One of the earliest crafts I remember tackling was a tissue paper flower. I was in the second grade and the technique we used involved crumpling up a circle of tissue and gluing it to a piece of construction paper on which we had drawn crayon stems. I loved it.
In the intervening years I’ve practiced, explored new techniques and want to share my favorite with you. This version is easy to master and at its core simply requires you to pleat stacks of tissue paper in accordion folds which can then be fluffed up to resemble beautifully full petals.
Treat this tutorial as a solid starting point – knowing that you can tailor colors to your liking, scale them up for giant blossoms or down for tinier blooms and trim the petals, stamen and leaves to resemble a wide range of actual flowers. And if you scroll to the end of the instructions you’ll find two bonus videos demonstrating alternate methods for decoration and construction.
If you’re feeling inspired and want to tackle more of my paper flower tutorials, I invite you to check out my CreativeLive class, How to Make Paper Flowers!
1. Tissue paper comes in a wide variety of colors and is often packaged in convenient folds. The paper flower demonstrated in this tutorial is created from the following colors and quantities: 2 sheets of green for the leaves, 2 sheets of dark pink for the outer petals, two sheets of light pink for the inner petals and 1 sheet of yellow for the stamen. Fuller flowers can be created by using additional sheets of tissue paper for the various layers.
Using a guillotine cutter or scissors, cut your tissue paper folds in three different lengths. The tissue paper for the leaves and outer petals will be the longest and can be cut to the same length. The tissue paper for the inner petals will be slightly shorter and the tissue paper for the stamen will be the shortest.
2. Unfold the cut tissue paper and layer the sheets on top of one another in the following order: leaves on bottom, outer petals, inner petals, stamen on top. Center the sheets on top of one another as you stack and then secure the stack at one end with binder clips.
3. Beginning at the end of the stack opposite the binder clips, begin to accordion fold the tissue paper in roughly 1 to 2 inch folds.
4. Once folded, separate the tissue paper by color. Now cut each end of the folded green sheets into pointed leaf shapes. Next cut the ends of the folded dark and light pink sheets into rounded petal shapes. You may find it easiest to trace a jar lid onto each end of the folded stack to achieve even results. Finally, cut each end of the folded yellow sheets into fringe – making certain to leave about 2 to 3 inches uncut in the center of the stack.
5. Layer the tissue paper sheets back on top of one another in the same order as before: leaves on bottom, outer petals, inner petals, stamen on top. Remember to center the sheets on top of one another as you stack.
6. Once the stack of tissue paper is reassembled, fold it in half. Secure the stack at the center point with a length of floral wire. Make certain that the yellow stamen tissue is on top and the green leaf tissue is on the bottom. Twist the ends of the floral wire at the bottom of the stack – this will become the backside of the flower.
You can easily substitute any lightweight wire, twist-ties or chenille pipe cleaners for the floral wire.
7. Open the folds of the tissue paper on either side of the floral wire to create a circular form.
8. Gently begin to pull the fringed stamen tissue paper toward the center of the flower. You’ll find it easiest to pull from the base of the tissue paper closest to the wired center fold versus pulling it from the ends of the fringe. A small amount of tearing is to be expected.
Repeat this step with the inner petals tissue paper, gently pulling each layer up and towards the center.
9. Complete your tissue paper flower by gently pulling up each layer of the outer petals tissue paper.
The leaves tissue paper can be separated or slightly flattened so that they peek out from beneath the petals.
The finished flower is relatedly flat on the back making it each to display on a tabletop or even wall mounted. Alternately, the tails of the floral wire on the back of the flower can be used to secure it to a wood dowel stem.
I have two quick variations of this tissue paper flower to share with you! The first demonstrates a technique to bleach the tips of the petals to achieve a beautiful ombré effect:
The second variation shows you an alternate construction technique using an oversized paper punch – and a clever trick to turn your tissue paper flowers into beautiful cake toppers:
For even more easy and impactful paper crafting ideas, check out my comprehensive paper crafting class.