Monday, 5 November 2012

Paper Trail

Flowers can be a major expense at your wedding and when I first saw how much they cost I wondered whether I want them at all. I get it, flowers are pretty...the colours, the smells, the bees...How can I NOT have them right?! But for some crazy reason I decided I don't want to be broke after the wedding so chose to let go of non-essential expenses and were the first things to go. Say what?! 

"But Acutie! What will you hold when walking down the isle?

 Great question, thanks for asking (you know you wanted to...inception) . It is one I asked myself as well and great minds...

Anyway, in theatre we are always substituting 'real things' with stage props that look like the real deal and I figured I could do the same thing at my wedding. So today I'm going to show you how you can make all the flowers you need at your wedding for less than Kshs 5000/= . The Magic word is.... Paper. (Ok I said the magic WORD and realised there are other words just as magical like fabric and buttons etc but it isn't as dramatic when you say magic words so let's stick to word for today)

Now before I begin I must put down some caveats:
  1. This will take time- DIY brides who want to go this route, start early to avoid stress. The great thing about paper flowers is that you can make them then store away for months.
  2. Get help. Once you get an assembly line going you can be done in no time. A huge chunk of my flowers are done thanks to the help of an incredible woman, let's call her Maua, who committed to make just 3 flowers for me everyday in October. She's amazing!
  3. This will be a two part post because there are soooo many different types of flowers to make. Some super easy some difficult but if I put them all in one post it will go on FOREVER!
But you know what, as much as I have addressed would be brides, anyone can churn out a paper bouquet for their home. They are easy to make and would be a cool addition to any room or as fun accessories at parties e.g. I made these boutonni√®res/hair thingys for the choubobo's aka the Deeva's birthday from cupcake (ie queencake) papers. 

SO what you will need:

  • Paper- and I'm talking anything, newspaper, old magazines with really cool people on the cover, serviettes, crepe paper, tissue paper, origami paper etc. You can get a pack of 5 tissue/crepe paper sheets from textbook centre for Kshs 100/=
  • Scissors
  • Glue (for some flowers)
  • Floral tape (unfortunately I have run out of mine but will buy some today and update the post with a pic. I get mine for 150/= at a floral boutique in the CBD near city market  that's been around forever!). This stuff is VERY useful and makes your flowers stalks look realistic.
  • Wood skewers/ mshikaki sticks; (you can get a pack of 100 for Kshs 150/= or less in the supermarket. 100 skewers= 100 or 200 flowers depending on how long you want the stalk).
  • Floral/jewellery wire-optional (Kshs 200/= a roll)

So today i'll be making 4 types of flowers that are fairly simple.

Poppies- tissue paper- total time 8 mins

  1. Trace and cut out circles from your crepe paper
  2. fold paper in half then quarter and snip the corner (just a bit) to create hole in centre of the papers)
  3. Roll piece of foil and place in centre of black crepe paper
  4. Wrap black paper round wood skewer. Secure with floral tape or wire.
  5. insert skewer through centre hole and secure with floral tape. 

Peonies type 1/Pompom flower- tissue paper. Total time 5 minutes

  1. Stack your paper and fold it accordion style. I did mine in a hurry and you can tell (shame on me). The neater your folds the better the look of the flower so take your time after all haraka haraka huharibu maua. I'm pretty sure it went something like that.
  2. Fold your accordion in half and secure the centre with a little floral wire (you can staple it instead or use thread).
  3. Cut the corners into either a triangle or a rounded edge (i did both but prefer the sharp edge).
  4. Very carefully and GENTLY (tissue tears easily), separate the layers of the tissue paper from one another and begin pulling them apart. I put total time as 8 mins because of this part. Don't rush and be done in 5 minutes like me. You should take time froofing them (froofing is a highly technical term not present in most dictionaries due to its use in only highly sophisticated circles. Welcome to the club). 
  5. Once your flower is properly froofed, attach it to your skewer using the hanging floral wire/string and secure it with floral tape. 

I realise my tutorial is over-simplified. For more details check out this tutorial from Martha Stewart  It's for paper pompoms but picture the flower as half a pom pom :-)

Origami Kusudama flower- total time 10-15 mins
If you don't have a cool Japanese songbird who can send you origami paper from Japan, fear not! You can make these from any paper cut into 3" or 6" squares.  Ok for this one the best thing is just follow the folds. It's a hard tutorial to describe in words. 

  1. Get a friend in Japan or find a piece of paper and cut it into a perfect square.
  2. Get a pedicure so that any pics of your nails appearing in a tutorial look good and not...well like mine.
  3. Fold in half- corner to corner, and crease firmly. A Triangle is formed.
  4. With the open end facing away from you, take both bottom corners of the triangle and bring them up to the top-centre point forming a diamond on each side.
  5. Fold the centre edges (both sides of the paper that meet in the middle of the diamond) in half to meet the outer edges, creating points that protrude from the diamond to the right and left sides.
  6. Open these folds completely, and  flatten then in the middle to form another diamond shape.
  7. Bring the top points of your outer diamonds down into your fold tuck them into the back of the diamond.
  8.  Bring the edge folds together to meet in the middle- don’t fold to form a crease rather a rounded edge. Put glue on one side of the inner folds, and then hold them together (using pegs, paper clips etc) while it dries.  
  9. Once those are relatively dry, you can glue them one at a time to the wood skewer.  I made four petals but this looks better with five.

I think that's it for today...happy crafting. 

I should come up with a signature sign off like umm... To artistry and beyond! or until next time snip snip snip (sounds wrong). Ok how about until next time look around and find the artist within (profound? yes-no?). Ooooh how about bye guys! You know keep is simple...but what's signature about that? hmm... go ethnic Kwaheri Wasanii! This definitely needs work.

By the way my paper flower craze started when I saw this newspaper bouquet. Check out the tutorial here

Enjoy making the flowers.

Craft awaaaaaaay! - Yes?



  1. I love this blog and the flower idea is just....amazing *exaltedsigh*
    Wow but now I do not have a single artistic bone in my body I would mess up even a stick man. Sigh maybe I could get my friends to do this. Weddings are too expensive :( seriously considering eloping .

    1. Forlorn bride you gon' make it! And paper flowers are sooo easy to make, especially if you have help so give it a go. The paper don't discriminate, 'non-artistic' people are given a chance too. :-)

      PS... sooooo feel you on the eloping thing.


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