A Handmade Wedding: Paper Flowers

A Handmade Wedding: Paper Flowers

I know, I know….what has taken so long?!  It’s way too much to explain and it’s not all my story so I will have to leave it at “life happens”. But here, finally, are the beginnings of the details from our April handmade wedding.  There are a SO many photos and projects….I will do my best to keep it flowing over several different posts in the next few weeks.  The last 3 months of 2013 have been all about confusion, transition, adaptation and acceptance.

Paper Flowers and Cloud Documents – that was what the first three months of this year were all about.  What started with a Pinterest idea, a roll of butcher paper, some cardboard, a glue gun and an Excel spreadsheet ended with what we feel like was a handmade tribute to a wonderful couple who deserved a truly special event to start off their married life.

The groom is now on a one year deployment in Afghanistan.  They both deserve our prayers and our thanks.  DSCN2977 (2)DSCN2320The venue was perfect, our hosts were easy to work with and the food was great. Our number one issue was the huge space we had to fill in this banquet room, how to make it more intimate and give it some wow factor.The enormous span of drop ceiling, along with the generic furnishings, made the space seem more like office space than wedding venue.

ceremony space b4

The windows were nice as they let in a lot of light but there were two gigantic industrial A/C units mounted on the roof of the lower level that just killed the view in a major way. The string lights didn’t quite cut it either. Our budget was tight and our timeline short (3 months) but our creativity was high so we got on Pinterest and started the hunt.


The original flower “pin” was for something not nearly as big as the ones we ended up making – 60 inches in diameter (almost as big as the tables they hung over – all 16 of them!)  And at first, we were thinking maybe a swath of them on the wall might be fun.  But the more we thought, the more we figured they were the perfect distraction for all of that ceiling.


The prototype flower was made with a cereal box base but when we realized how big and how many we were going to make we opted for a large cardboard shipping box found out in the garage.


Our idea was to hang one over each table so we had to devise a way to a) hang them and b) make them hang straight.  We tried a few different configurations that were pretty iffy but in the end came up with 6 eyelets placed around the circle in pairs and using one continuous piece of fishing line looped through them attached to a ceiling hook.  We did all of the prep and measuring beforehand so the day we loaded in, all we had to do was hang them from the hook and make a few tilting adjustments.


Next it was paper ripping for hours…we were counting how many of each sized petals to make one flower – approximately 40 – and then multiply that by 16 and start ripping and stacking different sizes for each flower and putting them with a circle base.  This took a few days with lots of breaks for phone calls, emails, and spreadsheet updating.


After tearing all of the lengths, the ends were then hand torn to for the rounded edges of the petals.  We could do probably 4 petals at a time.  Each petal was “scrunched” at the not rounded end to form the folds in the petal. Then it was “Let the gluing commence!”  I was the official gluer and T was the official paper ripper/tallier.  I  believe we used somewhere close to 65 extra long glue sticks for these flowers!


The simplicity of the projects was remarkable.  It just was time consuming….


Glue! Glue!


and more glue!


Big globs of glue, scrunched up end of paper petal, paint stirrer stick to press it down, next petal.  After making it around once, the next row of slightly smaller petals were glued until the center was reached.


Then a long (3 – 4 feet) of 4 inch wide butcher paper was torn, crumpled and then smoothed out and rolled up loosely like a cinnamon roll.  There is a certain amount of twisting, folding and fluffing of the paper as it is turned and it is stapled every so often along the way to hold it together.  The photo above is the only shot of the strip form of the center but it is after the centers had been painted.


The bride wore a traditional long white dress, the bridesmaids wore short black dresses and the color all came in with the flowers and decorations in hot pink, bright yellow and orange.  The paper ceiling flower centers were coordinated to match – 1/3 orange, 1/3 yellow and 1/3 hot pink.


We had them all rolled and took them outside to spray with liquified (watered-down) spray paints and fabric dyes – whatever we had on hand.

day 70

The colors came out quite saturated and intense – exactly what we were hoping for!  Storing and transporting them was a whole different challenge.


It’s a flower with feet!  We had several helpers and a covered pick-up truck bed to get them all there (many trips)…


Placed them all on their respective table scattered according to our color plan….


Then hung each one.  Thanks to our pre-strung grommet plan, the whole hanging of the flowers only took about an hour….

DSCN3847 In retrospect, it would have been nice to make them even bigger but then we would have needed a few more months.  The room was SO huge, and it would have been nice to have the flowers make even more of a statement but all in all we were pretty happy with the idea and execution.  We coordinated the centerpieces on the tables with the flower floating above.


Using an oversized (14 inches tall by 10 inches in diameter) martini glass filled with water, we floated a Gerbera daisy the color of the flower center above.  A waterproof tea light submerged under a collection of clear glass and white marbles and glass fish cast a subtle glow.


Pine boughs sprayed metallic silver, tea lights with tissue paper sleeves in glass votive cups, black and white photos of the bride and groom tied with orange, yellow and pink ribbons embellished with charms all set on a hot pink fabric square completed the tablescape.  Total cost under $25 per table and the photos were available for the guests to take home.


Can you tell this was taken during the festivities?  It was hard to be the aunt, the mistress of ceremonies, the decorator and the photographer of all things crafty and have FUN!

Day 96

Of course, a couple of aspects we hadn’t considered in all of our planning was to add ice to the martini glasses for beer chilling!!! Or the thirsty guest who couldn’t get to the bar quick enough…


Who knew?! It was all good, sort of a sign of how much fun everyone seemed to have.


It wasn’t just giant paper flowers, by the way, there were also lots of little flowers….everywhere. It was our theme, sort of.


Lots and LOTS of little flowers…small, medium, large and even really teeny tiny little flowers!  That’s our pack of Precision Placement Tools (aka wooden skewers) critical in the placement of small scrunched petals into hot glue….



Yes, discovered that low temp is best.

DSCN3645 (2)


Mixed with book text for the photo booth banner…


Floor vases for the ceremony space….

cigar box

The ring “barrier’s” (as he called himself!) box….


Family row designators…and more that will have to wait for the next post.  Thanks for stopping by and your patience while all things post-wedding got sorted out.

Life is good!



9 Responses »

      • It was time consuming, no question, but we were 100% in our element. Happy to be figuring out the details and creating artful elements with ordinary things. Really we had so much fun we need to find another worthy project…

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  5. Hi!!

    I want to make this and have a similar vision for my wedding in August! Got how you scrunched stapled and glued the petals on but I have a few questions. Where did you get the paper ? And the cardboard piece how did eventually hang them?! Did you loop through all holes and eventually bring it to the center somehow??? As many details and measurements would be greatly appreciated !!!! Thank you!!

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