!

  • I love how your flowers have turned out! They’re so pretty! This is going on my ‘to try’ list! :)

    Orls xx

    • Anonymous

      I hope you have fun making them, Orla! They are lovely to have.

  • Lucy2380

    Love!!!  Made a vase full for my sister-in-law.  Turned out great and so easy!!!  Thanks!

  • Imtired45465453

    The third link does not work :(

    • Stupid Internet! I’m working on recreating each tutorial, to protect from this kind of future degradation. Thanks for letting me know.

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  • Marga Estebaranz

    simply spectacular, kiss

  • Love what I have seen so far and I have only been here a few minutes!!! Such great talent and vision! I look forward to learning lots of new techniques and crafts from you!

  • Love what I have seen so far and I have only been here a few minutes!!! Such great talent and vision! I look forward to learning lots of new techniques and crafts from you!

  • Eleanorrf

    i love this!! thank you!

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  • Liza_Erchova

    This is a good DIY project!

  • Seline

    Hm… If your flowers are clumsy, then I don’t know how to describe mine! :)

  • Brittney

    Do you happen to have another link to flower 3 or happen to still have the directions somewhere? That is the one I REALLY wanted to make for my wedding reception and the link doesn’t seem to be working. Please help :(

  • These are beautiful!

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  • Susie x

    hi there peeps
    i have found a site that shows you how to make flower no 3. Try this

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  • Anna Fotografen Bjälke

    Here is a link to the number 3 flower, I guess it is that one right?

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  • Emily Ferrell