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How to use paper flowers in your wedding + a paper flower tutorial

November 28, 2017
fall paper flower bouquet

Did someone say paper flowers? We know how much you love DIYs, so when we happened across Toronto paper flower artist Jessie of Crafted to Bloom on Instagram, we had, oh, a zillion questions for her. Turns out, Jessie got her start making paper flowers for her own DIY wedding a few years back. Over time, paper flowers became a huge passion and after sharing her work on Insta, she was invited to instruct workshops and create custom designs. Today she’s sharing her own paper flower tips and the process of creating one of her most intricate bouquets yet (over 50 paper flowers and just as much foliage!) which was used in a real wedding captured by Nicole Berrett Photography last month. See more + don’t forget to try out the paper flower tutorial below!

fall paper flower bouquet

Wedding photography by Nicole Berrett Photography, all other photos by Crafted to Bloom

ombre fall paper flower bouquet

Bride Heather loves Icelandic poppies, so Jessie focused on them first. They actually can bloom in the cooler months in Texas, so it wasn’t far off something you’d see in a fresh flower bouquet. The orange tones also complemented their wedding palette of orange, pink, and burgundy.

fall colored paper flowers

To make sure the orange + pink flowers didn’t produce a ‘polka dot effect’, Jessie split the bouquet composition in half with a set of transitional flowers to blend them.

ombre fall paper flower bouquet

Jessie says, In the middle of the bouquet, I’ve placed four distant drums roses. With their two-toned petals of peach and mauve, they seamlessly draw your eye from one side of the bouquet to the other side. I applied a sepia spray to them to desaturate their colour, and to create a contrast to the highly saturated colours of the other blooms. I’ve thrown in some purple rose buds and anemones, taking inspiration from the mauve colour of the distant drums. 

ombre fall paper flower bouquet

To bring it all together, she sprayed green foliage with burgundy and gold foliage with muted browns and oranges to simulate the changing of the leaves. They also help prop up and support the flower stems so they don’t move around too much. In the end, Jessie finished it off with strip of tea-dyed cotton, which was a perfect coincidence as Heather’s wedding venue was an old cotton mill!

purple paper flower bouquet

Now, how about some tips for using paper flowers in your wedding? Not only are they gorgeous on their own, but you can use them as substitutes for flowers that aren’t in season in your fresh flower bouquet. Or, you can give them separately to guests as favors at their place settings. And of course, they make perfect hair accessories, too, since they’ll remain in-tact throughout the big day. Bonus that you’ll get to keep all these details long after the wedding!

purple paper flower bouquet pink paper flower bouquet

Aren’t these blush blooms stunning?!

pink paper flower bouquet

Every arrangement I make is unique and bespoke. Everything is hand-cut and handmade. I am meticulous about getting the colour right, through dying or colouring etc. Early on in my journey, I turned to Lia Griffith’s early tutorials for inspiration and I credit her for teaching me the basic techniques of paper flower making. Now I make my own templates for each flower, and I incorporate techniques that I’ve learned from experience or from other artists. I am very much inspired by my fellow paper floral artists (we have such a supportive community of talented makers), as well as fresh flower florists such as Sara Winward, Ariella Chezar, and Kiana Underwood. 

dramatic paper flower bouquet Paper lilacs on 100 Layer Cake

Jessie’s top paper flower tips:
  There’s no rule about what type of paper you can use to make your paper flowers. I prefer using crepe paper, but I know other artists prefer cardstock or tissue paper etc.
  Experiment with the paper! Crush it, twist it, colour it, bleach it! I’m actually quite rough with my paper and I love to pull at the petals to reshape them once I’ve finished assembling the flower. You will discover some wonderful results that might even inspire you.
 If you are incorporating paper flowers directly into your fresh flower bouquet, remember to finish your paper flower stem with waterproof floral tape since your flower bouquet will need to be placed in water to ensure that the fresh flowers remain fresh throughout the day.

