Last year, for my Birthday, my sister gave me one of the best crafty gifts ever – the beautiful and very inspiring book Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers. The author, Jessica Roux, is a very talented young artist and her amazing illustrations inspired me to ask, “What if I try to recreate her charming illustrations from paper?”.
Yes, why not?
So, the first one I created was her amazing Anemone and I even wrote a DIY tutorial for my Etsy shop. But this version uses crepe paper which has become something very common now and I wanted to make something different. So, here is how the colour paper Honeysuckle was born.
The materials for a DIY paper Honeysuckle
Finding the materials was the easiest step – when the soul needs it, the eyes see the possibilities. Yes, I am a paper crafter, so I have lots of materials to choose from at home, but the funny thing was I didn’t have the paper and I was even not sure which paper to use.
Then chance showed me the way! While my husband and I were doing our weekly shopping at the closest supermarket, I saw this Paper Pad with multiple bright colours and that same afternoon the paper Honesyckle was born!
So, here are the materials – you can see them in the photo below. The paper pad was with 135 gsm paper. It is important not to use paper that is too heavy, say 180 gsm or more, because while shaping thicker paper, the little ripples on the edges of the petals will not be sufficient and the whole flower head will be too heavy.
If you have special instruments for shaping paper or fondant flowers, use them. If not, substitute with the smooth round top of a brush handle, crochet hook or pen or…
For shaping the petals I used, as always, a simple kitchen sponge mat as my base and the top of the white gel pen as a shaper. The only additional, very specific material I used was florist’s wire 1 mm diameter and 40 cm long along with some 180 gsm black crepe paper. I used the black crepe paper only because I wanted to copy, exactly the illustration from the book. The paper colours I used were beige, dark pink and grey.
You can use any colours you can imagine, because here I only want to show you the very easy to make and very successful Honeysuckle flower construction.
Making the petals and leaves
Here you will see the petal and leaf elements I draw for my project. If you feel insecure about drawing your own petals & leaves, click on the banner below which is a link to the free files I made with the size and the shape of my flower elements. You can print it A4 size, portrait orientation and on paper above 180 gsm to use as templates.
Shaping the Honeysuckle petals was easy following the illustration in Floriography. I made big beige leaves for the central area and pink for the top. The black rectangle in the middle is the piece I cut to make the stamens. This piece I cut in two other pieces which I used to make fringes – one for each group of petals. Each group of petals consists of 1 beige petal, 1 pink petal and 1 fringe for stamens.
Also, impatient to organise the details, I used a simple trick to cut the petals. I pleated the paper and cut this way 3 petals instead of only one. Later I used the same trick (but only with two folds) to make the symmetric leaves.
The construction of the leaves in this project is a bit different. While every petal is made from a single piece of paper, every leaf needs two, because there is a wire inside.
Colouring the petals, I made some strokes with beige and brown markers. I didn’t have thick markers with these shades, so used Faber-Castel’s glitter markers. If I have to be honest, from the “glitterness” I am a bit disappointed, but the colour shades are wonderful – soft and gentle. Perfect for colouring flower elements.
I also made some strokes and dots with a thin black marker and white gel pen.
I repeated all this on the pink petals too.
Shaping the paper Honeysuckle elements
To make the stamens, I rolled the individual black paper fringes with a very thin layer of PVA glue. The good thing with the PVA glue is that when it dries, it becomes transparent. Of course, you have to be careful, because leaving thick PVA glue lumps, even small ones, means it doesn’t become 100% transparent. Sometimes, of course, I actually want the thick drops of PVA glue as I am using them to make the surface more interesting for mushrooms and succulents for example.
The beige petals I formed on the top of the soft kitchen sponge mat. I just made a long line while pressing from the top to the bottom of the petal and the result is the one on the left.
I did the same with the pink petals…
Next step was to press the beige petals in the middle, creating a 3-shape.
Then I glued the pink petal as shown – on the top of the pressed area.
The next step was to glue the black stamens inside (on the lower petal).
I made 20 petal elements and 4 single leaf elements to add to the flower crown.
Time to make the Honeysuckle double leaves
If you remember, each leaf has two elements.
On each one (one for the bottom and one for the top of the leaf), I first drew leaf veins with the thin black marker.
Then added the beige shade, which, working together with the grey paper colour created a very gentle nuance of greyish green.
The last step of colouring the leaves was to add some white strokes with the gel pen, also following the leaf veins.
When both leaf elements were ready, I covered the inside surface of one of them with a smooth layer of PVA glue and positioned the wire in the middle.
Then “closed” the wire by positioning the second symmetric leaf element on the top and pressed the two together well.
When the glue dried enough (after about 10-15 minutes), I shaped the leaf again by pressing with the top of the glitter pen on the kitchen mat.
The real fun – constructing the Honeysuckle
When all the petals and leaves were ready, I wrapped, with strips of black crepe paper and PVA glue, a 40 cm long piece of wire.
Then bend ½ of the wire piece and start gluing the petal elements on the wire as shown. This will be the flower head and the other part of the wire later will be the stem.
When gluing the elements, they have to “bite” the wire like a mouth – put PVA glue along the fold line, “bite” the wire and hold to dry.
If you’re following my suggested construction, recall that the pink leaves should be on the top of the flower.
Glue every subsequent petal element exactly next to the previous one to make a rich petal crown. In between you can also glue some leaves (just fold the top of the leaf, put glue and again “bite” the wire). Don’t put too many leaves, because the beauty of the flower is in the rich flower crown. If you want more leaves in the flower head, glue them on the petals, not as single ones on the wire.
When all the petals and leaves are glued, give this part of the wire a round shape.
Here you can see my flower from the bottom – the four leaves and the round shape of the wire are visible.
The next step is to connect all the leaves to the stem as shown, by wrapping with black crepe paper strip and PVA glue.
Then glue the leaves as shown, by pressing them around the wire stem.
And that’s it – the paper Honeysuckle is ready!
I love this construction idea, first because it is very easy even for absolute beginners and second – it works realy well with every size. Of course, for making bigger constructions the wire needs to be a lot stronger.
Hope I inspired you to experiment and to create your own beautiful flower. Enjoy your craft time!
If you like my templates, here is the link to the free leaf and petal templates: