This project was inspired by a tree in the garden of a coastal villa on the Black sea. Despite it being the beginning of winter and there were no flowers, it was gorgeous! The leaves were so shiny and healthy, looking like they were not real. I never thought of Magnolias as attractive plants before, but this one immediately stole my whole attention and made me want one too! Instead of trying to find and buy a real tree, I decided to make a paper Magnolia home decoration project.
The easiest project to accomplish
Neither the crepe or filter paper I am usually working with are very good for presenting the beautiful “lacquer” finish on the Magnolia leaves. So, I decided to work with office paper and light cardboard and an ink printer. First, I made the designs on my iPad, but you can also draw them by hand and take a photo of the drawing. Whatever is easier for you. If you like, you can even use mine – there’s a link to templates at the end of this post.
So, the first step of the project is to make the templates for the leaves and the flowers. If I am honest, I was so amazed by the leaves that I was ready to leave my Magnolia project flowerless.
I printed the leaves and petals on simple white office copy paper and on 200 gm cardboard. It was so unexpected to find a great printing service in this small, summer-holiday town, working in winter. And I was really excited by the quality.!
Once I had these preparations done this turned out to be a very easy paper flower project to accomplish.
First simple steps
First, I cut all the shapes – the cardboard (200 g paper) and the thinner office copy paper ones.
From the beginning my idea was the leaves should be two sided, so the thin paper was very helpful for the “backs”. (These leaves look so incredibly realistic that I am planning to use them for my crepe paper Magnolia project too.)
So, I paired up the leaf shapes – one brown and the mirrored green one – using the thin paper for one side of both the cardboard and copy paper leaves.
And glued them together – back-to-back – with PVA glue. It is water-based because I wanted to be sure that no alcohol-based ingredients in the glue would affect the colours.
Then, because the glue stuck very fast on the thin paper, I cut the little white imperfections off on both sides.
Shaping the Magnolia leaves
Shaping is very easy, even if you don’t have paper shaping instruments. Use a simple kitchen sponge wipe as a soft base and with the blunt part of a knife’s blade follow the leaf vein lines.
See how it looks on the opposite side – very realistic, isn’t it? And this is a simple copy paper!
For shaping you can also the top of a wooden brush, as I do. Actually, your home is full of great paper shaping instruments and you can create a whole set just by looking here and there.
Gently fold the leaf to make it more closed if you want…
… and again use the wooden stick to curl the top.
Now you have all these very realistic Magnolia leaves.
The Magnolia flowers
If you work only with copy paper prints, glue the petal shapes again back to back – the light ones and the dark ones.
Then use again a wooden stick (it could also be a round pencil, a barbeque pick or a toothpick) to shape the petals.
Because I did not have my traditional paper shaping instrument – the nasal inhaler with me, I found a pen with a smooth round surface. I used this, massaging carefully, to curl and sculpt all the petal shapes.
And then the same again with the cardboard Magnolia petals.
You can leave them only one sided and curl the same way with thicker and thinner wooden sticks
…and a pen.
The most important thing, when working with one sided petals is to mix white with coloured for better contrast.
You can even leave some petals flat, if your project will look better that way.
I decided to use some glass beads instead of real stamens to complete my Magnolia flowers.
The Magnolia wall art project
To complete this Magnolia wall art project, I used a simple IKEA picture frame. I removed the glass, used a grey paper as a background and glued the leaves and the flowers on it.
If you don’t want to make a whole wall decoration, you can use the magnolias as a gift decoration. A simple flower, glued on any box removes the need for any wrapping and just makes the whole box look like a gift itself.
I wish you a lot of wonderful moments with your craft!
If you like my Magnolia flowers and leaves, here is the link to the template PDF in my Etsy shop:
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