Crepe Paper Roses

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With Valentine’s Day and many school dances coming up, I thought it would be a fun idea to show off a tried and trusted craft that has to be one of my absolute favorites. Two years ago, for band prom my freshman year, I was part of the decorating committee. It was a daunting task, but I soon “rose” to the occasion when I found a tutorial on DIY crepe paper roses! After a little trial and error, I got into a rhythm and finally figured it out. A few weeks later, when it was finally time for the dance, I had handmade hundreds and everyone loved them. I had tons of fun doing it and the outcome was great! With the lights dimmed and red roses scattered on every tabletop and pillar, the “Night in Paris” really came to life.

It has been so long, I managed to lose the original tutorial but considering how many I made, the steps quickly came back to me. To be fair, you ought to know that at first these may be a little bit difficult. Many people tried to help me, but quickly gave up. To do these, you will need some patience. Don’t worry about messing up, just focus on finding what works for you. It took me a number of tries to figure out the easiest way for me to do these. But once you find what clicks for you, the pace will really pick up! Like I said, it only took a few weeks to make hundreds mostly on my own.

I also really like this method because it is very cheap, very versatile, and they look great with and without stems. By not adding stems, you still get the beautiful 3-D rose to glue onto whatever you would like.  I also love the idea of giving these handmade heartfelt displays of love to a significant other or family member!

Okay, now lets get down to business! The materials list is short and sweet, and very cheap:

  • Crepe (streamer) paper for the rose (Here’s a link to find Rose colors and their meanings)
  • Green crepe paper for the stem (You will need less of this than for the rose)
  • Scissors
  • Glue (This is optional. I almost never use glue.)

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Okie dokie now we are ready to start! Remember, go easy on yourself at first, you’ll get it eventually!

img_4640For my example, I’m going to be using red for my rose color, and some dark green I already had for the stem. The first step is to fold over the end of the red paper, leaving about a centimeter hanging off.

img_4641Then, fold that in half so that you see a little triangle.

img_4642Starting at the outside edge, roll up the hanging bit of paper tightly. You are beginning to form the bud in this stage.

img_4643Alright, here is where it starts to get a little tricky. You will need to fold the long end of the streamer paper back and away from the bud. It will form a rounded bump. Accumulation of these is what forms the petals.

img_4645Continue folding the paper back. You will need to hold onto the stem you created by rolling the end of the streamer. For me, the easiest method of folding the paper is to gently pinch it between my thumb and forefinger, my thumb under and behind the paper, and then roll my thumb up and forwards. Keep in mind that if you make sharp creases, your rose will not have very much body and will appear somewhat harsh.

I include the above picture to show you that even in a good rose, the bud will not look great. At first it can be very hard to see how it will come together. I encourage you to stick with every rose you make up until the final stage with the red crepe paper. It will continue transforming to the very end and every little bit of practice with folding the paper helps.

img_4646Continue rolling until you get to your desired size of flower. Keep in mind that your paper will frequently get twisted. I recommend playing around with lengths of paper once you get used to it. I personally like to use a length approximately equal to the distance from my fingertips to my sternum, the middle of my chest. Once you find a length you like, you can pre-cut strips to that length so unwinding won’t be quite so tedious.

img_4648At this point, cut the paper from the roll, leaving a couple inches from the base of the flower to complete the final step for the rose.

img_4649Going in the same direction that you have been folding the paper around the rose, twist the extra bit of length onto the stem you have been holding onto. You may need to hold the base of the flower so you don’t accidentally unwind it. It’s perfectly okay to crush the flower some.

img_4650 Congratulations, you’ve done the hardest part! Now you have a completed flower!

If you’d like to just make buds, leave a shorter hangover when you begin so that the stem is not too bulky, but you can still get a grip.

Now for part two, our green stems!

img_4652The stem begins the same way as the flower, but with no hangover. This will become a single leaf.

img_4653Fold the top back to make the point of the leaf.

img_4654Fold back again so that you have completed a single leaf. Feel free to play around with angled and number of folds to make a fancier or prettier leaf if you’d like! For me, this simple one works just fine and doesn’t take much extra effort.

Figure out where you’d like to position the leaf and, while holding it in place, begin wrapping the stem. Make sure to secure the base of the leaf during this process.

img_4658Twist tightly so that the stem is self-supportive and just keep going until you get to the desired length and trim the end with maybe an inch to spare.

img_4659Twist the end into itself until you finish off the stem. Back when I was making bag-fulls of roses each day for my dance, I found a good method to keep the stem together, but not pointy. It’s been quite a while since I’ve made these and I can’t seem to remember what I did, but my point is that by making enough of these, you can quickly develop a method you prefer.

Congratulations again! Now you’ve made the entire rose! I don’t feel the need to glue these, but if your roses seem to like to unravel, here is where I find it best to add a couple dabs of glue:

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through this tutorial and I wish you all the best of luck with these!

As always, I decided to do a quick photo shoot with my finished product! In this case I chose to make a few more and add in a little more color. Six red and six white to make a full bouquet, plus some more red buds, just for fun!

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