DIY: Tissue Paper Flower Tutorial

5 04 2013

The post popular (and easiest) art project we do with the Humanities in Medicine volunteering program is making tissue paper flowers. This is a great project; it’s low-cost, fast, easy, and anyone can learn to do it. I’ve taught this one to several kids and older patients at the hospital, and most people need some solid instruction for their first go. After that, it’s super simple.

Since I’m always benefiting from other peoples’ online tutorials, I thought I’d make one here with lots of photos since I finally have the time (nothing like taking the day off work to get sun only to have it rainy and cloudy).

Tissue Paper Flowers

Supplies: a pair of scissors, 1 pipe cleaner, and assorted tissue paper (kleenex also works)

Supplies: a pair of scissors, 1 pipe cleaner, and assorted tissue paper (kleenex also works)


First, cut the pipe cleaner in half (unless you want a really long stem, or to wrap the stem around something).

First, cut the pipe cleaner in half (unless you want a really long stem, or to wrap the stem around something).


Now cut the paper. This pack of tissue paper unfolds into rough rectangles that are the right shape, so I just cut on those. You want it to be rectangular. Cut 4 - 5 sheets, approx. the same size. It's okay if some are shorter/wider than the others.

Now cut the paper. This pack of tissue paper unfolds into rough rectangles that are the right shape, so I just cut on those. You want it to be rectangular. Cut 4 – 5 sheets, approx. the same size. It’s okay if some are shorter/wider than the others.


Here are my 5 sheets. (Normally I do 4, but I cut the light pink not realizing it was so close to the white.)

Here are my 5 sheets. (Normally I do 4, but I cut the light pink not realizing it was so close to the white.)


Stack all the pieces together. If they differ in size, try to center them as best as possible. Then, starting at one of the short sides, grasp all the papers in the stack and give a small fold upwards.

Stack all the pieces together. If they differ in size, try to center them as best as possible. Then, starting at one of the short sides, grasp all the papers in the stack and give a small fold upwards.


Flip the stack over. (Now my fold is at the top because of how I flipped it.) Make a fold on that side, the reverse of the first side you folded. The fold should be the same size. Basically, we're going to accordion fold the whole thing.

Flip the stack over. (Now my fold is at the top because of how I flipped it.) Make a fold on that side, the reverse of the first side you folded. The fold should be the same size. Basically, we’re going to accordion fold the whole thing.


You can see the accordion fold here. We're part way through. Do this to the whole thing.

You can see the accordion fold here. We’re part way through. Do this to the whole thing.


Completed accordion fold. Then squish it flat.

Completed accordion fold. Then squish it flat.


Squishing it flat makes a rectangle shape like the one here. Take your 1/2 pipe cleaner and wrap a small part of it around the middle of the rectangle. Twist the end around so that the point of the pipe cleaner doesn't stick out.

Squishing it flat makes a rectangle shape like the one here. Take your 1/2 pipe cleaner and wrap a small part of it around the middle of the rectangle. Twist the end around so that the point of the pipe cleaner doesn’t stick out.


Now the pipe cleaner is wrapped, firmly but with the rectangle still flat. Now we have to fan out the 2 sides of the rectangle. Note: if you want to jazz up the petals, you can shape the ends of the rectangle by cutting with scissors before you fan it out.

Now the pipe cleaner is wrapped, firmly but with the rectangle still flat. Now we have to fan out the 2 sides of the rectangle. Note: if you want to jazz up the petals, you can shape the ends of the rectangle by cutting with scissors before you fan it out.


I've "fanned out" 1/2 of the rectangle. Next I'll do this to the other side. The sides will not meet; that is normal.

I’ve “fanned out” 1/2 of the rectangle. Next I’ll do this to the other side. The sides will not meet; that is normal.


With my "fan out" complete, I now take the top-facing layer of tissue paper (the blue) and, starting with 1 side, gently pull it up away from the others.

With my “fan out” complete, I now take the top-facing layer of tissue paper (the blue) and, starting with 1 side, gently pull it up away from the others.


You can see better from this angle how to pull up the paper. If it tears a little, that's okay.

You can see better from this angle how to pull up the paper. If it tears a little, that’s okay.


Now one side of the blue is completely pulled up. It's time to do the same thing with the blue on the other side.

Now one side of the blue is completely pulled up. It’s time to do the same thing with the blue on the other side.


Ta da! One layer is done. Now do the same with the layer below, etc. until all layers are pulled up.

Ta da! One layer is done. Now do the same with the layer below, etc. until all layers are pulled up.


2 of the layers are pulled up.

2 of the layers are pulled up.


Your flower is complete!

Your flower is complete!


You can make alterations if you like. Sometimes if you pull up the top layer or two now, pushing the others flat a bit, you can trim those shorter. It can make a daffodil effect. You can't see it well here; I'd recommend different colors.

You can make alterations if you like. Sometimes if you pull up the top layer or two now, pushing the others flat a bit, you can trim those shorter. It can make a daffodil effect. You can’t see it well here; I’d recommend different colors.


Here I trimmed the blue shorter and pulled it away from the center, gluing a button to the center.

Here I trimmed the blue shorter and pulled it away from the center, gluing a button to the center.


Easy peasy! You can also make a tissue paper butterfly to sit on the flower but that one’ll have to come later. 🙂

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