Tulips became interesting to me a little bit later age. As a child I loved roses, the huge gerberas, the tiny violets and lovely daisies. Tulips were always too fragile, too easy to break; their petals started falling the second day. And on the last day of school for the year all the kids brought tulips for their teachers. How boring!
Years later I discovered the amazing world of the tulip. All the surprising colours and unexpected shapes. And the Semper Augustus is the king of them all. Do you know that in the times of the Tulip Mania, it was the most expensive tulip? The price of one single bulb was 10 000 guilders. At the time, during the 17th century, this was the cost of a huge home in one of the most fashionable canals in Amsterdam. The most amazing thing is that this incredible petal coloration is caused actually by a virus…
I confess, I fell in love with the old pictures of Semper Augustus tulips – so elegant and precise. And started making my paper ones, following exactly these drawings.
So, to make a Semper Augustus tulip my way, you need white crepe paper and red acrylic paint. This is the most important. I prefer to paint the crepe paper myself for the petals of my flowers, because very often the sunshine makes the coloured paper fade. And nobody wand red flower to become sa sad, pinkish-white… But, if I am honest, I do often use green crepe paper for the stems and the leaves. When it fades, the green starts looking like expensive old velvet and I really like this effect.
First cut 6 rectangular pieces of the paper.
Scratching the paper between your finger and nail, try to remove the lines, which exist from the production process. I don’t like them at all. Yes, this will take a lot of time, especially if you are making more than one flower, but it is worth it.
Cut the rectangular pieces diagonally…
… and glue both pieces together on the longer side. Be careful to keep the lines emanating from the middle in both pieces.
After the petals dry, open them. To help myself and to make the glue line almost invisible I very often roll a paint brush or a round pencil on it.
Cut a round tulip petal shape.
Paint the petals and leave them to dry. Here you can use your imagination or the pictures you can find online. Be sure that all your petals follow one style – like in real tulips. I very often use microwave oven to dry the acrylic paint. I am not sure if it is bad for my food or not, but for fixing colours and faster drying it is an amazing helper!
But be very careful not to put petals that contain wire inside the microwave – this can cause a fire! Or can destroy all your work. Be careful, in the first days of my paper flower making I often forgot this and the results in the microwave were terrible!
After the paint is fully dry, glue a thin piece of wire under the folded part. Keep it inside, as close as possible to the glue line. Leave the petal to dry. You can’t use the microwave oven anymore because of the wire! So, do something different – prepare dinner, make yourself a coffee and read a good book for half an hour.
After the glue is fully dried, very gently stretch and twist the paper petals with your fingers to make them look realistic. Also twist the wire to help make the shape of a tulip petal.
When all the petals are ready, it is time to make the stamens. I use the same thin wire and paper serviettes. Cut long lines and wrap and glue them around the edges of the wire pieces. Shape them with your fingers to make them start looking like the tulip stamens.
When the glue is dried, paint the tops in black using acrylic paint.
When the paint is drying, twist some paper wire as shown.
This will be the “heart” of your tulip.
Make little balls from the paper serviette pieces and glue them inside the round shapes. Paint them in light green.
Also paint the wire part of the stamens and the body of the “heart”. Leave them to dry.
When the paint dries, fold the petals as shown and glue them around the “heart” with a line of crepe wire.
Twist two or three pieces of paper wire together and connect them again with string of crepe paper to the stamen part.
Your tulip stem is ready.
After that glue the petals, using paper string again. Glue first three petals and then another three in a second layer. Be very careful to connect them well. Wrap all the stem with a few layers of green crepe paper.
The heart of your tulip must look like this:
The last thing you need will be to cut a tulip leaf shape from green crepe paper and glue it as shown.
And your Semper Augustus tulip is ready! I am not sure you can sell it for 10,000 guilders or whatever that is in today’s dollars, but it is still very beautiful – this I am sure about!
If you have any questions about the process or the materials, please ask in the comments.
For more paper flowers, you can see my Lavender.