I’ve always been envious of anyone who can create beautiful things out of paper and make it look effortless. Paper aeroplanes and fortune tellers (who else made those at school?) I could make, but it was time to try something a bit more advanced.
My friend Julie designs and makes – by hand – the most beautiful bespoke wedding stationery. For a recent wedding, she was commissioned to make paper flowers for buttonholes and corsages; I asked if she could teach me how to do it. On Day 16 of #100DaysNoTV we made a whole bunch together.
little button nose
Julie and I have known each other since sixth form and for a while lived in the same village. We share a passion for football, tea and giggling over a glass of wine. I love pretty things and Julie makes them. No football today, but we managed to include the rest. 🙂
A graphic designer by trade, Julie had long wanted to start her own business where she could offer a bespoke stationery service, in particular for weddings. In 2009, Julie realised her dream and Little Button Nose was born.
Julie certainly has artistic talent in her genes. Her grandad was Arnolds Mazitis, a famous Latvian painter. They used to paint together and, every now and then, he was known to do her art homework – so cool!
I love Julie’s style: she combines hand drawn elements with computer illustration and design. Literally everything is lovingly created by her fair hands: drawing, folding, tying, sticking, cutting, sewing . . . the lot!
Oh, and she has the most dreamy studio, as pretty and inviting as a sweet shop with drawers, boxes and jars filled with all sorts of treasures. I had a great time browsing!
In case you’d like to make your own paper flowers, below are instructions; there is a lot of scope for you to adapt and completely personalise the flowers, which is what I particularly like about this project.
We had a mix of card, some printed with Julie’s signature design, ‘Dinky Floral’, and some with lyrics from a song that is special to Rob and me.
materials & tools
A4 300gsm card – plain or patterned
Scissors or a cutting machine
Metal ruler – or any straight edge that won’t be damaged by your knife
Superglue, or similar
Thin wire, approx 18cm lengths – florist 26 gauge stub wire is perfect (google it 😉 )
Green non-adhesive tape – we used florist stem tape
the how to
Don’t worry – it looks more complicated than it is. Honest!
1. Create your flower template: the optimum number of petals is six – fewer petals means fewer layers for your flower. There are many templates online, or you could draw freehand. Copy or draw six flower shapes on to your A4 card.
2. Print your sheet(s) and cut out the flower shapes. Our flowers had five layers, and we needed three flower shapes for each complete flower. Julie has a Silhouette cutting machine but scissors and a steady hand work perfectly. 🙂
3. Lay out three flower shapes on your cutting mat. You will be making different cuts to each using the craft knife and ruler (or other straight edge).
i. On the first shape, make a small cut between two petals to the centre of the flower.
ii. With the second, cut between two petals to the centre and then do the same on the other side of that petal – this removes one petal completely, which you need to keep.
iii. Do the same with the third but this time remove two petals – you will need to keep both pieces.
4. From here it gets a bit fiddly, and tricky to explain! After step 3 you should have five different sized pieces.
i. The three largest pieces (with four, five and six petals) individually twist inwards to form a cone, so the two petals nearest the cut edges overlap. Make sure your pattern remains on the inside. Apply a small amount of glue to the petals that overlap, and press together for a few seconds to stick.
ii. Slight variation with the two smallest pieces (with one and two petals) which just twist slightly so there is a small overlap, and then apply glue as above.
At the end of step 4 you will have five flower ‘cones’.
5. Once the glue has had time to dry a little, take a pencil and holding it lengthways on the outside of each petal, gently fold the petals outwards, over the pencil. Repeat on every petal. This will help to open out your flower.
6. Next we make the stem: bend a piece of wire in half, thread on a bead (we used a pearl bead) so it sits in the middle and twist the wire from the base of the bead to the end. Now you have all the pieces you need to construct your flower!
- Snip a small piece off the bottom of each cone, so that you can thread the stem through – not too much at first, you can always cut extra if you need to.
- Starting with the smallest layer, thread the stem through the hole making sure the bead sits nicely in the middle. Add each layer in turn, securing each to the previous layer with a little bit of glue where they touch. Hold securely while the glue gets to work. You may need to make the holes slightly larger so that each layer sits nicely.
- Your flower will be looking lovely, but there is one final touch. Get your non-adhesive tape and, starting at the bottom of the stem, completely cover the wire by twisting it all the way up the stem and around the base of your flower, covering any evidence of the cut holes. And, you’re done!
How does it look? Here are ours. 🙂
One of the things I loved about making these flowers is that they all look brilliant, but all slightly different. Every single one is unique: the beauty of a handmade piece. 🙂
If you want to make your own, you should go for it. They’re so satisfying to make and you can use them to decorate your home, as a gift to make someone smile or you could wear them! Please send me a photo of your creations or tag me on social media.
I shall be doing a lot more paper craft from now on. It’s unbelievably therapeutic – it should be prescribed on the NHS!
Bye for now!