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Making Paper Flora

Lesson 12 from: Paper Crafting: Skills and Technique

Robert Mahar

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Lesson Info

12. Making Paper Flora

Lesson Info

Making Paper Flora

We're going to be constructing a garden of paper flowers, two completely different techniques were going to go back into our party session to, and we're going to show you what you can do with those flowers to create some fun and festive party decor for your next celebration, and then we're going to venture into the world of paper mache a and we're going to explore the sculptural possibilities of paper, so let's begin with the materials that we have at hand. Now you see in front of you, you have some colored text, wait and cover wait paper, and then we've also got some crepe paper. We're going to set that crepe paper aside for the time being, and we're going to get to that in just a bit. But what? I want to start with our some giant paper flowers created with simple eight and a half by eleven sheets of paper. Now you can really use any kind of paper for these. I have done these out of simple and inexpensive construction paper. What you see before you is a little bit nicer text wait pape...

r for the petals, and then we've got some heavier cover wait paper that we're going to be using for the leaves. Now how I came upon this particular style of flower, I was approached by a nev ent planner ah, while back, who was planning a new year's eve ball, and she had in her mind this huge floral backdrop that she wanted to have in the entryway for her event, and what she sent over to me, where these pictures from some of the amazing fashion runway shows where the set designer had built this monochromatic floral set that cascaded down this stairway and all along the runway and she's like I want that like, ok, so what you said about trying to figure out how to make that happen and what it came across is actually really pretty simple and it's very versatile on the thing that I love about this is there's no set pattern that you have to follow you. You are really developing your own templates for these and so ladies in the studio, what I'm going to do is I'm going to kind of walk through how I designed the templates, and then what I've given you just to save on time this morning are set of temple it's already traced out for you, but typically what you need are templates in three different sizes, and you can see here that I have. Three different sizes in front of me the beauty of these type of flowers is that you can create the petals in almost any shape you'd like. You can see I've done it here with a rounded top and sort of tapered, narrow sides, you could totally change the profile and thus the look of your flower if you wanted to go perhaps up to a point or add some scalloping along the edges, and if you saw the extra promotional video that we put together for this class, we did some paper succulence, and they were on a much smaller scale. Most of them had blade like leaves, but they just sort of illustrates the diversity that you can create within this particular craft. So now, if I were at home and I were trying to decide how I wanted tio create these templates, I would take a blank piece of paper and a pencil and what I've used for these are just simple plates, because we need three sizes, you could very easily do a dinner plate, a salad plate and maybe a saucer. You could also trace the tops of various lids from containers in your pantry really, just start looking around your house for anything that might provide that nice curvilinear edge for the upper portion, so what I've done simply is I'm placing this on my piece of paper and I'm tracing that upper portion, and then I'm going to take a straight edge ruler, and I'm gonna line it up with the side of that, and I'm just going to draw a tapered line down towards the center. It's really not an exact science, it's very forgiving. You don't need to worry about measurements for this particular craft. I wanted to be more or less directly across on the other line I drew and tape of that down to the center as far as the tapering at the bottom you can do that is wider, his narrow issued like, and as we get into the project, you'll see how that sort of affects the shape of the pedal so you can see it more or less looks like this one that I have at the ready, but it's for very simple to put together. So for those of us in the studio let's, go ahead and just start to go ahead and cut out these templates with just a regular pair of fizz ear's I have traced these onto a little bit heavier weight paper, and that typically is a good idea if you're going to be tracing these multiple times, it's good to have a paper that is going toe hold up to a little bit more wear and tear. And again, we're really not going for perfection on these. I think we're going to be creating multiple pedals and all of them and mass really hide any of the little imperfections that you might catch as you're drawing your temple it's or cutting them out. So I've done my large size pedal I'm going to move on now to my medium and again, if you watched yesterday's session with paper, making all of my paper scraps now go into what used to be my recycling bin and is now my paper making been because all of these little scraps and bits