There is something about Peonies that attracts almost every woman. Maybe this is the specific messiness of the flower or maybe the huge variety of shapes and colour shades. Or could it be a reminder of a better time, a desire to return to the past in a beloved Granny’s garden in the past and happy childhood days… Or maybe it is just a trend.
But whatever it is, the Peony is still one of my favourite flowers too. Probably, I will never stop making Peonies in different variations and using different construction methods. Every new one I make looks a lot more like the real flower with its exciting explosion of gentle sugary petals. But then, no sooner have I finished my new Peony, than a different idea comes to mind and I have to start yet another one.
The one I am showing you now is very easy to make. You can involve your children and even partners (?) and enjoy a great family project. Oh, I love family projects, but that’s another story…
Crepe paper Peony – what materials will you need?
The main thing is good quality crepe paper, of course. I work with the products of the Italian manufacturer Cartotecnica Rossi, which is the best one I found. I am sure there are other great paper makers, but this one is not only strong, but also very stretchy. Which, actually, is why we work with this type of paper in the first place isn’t it?
You will also need sharp scissors, thin florists’ wire (about 0.6mm, not more, because otherwise your Peony stem will become too thick), PVA glue and alcohol based markers. Thin cardboard – to make your petal and leaf templates.
If you are a beginner and don’t feel confident enough to create the flower elements, in my Etsy shop can find all the templates and shapes for this DIY crepe paper Peony I am using in this project. I believe, however, that you can make all the elements very well yourself.
How to start…
Cut a rectangle from the crepe paper. Mind the direction of the paper “wrinkles”, as I call them. They must be vertical on the long side. If you cut them the other direction, the paper will not stretch very well. These “wrinkles” are exactly like the pleats of a skirt. When closed the fabric piece is short, when opened, the fabric piece becomes a lot longer.
Colour the top of this rectangular piece with the alcohol based markers.
Then cut the tiniest fringes you can…
… and roll and twist the fringes to make them thinner and looking like stamens.
Twist the top of a piece of wire (this is why thinner wire is easier to work with) and hook it on the piece of fringes. Put PVA glue on the bottom, as shown.
Roll the fringe piece around the wire. To make the crepe paper Peony shown on the cover you will need 3 stamen elements like this.
Let’s make some petals
Cut hearts, with height the same as the height of the stamen’s rectangle and colour them with dots and spots. For each stamen element you will need to make 5 petals like this, so 15 for the whole Peony.
…and glue them around the stamens.
Then, using a crepe paper strip and PVA glue, wrap the 3 elements together into one flower.
Time for bigger petals
Cut another 5 heart-shaped petals. They have to be with 1/3 bigger than the previous ones. Curl them by gently pulling with the scissors’ blade (don’t press too much to not make them too curly or to tear the paper) and also very gently stretch in the middle.
Using the PVA glue, fix them around the flower we created earlier.
Then make another 5 hearts, a bit bigger (no more than 1 cm bigger) than the ones you just glued. Treat them the same way and glue them below the other ones.
Secure the bottom of the petals with crepe paper strips and PVA glue. Now your Peony stem feels softer even with all these layers of paper and the flower head feels heavy but, by tomorrow you will find that the stem is hard and nothing can tear the paper wraps. This is one of the great characteristics of PVA glue, which I love working with on crepe paper.
Let’s make the leaves
Cut a green paper rectangle. It has to be 0.5 cm bigger all around (on every side) than the leaf you want to make.
Then cut it in half on a diagonal and flip one side.
Glue it to achieve a leaf-looking shape using transparent Universal glue. Here PVA glue can curl the paper which will be not very helpful for you. See, the paper “wrinkles” look like leaf veins.
The most important thing here is the main vein line – it has to be central for the petal too. Then fold it in half and cut the leaf shape.
You can make a universal template yourself by folding in half a piece of paper and drawing and cutting the shape.
You can also use mine (link). You can use the leaf template while the paper is open. Just be careful – the edge line of the top triangle has to be the central vein of your leaf!
It will be easier to first cut the main shape and then to cut the small elements.
Or, you can cut it folded and covered by the template, as shown. Here also the fold line must be the edge line of the top rectangle.
Now save some money on craft materials!
From the crepe paper leftovers, cut small green leaves like those shown.
Stretch them to make them curly and glue them on the bottom of the bigger petals.
Glue the big leaves just by folding them around the stem.
You can add more than one leaf, which will make your flower very realistic.
And your paper Peony is ready! This project will not take you more than ½ hour, so imagine how many wonderful flowers in different colours you can create in one day!
Enjoy your Peony making time!
If you don’t feel confident enough to shape the Peony elements yourself – click on the banner and follow the instructions in my Etsy tutorial.
If you are curious to try another Peony project, here is my blog article about how to make a Peony from coffee filters.
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