paper foxgloves paper dahlias

 Instead of making a bouquet of flowers, you can go BIG and make larger-than-life sizes. I was involved in a local wedding where the bride carried three 10″ diameter paper flowers, and each of the bridesmaids carried 12″ diameter paper flowers. I used thick vinyl coated wire for the stems, and 180 gram Italian crepe paper for petals. The paper flowers for the entire wedding party took much less time to make compared to Heather’s autumn bouquet, and yet, made quite a statement.
 If you colour your petals with pastels like me, you’ll know that the powder can easily get on your fingers, hands, and your beautiful white wedding dress. Spray the assembled paper flower with a finishing spray to seal it. You can also use a UV protector spray, which also seals the paper while preventing the colour from fading.

paper roses Paper flower tutorial on 100 Layer Cake

DIY Paper Flower Cosmo

 24 gauge stem wire
180 gram florist crepe in Goldenrod, Burgundy, and Bright White
Double-sided crepe in Green Tea/Cypress
Black marker
Maroon or burgundy marker (I used Copic Markers in Peony and colourless blender)
Design Master Colortool Spray in Basil and Burgundy
Red pastel (I used Pan Pastel in Permanent Red Tint)
 Tacky glue

Paper flower tutorial on 100 Layer Cake

Step 1. Prepare the centre pollen by cutting a strip of Golden Rod florist crepe, 1” thick, across the grain. Stretch the strip. Cut a piece off 3” long. On one side, draw a fine line long one edge with a black marker. On the other side, draw a fine line along the same edge with a maroon marker and also paint small lines (about 1/4” long) perpendicular to the edge.
Step 2. Fringe from end to end of the strip by cutting thin slits 1/3 the way down from the coloured edge.

Paper flower tutorial on 100 Layer Cake

Steps 3 + 4. Apply glue to the end of the strip to adhere a 24 gauge stem wire. After the glue dries, dot the rest of the strip with glue and then roll the stem wire along the strip.

Paper flower tutorial on 100 Layer Cake

Steps 5 + 6. To further secure the strip, take a strip of white floral tape or white florist crepe (stretched) and wrap around the base of the fringed centre and down the stem wire. Using your fingers, gently spread the fringe into a half-sphere.

Paper flower tutorial on 100 Layer Cake

Step 7. Cut 8 petals out of stretched burgundy florist crepe. My petals are about 1” wide at the widest, and 2” long along the grain, with a tapered bottom and a wavy top. Further smooth out the crepe by plucking the paper from the bottom to the top using your thumb index finger several times.
Step 8. I like to colour the petals with a marker in a colour slightly darker than the petal. I coloured the bottom and the top edges with a Copic Marker in Peony and used the colourless blender to blend the colour into the petal. After applying the colours, curl the top of the petals. I like to use a 16 gauge stem wire that I had cut on an angle, but I know other paper flower artists like to use a skewer, scissors etc.

Paper flower tutorial on 100 Layer Cake

Steps 9 + 10. Pinch the bottom of the petal and then twist to give the petal a concave shape. Apply glue on the pinched/twisted end and attach all 8 petals to the fringed centre, ensuring that the petals sit below the fringe.

Paper flower tutorial on 100 Layer Cake

Step 11. Cut a piece of double-sided green crepe, 1” long along the grain and 3/4” wide. Cut 8 sepals. I usually fold it in half and cut 4 sepals, which double into 8 once I open it up. Curl slightly if you wish. Glue and wrap the sepal piece around the bottom of the petals with the lighter green tea side facing outward.

Paper flower tutorial on 100 Layer Cake

Step 12. I brush on Pan Pastel in Permanent Red Tint onto each petal from the centre to 2/3 up the petal to finish the colouring.
Step 13. I spray the white stem with Design Master Colortool first in Basil to get a smooth transition from the green sepal to the stem, and then in Burgundy.

fall paper flower bouquet fall paper flower bouquet

Ready to see how Heather’s paper flower bouquet worked with her bridal style (hello, dip-dyed dress!)? Here goes…

fall paper flower bouquet with dip-dyed dress

So incredible! Pop into our gallery below to see more paper flower wedding ideas:

HUGE thanks to Jessie for sharing her tips and tutorial with us! Cakies, would you incorporate paper flowers into your wedding? Let us know!

Photography, Paper Flower Designs, & DIY Tutorial: Jessie Chui of Crafted to Bloom / Wedding Photography: Nicole Berrett Photography