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Layered Tissue Paper Flower Project
Projects : "Carnation Style" Layered Tissue Paper Flower Project

Finished Tissue Paper Flower Design

COOL NEWS! This project has been featured in the April 4, 2007, consumer press release from the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA).

Spring Tissue Paper & Crepe Paper How-to Fun

"Carnation Style" Layered Tissue Paper Flower Project

Make fun flowers for someone special — for birthdays, holidays, or any occasion!

By Chris Dunmire

Carnation style tissue paper flowers.Tissue paper flowers are an easy paper craft creation you can make with colored tissue paper and chenille stems (pipe cleaners) or florist wire. There are a variety of ways to make the soft, colorful "petals" on the flowers, from a simple accordion-style fold (easy for children) to more elaborate and time-consuming designs for the serious crafter.

Here I'll show you how to make my layered tissue paper flower design with handmade leaves that resembles the enduring carnation or rose (maybe even azaleas). It requires a little more time and precision than the accordion-style flowers you remember from second grade, but produces a beautiful flower reminiscent of freshly cut florist flowers that can be used for any occasion!

At the end of this step-by-step project are other resources online that have tutorials for different types of tissue paper flowers you can make, from traditional simple styles for kids (and kids at heart!) to intermediate projects for the serious paper florist.

Suggested Project Materials and Tools

Project Materials & Tools:

  • White or Assorted Colored Tissue Papers
  • Green Chenille Stems (pipe cleaners)
  • Green Construction or Crepe Paper
  • 2 Round Jar or Plastic Lids (one smaller than the other)
  • White or Clear Craft Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Big Sewing Needle or Sharp Poking Tool

Important Creative Note: Before you begin this project, take a deep breath and relax! Flowers are nature's way of smiling in delicate artful beauty. You are about to create your very own works of art from base materials following these simple guidelines.

Please don't be afraid to improvise on my design or think outside the box of what you think flowers "should" look like. This is your happy creation! Splash the petals with color or sprinkle on glitter. Whatever you choose to do, please remember to enjoy the creative process and have fun. Yes, you ARE creative!

Tissue Paper Flower Project Instructions:

1. Make the flower petals by tracing the circle lids onto tissue paper.

For my flower design, you'll need to make 8 total circle layers for your flower: 4 big circles and 4 smaller circles. The easiest way to do this is to fold a piece of tissue paper in half until you have 4 layers. Then trace your lids on the top layer of the tissue paper and cut out the circles through all the layers (this way, you only have to trace once and cut once instead of 4 times).

Trace round lids.

Trace the circle lids
onto the folded tissue paper.

After you cut out the circles, stack them neatly into an aligned pile and center the smaller circles on top.

Stack the round layers
with smaller circles on top.

2. Pierce the chenille "stem" through the flower layers.

Use a needle or sharp tool to poke two holes side-by-side (approximately 1/8" apart) in the center of your circles. Push the chenille stem all the way through as shown below and make sure the bottom ends of the stem are even and the circles are pushed all the way up against the top of the chenille "bow". Then twist the two stems together on the underside of the flower head to form one solid stem.

Push pipe cleaner stem through tissue paper circles.

Push pipe cleaner stem
through tissue paper circles.

Twist the two ends of the stem together.

Twist the two ends
of the stem together.

3. Artfully and creatively "crinkle" the flower petals.

Starting with the top layer of the circle stack, crumple the first layer inward to create a carnation-like texture. Do this for each layer downward until you are satisfied with the "poofiness" and texture. (No two crinkles or crumples will be alike!)

Crumple each layer starting with the top layer.

Crumple each layer
starting with the top layer.

The more the tissue paper is crumpled, the more defined the texture will be. When you are finished crumpling each layer, your flower should resemble the image below.

All flower layers crumpled.

All flower layers crumpled
into a "poofy" texture.

Petal Variations:

Here are a few idea variations on the flower layers and petals you might like to try:

  • Add a layer or two of a different color of tissue paper to make your flower two-toned, multi-toned, and more interesting.
  • Use one color for the bigger circles, and one color for the smaller circles. Or, use two shades of the same color, one lighter and one darker.
  • Cut the circles out with interesting edger scissors like Fiskars® and scrapbooking edging tools.
  • Instead of circle layers, draw flower petal shapes, square shapes, triangle shapes, or any other shape. The flower police won't be around to make sure you are duplicating nature in its exact splendor!.

4. Draw the flower leaves and attach them to the stem.

Make your flower look more realistic by adding leaves made from construction paper or crepe paper. To make the leaves, fold a piece of green construction paper in half and draw the leaf with the stem towards the fold. When you cut out the leaf, you'll have a two-piece symmetrical leaf shape attached at the stem.

Draw stem leaves on construction or crepe paper.

Draw stem leaves on folded
construction or crepe paper.

Cut out leaf pair.

Cut out the leaf pair, keeping
leaves attached at the stems.

Next, dab a small dot of glue on the underside of the flower head near the chenille stem and lay the two-piece leaf on the underside of the flower as shown. Apply a small bit of glue to the underside of the leaf too, so it doesn't flop down when you turn the flower upright. Allow your flower/leaf assembly to dry completely.

Glue leaves under flower top.

Glue leaves under flower head top.

Once your flower is dry, it's finished! See how easy that was? To make more flowers, repeat the above steps. Make single flowers or a whole colorful bouquet! Wrap them in fancy gift wrapping paper or put them into a nice classy vase as a decorative piece or surprise gift for someone else.

Remember, these flowers don't need any water, and they just might make you come 'petaling' back for more! •

© 2003, 2007 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.

More with Chris Dunmire

ColorCreativity Portal™ founder Chris Dunmire inspires artists, writers, teachers and children with her creative prompts and writing activities. She's trained as a creativity coach with both Eric Maisel, PhD, and Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching™ founder Jill Badonsky, MeD. Her sense of humor and witty wordplay is woven throughout the corridors of Creativity Portal where she encourages others towards engaging in deeper, more meaningful levels of artistic expression and playful creativity, sustained in part through the support of Creativity Portal Access Pass Holders. Please sign up — your support counts and is appreciated!

More Tissue Paper Flower Making Tutorial Resources:

Tissue Paper Flowers and Juice Jar Vase
Easy craft for kids.

Easy Tissue Paper Flowers
Tissue paper flowers made by the simple accordion fold technique.

Tissue Paper Flower Bouquet
Stacked layer technique, with flute petal edges and ideas for arranging.

Simple Tissue Paper Flowers
Another simple accordion style flower, great for kids.