can be incorporated back into some beautiful sheets of handmade paper. Set those aside and move on now to my smallest template. And like I said, I am using three different size templates to create this flower. Once we put it together and you get a general idea of the construction, you may want to go back and add in some additional template. It's some additional sizes make the flower a little bit fuller a little bit larger. There's lots of room for creativity here. All right, so I've got those three I'll tut out sethi's aside with them in my recycling now. For the flowers that were creating today I think that I misspoke a little bit earlier I said that I was using text wait paper for the pedals this is actually a cover wait paper for the large scale you can create the's in really any sort of scale and because I'm doing the really large ones sometimes the cover wait paper which is a little bit sturdier helps the pedals maintain their form better and I found it did a lot of these in advance of today's class and ship them up for the next parties segment and I have never shipped them before I was a little bit concerned about how they might travel but the ones that were done in the cover stock really traveled well if you have to ship these off for an event or or put them in storage for a season depending on how you're using them now for the pedals the large size pedals we're going to need five of those the medium sized pedal we're going to need three and the smallest size pedal we're going to need three now a little trip tio save you having to cut all of these out individually I typically will take two to three sheets of paper stacked them together I'll take one of my templates and I will trace it on the very top stack so ladies in the audience you're more than welcome to go ahead and follow along with me doing this step as I do it, so I've gone head and trace that template on my top sheet of my stack of three pieces, and then I'm taking some binder clips. These are a standard office supply that you confined in any office supply store, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to take them and I'm gonna pin one along the base and then I'm gonna take my second one and I'm going to pin it along the top and what this is going to do, it's going to allow me to cut out multiple petals at one time without the paper shifting because I often find that that it was a difficulty, I'd shift it, and then I'd end up with three sheets of paper and three different shaped templates because the paper all skewed so ifyou've done that go ahead and cut those out. So again, for the smallest size pedal, we only need three of those and again, and I've said it a couple of times and I'll say it again. This is a very forgiving craft when you're cutting it out, if you get off the lines or anything along those lines, it does not matter it's going to look great, so now that have cut out those small ones, I'm going to set that aside. Remove my binder clips. I'm going to take another stack of this beautiful violet card stock three pieces and I'm going to trace my medium pedal on the top. Go ahead, place that binder clip right at the taper base of the template and then along the top of the page, cut that out. You do want to be working with a relatively sharp pair of scissors for these, especially three pieces of card stock takes a little bit of muscle to cut through, and a really great aid is a sharp pair of scissors and just in general, in your crafting toolbox. It's, good to have a pair of paper scissors that are designated for paper only. Um, you can very easily dull your senses by using them for multiple different materials. It's also a good idea to have a pair for fabricas well, and just set those aside. All right, so we've got the three medium size pedals now, and we're going to move on to our large one because we do need five of these. I'm going to cut these in two sections, a stack of three in a stack of two now I was talking yesterday about there are some craft projects that you really need to pay meticulous attention to. And those would be things like the stamp carving where you're dealing with a craft knife and you really just need to have your eye on that blade at all times. However, a project like this is perfect for getting that stack of paper beside you and really plowing through some of your favorite movies that's how when I am making these four larger events, I managed to get through a whole series of television, which I kind of love same whenever I'm doing stuff I'm always watching it's something that's like, so my friends are like, I'm not a big tv person and then they're somehow I watching exactly when it's fun for me too, especially if I have to pay a little bit of attention to put in some of my favorite movies that I've watched so many times before I don't need to really focused in with them, you laser precision on them, I can just have it as some fun background noise. All right, I've got the first three of the large pedals and I am now going to do the final two so again stacking your paper together, centering and tracing your template on the very top sheets and then just is an aid we're taking these standard office binder clips clipping them at the tapered base of the template and at the very top of the sheet all right, wait so we can set our finer clips aside, put our paper scraps in our