Tuesday, January 14, 2014

make it: coffee filter flowers

I loooooove fresh flowers. Love them. (Who doesn't, right?) I've told my husband that I'll know we've "made it" when I have a standing order at the florist for fresh flowers delivered every week. Wouldn't that be nice? A girl can dream. 

With that being said, I'm not a huge fan of fake flowers. I just don't feel like they even compare, you know? I do have a soft spot for paper flowers, however. For some reason, in my brain, paper flowers are sweet and whimisical, and can stand-in for the real thing in a pinch. 

So here's my way to make some pretty paper flowers out of coffee filters. I like using coffee filters because they take color really well, so you can make them whatever color you want. I tried a few techniques for coloring, and they all turned out pretty (I'll get to that more at the end). Let's do this.

What you need: 

coffee filters
wooden skewers
floral wire
floral tape
water color paints/food coloring + water

What to do:  


1. Use 4-8 filters per flower. The more filters you use, the more full and bunched the petals will be, like a carnation. Using less filters will make it look more like a peony.

Stack your filters on top of each other and fold them into thirds; folding them in half, in half again, and in half again.

2. Scallop the edges. This gives the petals their shape at the top, so experiment with what look you like. Large scallops or points would make pretty flowers, too.

I set half of my filters aside and cut them the same way, only I made them smaller by taking more off the edges. The flower bunches better and looks more realistic if the filters are smaller in the middle, and I found that taking 2-3 inches off looked best to me.

3. Lay your filters out flat, with the smaller filters on top. Coming from the bottom, poke the floral wire up through the center of the filters. Pull the wire up and poke it back down through the bottom, (kind of how you would sew with a needle) leaving at least a quarter inch between holes (you don't want any ripping!)

Twist the wire in the back to secure it.

4. Now it's time to bunch the filters and shape the flower. Start with the top filter and scrunch it between your fingers. It naturally scrunches pretty well, but you will want to shape it.

Continue scrunching until the flower is completely shaped.

5. Wrap the floral wire around the base of the flower, making sure to keep everything nice and tight.

You can wrap just your base and wire with floral tape, or you can stick a skewer in the base and wrap it as well. I like doing this if the flower will be in a vase, it keeps it nice and upright.

Once things are wrapped nice and tight with the wire, start at the base of your flower and use your floral tape to wrap all the way down the wire (or skewer).

7. Now comes the fun part, the color!

I have experimented with three ways of coloring these:

+ Painting the finished flower with watercolors (as pictured above)
+ Dying the filter in a food coloring/water mixture before you make the flower. Make sure to let the filter dry all the way before using it. (The pinkey-orange filters in this post were made this way)
+ Dipping the finished flower in the food coloring mixture and letting it dry 

All of these methods made pretty flowers. Dipping the finished flower was the fastest way to color it, but one flower did slip out of the floral tape and fell apart, so keep that in mind. It was fun to mix food coloring and get varied colors on the filters, but I also love the look of the ones that have been hand-painted. They look the most real to me and dry pretty stiff, so they might be more protected from little hands.  

Now you can enjoy some long-lasting flowers in your home. Maybe they can help chase away some January blues? 


  1. Those are so fun. And darn, I just threw away some coffee filters I had laying around when I cleaned out my craft cupboard the other day.

    1. Thanks, Heather! And isn't that how it always works with cleaning out a craft closet? You hold on to something forever, and right when you get rid of it, you find a use! At least that's how it always works for me :)


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