How to Make Beautiful Paper Flowers Part II: The Technical Details.
From flat cardstock, you can accomplish these lovely flowers to your heart's desire!
This is a further explanation of the techiques used to form paper flowers in a fantastic multitude of color, type and size. All these florals may be used for greeting cards and scrapbooking, even for bouquets on a wrapped gift. Some have been framed as pictures or used to decorate a wedding album cover, even on a birthday cake.
It's your choice to create whatever type you wish, and the wide variety of colors in cardstock and heavy papers is wonderfully tempting. The supplies information is in the first hub on making uniquely beautiful flowers, as is some basic instruction for contouring the flowers.
Here are more detailed technique tips and photos to assist you in your creative process. Once you have practiced how to contour your leaf and floral shapes, you may construct easily and discover your own shortcuts and methods.
Close up samples of papercrafted flowers.
The choices you make in cardstock texture and color, the size of the punch or cutout, the layers of the flower, the way you contour the petals and leaves, all make for wild and wonderful creations from your own fancy.
These illustrations show the progression of building your flower.
This layout shows varied sizes of punch-outs to glue together for the flower.
The pink petals range from large to smaller sizes. Each flower except for the tiny sizes, needs at least two layers and will sometimes have as many as five or six total layers, each glued atop the lower, until you are ready to choose what center you want-large or small, paper, glitter, craft sand, rhinestones, pom-poms.
I use an inexpensive thick white glue for all but the topmost layer for the glue-glob, which will be 'sanded' to make a raised textured center. The 'sanding' glue must be a dimensional type such as Glossy Accents by Inkssentials, Diamond Glaze, Aleene's Paper Glaze, FolkArt Papier Glass Finish, clear. Also Royal Coat Dimensional Magic, clear. These glues are more expensive so are used only for the 3D flower center. Hobby stores such as Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Martha Stewart's products, and many online stores like eBay and Amazon.com. will offer varieties of these dimensional glues. The sand is inexpensive kid's crafting sand and comes in several colors. Is available most commonly at craft stores.
With lighter colored sands, the color of the flower center paper will make a slight difference in the way the sand appears. Sometimes I will use a varied color wheel of centers for the same flower group, and thus the centers will have slightly varied centers to achieve a more realistic appearance. Also, if you use a colored dimensional glue (as above) or a 3D paint glue, the color of the finished sand center will change slightly. This gives a subtle variation which looks very natural in the flower arrangements and is an attractive asset you can try.
It pays to try your paper, glue, sand combination on a scrap center or piece of paper before you use it for your florals to see if it is a color combination you like. I have used a yellow paper and transparent 3D paint glue in combination with another shade of yellow paper and the same paint glue, then two shades of yellow sand. Center punch-outs may also be shaded with colored pencils to utilize the ascending color choices, but markers do not work as well as they tend to bleed when the glue is applied. IF you are careful to fully sand the marker colored area, color bleeding is not a problem.
The shapes are glued in layers and are ready to sand.
With contouring finished, the center area of the flower will receive a glob of clear dimensional glue. It is best to pour on the sand as quickly as possible after pouring on the glob as it does skim over and may dry too quickly to receive the sand properly. Pour on plenty to overly cover the glue glob and let dry for 3-8 minutes.
Different glues dry at varied times so you will learn how long to wait. Be aware that the darker sands will show more 'boo-boos' in the shape of the glue than the ligher ones. This sand is light chocolate brown. You may test check the drying condition of a flower by dumping off the sand and carefully touching the side of the raised center. If you have not waited til it is too hardened, you may very carefully adjust the shape of the sand-center with your fingernail or similar small flat tool.
It does need to set for as long as an hour or two with some glues before it entirely hardens inside the whole glob. Very careful glue-globbing helps form nice circles or ovals, but there is always a center that needs to be shape-adjusted before it gets completely hardened.
Petal shapes may be glued together with contoured tips up or down. This dramatically changes the look of the same punched petals and floral variation.
Card size, weight, 3D all matter in mailing.
Whatever punch sizes you choose to use, each petal needs to be contoured for the 3D effect. I normally use plain colored cardstock but tiny polka-dots or stripes are nice to achieve a totally different look. The number of petal-punched layers affects the look of the flower, and also the weight and bumpiness of the finalized card, so if postage is a matter, remember this!
The cards do mail very well, but it is probably wise to save the larger heavier flowers for those cards you will deliver personally. However, I have mailed many to both coasts and Florida from the central USA and they arrived still being beautiful! You will need to request 'hand cancelling' for most of the cards so as not to risk a post-office jam-up!
I do computer-generate a tiny card with instructions to 'gently lift each petal, leaf or butterfly to achieve more prominent 3D effect' and place it inside each card mailed. However, you cannot flatten the flowers after contouring, though some flattening does occur when they are sent through the mail. Many cards are displayed by the receipent because they are so surprisingly beautiful! You will love the thanks YOU get from the person who received your unique greeting card.
Any sort of smooth-rounded-tip tool might work for contouring the cardstock petals or leaves. You will use the tool on a soft pad like a mouse pad or thin stiff foam and apply pressure to the cardstock petal or leaf to 'curl' it. More pressure means more curl. You may also curl flower tips like daisies between your fingers if desired.
I have used sanded-smooth toothbrush handles, dowels, old pens with round tips, knitting needles, cocktail stirrers, large nails, and various kid-craft items found in unexpected places. It is fun to gather your items and find one that works unexpectedly to suit your purposes.
The main action to be aware of when contouring the cardstock is to NOT pounce at a 'high angle' as this might pierce the paper. If you hold the shaping tool chosen at a nearly horizontal angle to the paper, you can curl and shape with vigorous motion and achieve varied kinds of contour effects. The angle and pressure are your choice to measure and obtain the type of floral or leaf shape you wish.
An easier and faster way to demonstrate the 3-D effect on the cardstock is to simply use the end of a crochet hook or knitting needle - or other tool item you choose - and use the small size to simply draw a 'pressure line' down the length of the petal or leaf. I usually do the leaves this way, as it gives them distinct veins like leaves should have. Some leaves do need more than one vein, such as the maple leaves with three veins; one to each tip.
Refer to the first hub to note how to glue leaves in place for your flowers. You may use several per blossom, or a very few, both depending on what type leaf it is and how busy you want the floral picture to appear. Leaf cardstock can be very light green or very dark Christmas green - and every shade in between. I like to have two or three close shades of leaves mixed and this gives an interesting slight color variation.
Some cards may be elegantly lovely with just one large flower and a large leaf or two. This type works well to express a simple condolence from the heart - classy, not overworked, and sincere: Your gift from the heart!
Mothers Day cards added late April, 2010
A few more heavy cardstock flowers - giant size!
Here is link to Part I on making beautiful flowers.
- How to Make Uniquely Beautiful Floral Greeting Cards
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