papermaking been, and we can also just set our temple it's aside for the time being. So if you know that you were going to be doing multiples of these, obviously you can kind of do it, uh, sort of assembly line style, where you cut piles of petals first, excuse me and just kind of have all of those materials ready to go before you move on to the next step. So how are we doing? O ur, speedy guy, thank you. Okay, great. So what we're going to do now in order to turn these two dimensional pedals three dimensional, we're going to add some cuts and the way we're going to do this is we'll start let's start with our smallest pedal first, and I'm just going to take my scissors and in the very center of the taper bottom, I'm going to cut a slit and I'm basically doing it blade length s o the blade length of a standard pair scissors there really is no right or wrong if you want to cut it a little deeper or a little bit shorter, not a problem, so basically it's, just this simple slit in the bottom of your pedal, so once you've done that for your small paddle, lt's go on and we're going to do this for all three sizes of petals, creating just a vertical cut in the very center of the taper base. Now for the medium and large petals, I'm going just a little bit deeper. You can see my blade length right next to the cot have gone just a tiny bit longer, and then I'm going to do the same thing with with the large sized pedals and the final two of the large size. All right, so now the magic behind this little cut is the following. If you take these two flax of paper on either side of your cut and overlap them, all of a sudden your pedal becomes three dimensional, and it stands up almost in a cup like form, so we're going to be constructing all of our petals in that three dimensional manner so that we can then construct them into our final flower. So let's, start with our largest size, and what we're going to be doing is this forms the outer ring of our petals, so we want them to be fairly open and in order to achieve that pretty open look, we're just gonna be overlapping those two sides a little bit, so typically I'll take this point of the one that's in my right hand, and I'll slide it over to the outer edge. Of the other that makes sense slide all the way over. Once you've done that, I'm just going to staple it twice to secure it. Let's do that, we're going to do that obviously a couple more times, but I'm sliding it over until it hits that outer edge, adding a couple of staples, we're going to go ahead and do that, then for all five of those large petals. Now, as you do two, three, four, a dozen of these, you're going to start to play around a little bit with sort of the angle at which you overlap, those two flaps and the angle that it creates for the pedal and you can make them a little bit more open, you can create them a little bit more closed oftentimes when you're doing these in a group, it's nice to have a variety so that, you know, like flowers in real life, they're not all open to the same degree, and so you'll have some that are closed a little bit more tightly, some that are a little bit more open, so we've got our little stack of five will set those aside, and we're going to move on now to our medium size petals, so for these, we want them to stand up a little bit taller then. Our first round, so we're going to overlap those two sides just a little bit more and so what you can see him doing is I'm overlapping, I'm going beyond that outer edge, and when you stand them side by side, you can see it stands up just a little bit taller and again, this is not an exact science. You just play around with those overlapping of those two pieces until you feel like you've achieved an angle that you're happy with. So go with that. Go ahead then, and we will complete this with all three of our medium size. I do love creating these large ones because you get to use a standard stapler. I just think it makes for really simple construction. Um, in our next segment, when you'll see some of the ones that have created in a much smaller scale, staples were a little bit too large, and I did have to move on to a glue gun for those which is a little bit more tedious but very effective. Still. All right, we're down to our final small size pedal. These ones are inner ring of petals, and we want them to stand up. Tallest out of any of the three, so we're going to go ahead and just overlap those even more. And so when you see set nets to the medium one it's a little bit higher pitch, so play around with those a little bit I mean, you kind of see, I overlapped these quite a bit, um, but just find an angle that you're happy with it go ahead and secure those in place, all right, well done and you can see it really doesn't take much time at all to put those all together. So what we want to do now that we have all of our pattern pedal forms is we want to construct constructing the basis of the flower and to do this, we are going to be using hot glue, and so you're going to take the first two of your large pedals, and I'm going to apply a little bit of hot glue here at the base. I'm going to take a second pedal and I'm just going to overlap it slightly and kind of get an idea of the overlap there, and you can kind of play around that as you can with that as you continue to construct thumb, get a few extra it's always good to have