I don't know about you but when I think of crepe paper flowers I think of fiestas, back yard parties and grade school art projects. My mind's eye simply could not envision anything elegant coming from anything made from crepe paper. Then I get a private commission from a lovely bride who thinks outside the box. She is a vegan and a conservationist and a really swell chick and isn't afraid to go non-trad with her wedding. She wanted a paper bouquet...red roses to be exact.
So with my usual flower making techniques that I use when making fabric flowers, I set about making some out of paper. I tried different papers...experimenting with different thicknesses and colors as well as different types of roses. None came out like I wanted...they looked too 'crafty'...not elegant enough. Then I tried crepe paper. What a gorgeous paper to work with. We all know someone who is chilled, happy, fun to be with and easy to get along with, who never gives you agro right? Well, that is crepe paper. It's yielding, fluid yet tough, pulls, stretches and does exactly as it's told. I love it. And it makes perfectly gorgeous and elegant flowers. (Note: Make sure you use the top quality Italian crepe paper. The cheap 'party streamer' kind is thin, looks cheap and rips easily). The traditional rose I made looked too uptight so I decided to make a rose/peony hybrid...which is basically a peony petal template without the jagged top.
Each petal was hand cut, stretched and shaped and glued around a stamen, layer by layer, then reinforced with floral tape. I used a thick florist wire to start the making of the stamen then after I added a few layers of petals I added a 10" long pipe cleaner to the wire and then wrapped the two together with floral tape. This gives the stem some girth.
Oh, and I also made a matching button hole/boutonniere for the groom which will look good against his black suit. I am pretty pleased with the results and astonished at how real it looks. I'm now in love with crepe paper and can't wait to explore more ways of using it in flower making. I'd love to try it on flowers that are difficult to make with fabric...such as sweet peas or giant sunflowers. The only problem is sourcing decent colors here in the UK. Most of the quality crepe papers I have seen on offer are in bright or garish colors. Another challenge is...color runnage. If you use a bright color crepe paper to make flowers, please note that the color will run when it gets wet. If you are making a bridal bouquet, the bride must be told this so color doesn't get on her dress. Fortunately, the bride I am working with is aware of this and it didn't put her off the idea of big red roses! I'm also going to experiment with hand painting on white or ivory crepe paper and will keep you posted on the results.
Love and Light