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Paper Flower Materials Basics
You'll need a selection of good quality crepe paper. I recommend either German or Italian crepe.
There are various weights of paper available, and you should definitely give them all a try to find your favourite! But to get started, I suggest you use the German Heavyweight Crepe if you can get it. Italian 180gsm is a good alternative if not.
You'll want a petal colour and a green for your leaves. It's also best to match the green with your floral tape if you can.
You can use either tacky glue or hot glue for making paper flowers. I generally prefer to use tacky glue as it gives you more time to work and adjust, plus you don't burn your fingers on the glue gun!
You need a good quality pair of sharp scissors. My favourites are the ones with the fine point which cut right to the end of the blade.
It's also worth getting a blade sharpener for when the blades get dull, otherwise you may get rough edges to your petals.
I also recommend the scissors with a spring action, and/or with no finger loops as they're alot more comfy to cut multiple petals with.
Used to cut your wires to length. These don't need to be anything special, just regular household pliers from a hardware store will work great.
Either paper or cloth covered floral wire. My favourite is the cloth, but both work well.
You'll want a range of thicknesses, ideally from 16 gauge (thickest) up to 24 gauge (thinnest).
16 or 18 gauge are great for stems.
22 or 24 gauge are perfect for leaves and petals where you need a finer detail.
Green is the most common colour, and they typically are 18" long. However you can also get these in white which can be useful for light coloured petals, and occasionally the white wires are available in longer lengths too.
We use floral tape to wrap the stems of paper flowers, and also to attach various parts of the flower together.
To get the most realistic looking paper flowers you'll need a selection of different greens and browns, ideally as close in colour to your crepe paper as you can get.
However, to get started, just one roll of green with a similar crepe paper colour will be fine.
Expanding Your Materials
Pan Pastels are a great way to make your paper flowers look more realistic. It's amazing the different adding just a little bit can make.
You'll need a tool to apply it with, make up sponges work great and are cheap and easy to get hold of! You'll need one sponge per pastel colour. Or you can buy specific artists brushes to use with them too.
Pan Pastels can be expensive, but they last for a VERY long time. So choose your colours wisely to make sure you get the most use out of them (greens, browns and pinks/purples give alot of versitality.)
Alcohol inks are a great and relatively inexpensive way to dye your crepe paper.
You can add shading and gradients to make your paper blooms look more realistic, or you can completely change the colour of the paper so that it's no longer a standard off the shelf shade.
Althought the bottles are small, they last a long time.
You'll also need some isopropyl alchohol to mix it with, which is available from most pharmacies or grocery stores. I also recommend a mop brush (large fluffy artists paint brush) to apply it with, and a jar or pot to mix in (I use an old jam jar/mason jar.)
I love to add a layer of Mod Podge to most of my leaves, the extra layer of glossiness makes them look alot more realistic, and also helps to make them a bit more durable too.
Depending which crepe paper you use, sometimes the colour can fade if your paper flowers are displayed in direct sunlight. (Pro tip, German heavyweight crepe is colour fast and so doesn't fade!)
If you're using another paper, particularly the Italian, it's best to spray your paper flowers with a layer of UV Protector spray to help reduce the fading.
It can also be helpful to use a layer of UV spray if you've added alot of colour to your paper, such as pan pastels or alcohol inks. Even if you're using the German crepe, the additional materials you add are not necessarily colour fast too.