your extra glue sticks at the ready, you will likely be going through a few of them today. Once you've connected the first two pedals, go ahead at a little bit more hot glue on there, and we're going to move on to peddle number three again overlapping it just slightly new glue. Stick into my gun we've got two more petals to go, so go ahead, continue to add some glue with that base. Add in the fourth of your large petals again, just overlapping it slightly and you can start to see our flower base forming here, and then we're going to add a little bit more hot glue for our final of the five large pedals doesn't take a lot of hot glue. You just want to make sure that there's enough there to hold it securely. It goes without saying, hot glue is hot, so please just be mindful. Um, usually a little scalding on the fingertips is inevitable, and once you've got those three five petals together, you can kind of see we've started to form this cup shape that really forms a lovely outer ring of our pedal or of our flour. So now we're going to start moving on to our medium size and for these typically what I will do is I will hold the pedal in my hand, apply a little of the hot glue to the underside. Of it and I will press it down into the center sort of positioning it mme or less between two of the larger pedals you want to create a little bit of um variation in the patterning of your petals as you're placing them into the interior robert do you find that whole clue is the best thing would or really any type of well you know what I have tried it with standard white craft glue which obviously drives a little bit slower and it doesn't have the same immediate hold so I often find especially when I'm working with the heavier weight cover stock paper that I've had the best results with the hot glue it just has that immediate hold and dry so very quickly hot glue guns air really inexpensive and are also another thing that you really should always having your craft tool kit okay we're going to go ahead then in place our second one in and you can see I'm spacing it out just a little bit further I think I had on the previous one holding it there just for a second allowing that glue to set um and I was just telling jake a oh it sets up very quickly which is why it's ideal for this type of project and then we'll move on to our third of the medium sized petals and I stick that down in the center give it a little hole over a hundred something tell me sometimes you'll find that goes this is high camp yes and you can find there is just like, regular in high temp there's indifference and when I was asking somebody if you were doing to say for a wedding and it was going to sit in your car and in arizona it might kind of fall apart if it's not a high temp oh, that is such a you know I'm talking about because it would it would take a lot to really melt this down, right? So if you have a low templin that's usually made for kids yeah so it's a little safer your project may tend to fall apart in the heat of your car that's such a good tip and a lot of the most most basic glue guns will come as the hot but if you get some of the little bit more advanced ones, they'll have a little switch for the low in the hot. So that's a really good tip that's a good thing to know when it comes down, I think to what the glue is as far as how it manages thie enough to stays together, I agree, I agree all right friends, we're down to the final three we're going to stick those in now and again we're just going position those between our medium petals kind of filling out the interior of our flower really good tip, though, about the hot glue, kathy, because, you know you think about it. You go to all of this work to put together a project like this. The last thing you want to do is have it fall apart on you, your show and it's a really hot day. That would be the worst arms start falling off your yells, fighting really that's, the last thing you want to have happen.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Robert Mahar - Paper Flower Directions.pdf
Robert Mahar - Paper Garland Directions.pdf
Robert Mahar - Paper Marbling Directions.pdf

free bonus materials

Robert Mahar - Course Supplies List.pdf
Robert Mahar - Syllabus.pdf
Robert Mahar - Letters Sample.PDF

Ratings and Reviews

user 1400000665814257

This class if filled with new and fun ways to use the paper that we have in stock. In addition, the paper technique that utilizes Suminagashi Ink is mind blowing! Anyone who loves to create beautiful things will enjoy this class. Robert is one who is an exceptional instructor, in that when he is demonstrating a new technique, he has an ability to use clear concise language. I have enjoyed the class, and plan to use the gorgeous floral pieces in my studio and home, along with creating a lovely party. Thank you!

a Creativelive Student

Really enjoyed watching this two day Paper Crafting course with Robert Mahar. It was full great paper techniques and inspiration. Roberts has such a calm and positive teaching style. Watching him work through step by step of each project you really pick up lots of wonderful tips and tricks of the trade. Highly recommend it.


Mr. Mahar is a wonderful teacher. His teaching style is as artful as his creations. I appreciate the beauty of the simplicity of his projects and delivery. Bravo!

Student Work