Paper : : Pleated Flowers

These pleated paper flowers are super-easy to make, and a great way to recycle colorful magazine pages, giftwrap paper, old book pages, or any other bright paper you have on hand. I’ve come across a lot of pleated flower tutorials on the internet, but I’ve come up with a trick in this tutorial that will keep your flowers from falling apart so easily.

This is a good project for kids, too, if you do the punching and sewing step for them and stick to glue or double-sided tape for adding the decorations.

Use a paper strip that is at least three times (3:1) as long as it is wide (a longer strip makes more ruffles). The width (the shorter side) of your paper strip equals the diameter of your flower, so 4 inches wide will make a flower that measures four inches across.

Fold your paper strip up, accordion fashion. (Note: The diagram below was created for folding accordion books, so the finished accordion isn’t as narrow as it should be for a flower—3/4″ to 1 1/4″ wide…just keep halving the accordion pages until you come to a width that feels right.)
The diagram will get you started, but you will have to do quite a bit more folding to get your accordion stack down to a narrow strip.

Your accordion should have folds of equal width (about 3/4″ to 1 1/4″ wide), and they should be folded so they zig-zag.

Using a sharp, large pair of scissors you can cut through the accordion stack to shape the ends of your petals.
Pointy, V-shaped, pinked (with pinking shears), rounded, scalloped…shaping the ends of your accordion stack will create a different silhouette for your finished flower.
Fold the stack in half, as pictured, to create a crease down the middle of all the pages.

Here’s the step that nobody adds to their online tutorials, and then everyone wonders why their flowers come apart!

Take a tailor’s or bookbinder’s awl, or use a large, sharp needle (chenille needle, or an upholsterer’s needle…anything to make a hole through the whole stack at once), to poke two holes just a short distance apart from each other. Place them along the line of the fold you created in the previous step.

Now thread a needle with some strong thread, come up through one hole and down into the other hole, and tie the two loose ends together using a couple of strong knots 9a square knot, or reef knot, is good for this). Trim the thread ends down to within a few millimetres of the knot.

Use a very tacky adhesive to stick the two halves of one side to each other

Let it dry before gluing the other side in the same way, so it doesn’t pull apart because the tension is quite strong here, depending on how long your original strip of paper was. Use your fingers to ease the petals apart gently, evening them out and opening the flower up.

These are pretty much done now, though you can further embellish your flowers with felt shapes, buttons, paste gems, etcetera,…

You can sew the embellishments on, using a large sharp needle and strong thread…

Or you can use a hot glue gun, or tacky craft glue, to just stick the embellishments on.

Voila! Scrumptious paper flowers that look good enough to eat. Enjoy them as hanging ornaments, or on saté sticks in a paper flower garden, or strung up as garlands or bunting!


About smallestforest

bookbinder, crafter, lit. major, passionately curious
This entry was posted in cutting & pasting, paper, Recycle That S#!T... and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Paper : : Pleated Flowers

  1. Pingback: Paper : : Pleated Flowers | the smallest forest

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  4. craftytips says:

    I really like your blog and how you try to use up what you already have – I have tons of supplies but find it so hard to walk past an art store without getting something new! Maybe there’s a craft rehab somewhere 🙂

    • I’m chuffed you like my blog, thanks! Yes, I’ve often wondered about that craft rehab…they call it ‘retail therapy’, but what’s the therapy for retail therapy, which just becomes another addiction? 🙂 I am ging so slowly, doesn’t seem to’ve made a dent in the stash at all. Maybe when I turn 98 I’ll finally find the room empty.

  5. Pingback: No time like the present… | the smallest forest

  6. This is lovely. I’ll try it and keep you posted. Thanks.

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