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How to Upcycle Greeting Cards and Make Beautiful Paper Flowers

Updated on January 21, 2015

Here is a clever way to upcycle the paper inserts that you find in some greeting cards to make lovely paper flowers that can be used in a variety of decorations.

Below you will see I have taken the paper inserts out of the cards and used them to cut out 3 x 3 inch squares. You might prefer just to use the patterned paper, and just cut around the verses, but personally I think these flowers look great with the verses winding their way around the petals. You can use birthday cards, valentines or seasons greeting cards. You can use old Christmas cards to create flowers that can be used in a wreath or Christmas table decoration.

You will need:

5 squares of paper per flower you wish to make. I have used 3 x 3 inch squares

Glue

Clips

1 x 24cm wire for each flower you make. Bigger flowers will need slightly longer lengths of wire. I have used 0.6mm gauge (that's about 22 gauge for those in the States). But thinner wire would work just as well, just don't go too thin as the wire is more likely to snap.

2 or 3 Small beads. I have used 4mm round clear crackle quartz

Instructions

Begin with a square of paper, I have used 3 x 3 inches, but you can use bigger squares to produce larger flowers. If you have a preferred side that you want to show off lay that side face down and when you finish it will be on the outside of the petal.

Note - paper smaller than 3 x 3 inches will probably be very tricky to fold

Fold the top corner down to make a triangle. Make sure your upper and lower edges are aligned.
Fold the top corner down to make a triangle. Make sure your upper and lower edges are aligned.
Fold left and right corners down to make a diamond shape.
Fold left and right corners down to make a diamond shape.

Fold the upper sides back on themselves, making sure the edge indicated aligns with the edge of the diamond shape below on both sides.

Now you need to open up the two sides so that the creases made in the last step are flat like this
Now you need to open up the two sides so that the creases made in the last step are flat like this
Fold the tips back, so the crease is in line with the diamond shape below.
Fold the tips back, so the crease is in line with the diamond shape below.
Now gently push the two edges indicated together so that the central crease pops back, and fold this back down into a diamond. See below, repeat on both sides
Now gently push the two edges indicated together so that the central crease pops back, and fold this back down into a diamond. See below, repeat on both sides
You should end up with a diamond like this. Dab some glue along one of these upper flaps, fold the diamond in half vertically so the flaps stick to each other.
You should end up with a diamond like this. Dab some glue along one of these upper flaps, fold the diamond in half vertically so the flaps stick to each other.
Hold in place with a bulldog clip or paper clip until glue has dried.
Hold in place with a bulldog clip or paper clip until glue has dried.
Make 5 petals and leave them to dry
Make 5 petals and leave them to dry
Once dry, remove the clip and push the sides together gently to make a cone shape.
Once dry, remove the clip and push the sides together gently to make a cone shape.
Glue the petals together, hold in place with a clip if necessary.
Glue the petals together, hold in place with a clip if necessary.
When you have finished gluing you will end up with a flower shape like this. Put it to one side while you create the stamen. You will need approx 24cm of wire and two or three small beads.
When you have finished gluing you will end up with a flower shape like this. Put it to one side while you create the stamen. You will need approx 24cm of wire and two or three small beads.
Thread a bead to approx 10cm along the length of wire, hold in place, bend one end back around to meet the other, now still holding the bead in place rotate the hand holding the bead so that the wire twists together to about 1cm under the bead.
Thread a bead to approx 10cm along the length of wire, hold in place, bend one end back around to meet the other, now still holding the bead in place rotate the hand holding the bead so that the wire twists together to about 1cm under the bead.

Tip:

It helps if you hold the bead with one hand, and with the other hand hold the wire to the point you want the twist to finish. Then when you rotate the hand holding the bead, the twist will not go past your fingers. Do not twist too much or the wire may break. If you are not used to working with wire, do a few practice twists - it helps if you twist until the wire breaks on the practice run as you will begin to build an intuition about how far you can twist the wire.

Thread a second bead onto one end of wire, hold it at approx 1 cm from where the two ends meet in the twist, bend the wire back over the bead as shown, and twist together as before.
Thread a second bead onto one end of wire, hold it at approx 1 cm from where the two ends meet in the twist, bend the wire back over the bead as shown, and twist together as before.
Holding the two ends together add a few more twists
Holding the two ends together add a few more twists
Now, hold the two ends together and push through the middle of the flower. There should be a natural gap, if not you might have to make one as you push them through.
Now, hold the two ends together and push through the middle of the flower. There should be a natural gap, if not you might have to make one as you push them through.

The finished result

The finished flowers can be simply displayed in a vase or glass (as shown), or can be used in other craft projects.

You could turn them into button holes, or make many to create a papery bouquet.

Take a look at my tutorial to learn how to turn them into Christmas wreaths or centerpiece decorations. Link coming soon.

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