how to make crepe paper flowers (my way!)

I started to notice this beautiful Italian crepe paper from Carte Fini over the last year popping up here and there, twice at ohmyhandmade in the spring (see here and here), and then recently at an ohhappyday/anthropologie event here in San Francisco. I finally ordered seven rolls a week or two ago and they are in my hot little hands now. I was so excited to dive into my piñata designs using all these new colors, but the paper is so stiff that it is harder to glue and cut, and the piñatas lose the traditional softness found with simple crepe paper streamers. Case in point, my "candy corn" egg piñata. The egg on the left is made with Carte Fini paper. The egg on the right is made of regular old streamers.

I ADORE the ombre orange-yellow-orange paper. I love the ombre blue-silver-blue. The salmon pink color I have is luscious. Unfortunately, the paper itself is not very suited to my uses. Here's my full stash, by the way. SO vibrant.

It just so happens, though, that my Frida Kahlo costume for my October performances needed an upgrade (see new and improved headpiece at top of page). I checked out the links I mentioned above first of all for help. The flowers in those tutorials are absolutely gorgeous, but I was looking for something with more of a clustered, pom-pom like construction. Something I didn't have to piece together a petal at a time. So I started messing around and came up with the following fairly quick method.

You'll need thick crepe paper, hot glue gun and sticks, a ruler, scissors and string (string is non-essential).

Going with the grain of the paper, cut a strip of paper the length of the roll. The width of the strip depends on how big a flower you want to end up with. I started with a strip about 3 1/2" wide (it will be for the largest petals) and ended up with the flowers pictured at the top of the page. The Carte Fini rolls have a ridge every 1 1/2" or so, so I used them as a guideline and cut a four-section-long piece of paper from the strip to make my outermost petal.

Fold that piece in half and cut a rounded, tapered petal shape as shown below. Please note, you will stretch the paper after the flower is assembled, so do your best to keep the crepe crepe-y while you're working.

Cut two more sections out of that initial strip, stepping down the lengths a half a "section" each time, so that each folded petal is slightly smaller than the last. Fold these halfway and cut rounded petal shapes from them.

Cut new strips as needed from the roll, always with the grain, and reduce the width and length of the folded petal pieces gradually, until you have a collection of (unfolded) petals like this.

Start assembling the flower by applying hot glue to the bottom center and folding together, pinching tightly and being careful not to burn yourself! Make sure your glue gun is set on LOW! If you are using one of the ombre papers, they are only ombre on one side, so I faced the ombre sides inward as I glued the petals together. When you stretch them out later you can see all the wonderful gradations in color perfectly (see photo at top).

Apply hot glue to the next largest petal, about a third way up from the fold on each side. Carefully place the center petal in, perpendicular to the new petal (see next photo).

Hopefully you understand what I mean by perpendicular, because you're going to repeat this step until you've used all of your petal pieces. Always place the center piece inside the new piece in a perpendicular orientation, so the gaps in the previous layer of paper are covered. Is this making sense? I hope so!

When your little bud has grown to the size flower you desire, add extra glue to the final petal layer, because you really want to be able to twist and squeeze and glom everything together within that last piece of paper.

After you wrap that last petal around, squeeze everything to compact the base of the flower as tight as you can, adding extra glue to secure any paper flaps around the edges.

Next is the fun part, the stretching. Starting with the outer layer of petals, stretch the crepe paper out at just the tips of the petals, using both thumbs and forefingers. I couldn't take an action shot of that step, as I was using both my thumbs and forefingers!

Keep stretching the top parts of the petals until you get all the way to the center. You should have something like this, sort of like a carnation. I dislike carnations, but this one works for me!

As an added layer of security I took some string and wound it tightly around the mid-base area of the flower in some hot glue, twisting it around while the glue was still warm. Then I cut off the tip of the flower. If you are adding a stem or some greenery at the outer layer of your flower, you may not need to cut off that back tip. In my case it was just getting in the way.

I love my new Frida headpiece. Before it just had a few pink roses. Now there's nothing demure about it. Perfect! I've still got all these babies to play with too, in case I feel like piling a few more on before the shows!


  1. Love those colors! That coral flower is beautiful. beautiful. beautiful.

    1. I know! I know. I know. So gorgeous. Did you look at the Carte Fini website? SO MANY GORGEOUS COLORS! :)

  2. ooohhh! j'adore!
    not sure i would have the patience to make them tho. although, without any kids around, maybe, and if i had a glass of wine next to me, as well! ha!

    1. I bet you could do it, Lola. It was so easy to make them! Late at night with a glass of wine is pretty much when everything gets done around here. :)

  3. So very beautiful. I am accustomed to creating origami kusudama wedding bouquets.....folding, folding, folding..... You get the picture. I am toying with the idea of tucking some pretty crepe paper flowers in. I love your method, and the result. Absolutely breathtaking. Thanks for the clear instructions. Next stop....your Etsy shop!

    1. Thank you, Karen! I just found the link to your beautiful Etsy shop, and I love your work! Thank you for commenting. :)


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