How to Make Paper Carnations From Tissue Paper

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In this post, I’m going to show you how to make paper carnations.  In fact, I’m going to show you how to make these carnations from inexpensive tissue paper! Let’s get started.  

how to make paper carnations
Tissue paper carnations

If you are a crafter, I’m sure you have seen these tutorials for paper flowers.  They are quite impressive.  After seeing them over and over and over again, I finally took the hint and decided to make my own. 

But truthfully I wasn’t really happy with any of the tutorials out there. A lot of them seem too complicated.  Or need too many materials. I mean, I’m just trying to make some simple tissue paper carnations! I don’t need to make this harder than it is.  

paper carnations tutorial

The paper flowers that really impress me are the ones made by Lia Griffith, but unless you are willing to buy a membership, you can’t really get the tutorials for them.   Actually she has a paper flower book, too.

Anyways, I basically took a bunch of paper flower methods and combined them into my own version.  And I’m pretty happy with the result. My daughter came home from school and said, “oh mom those are so pretty.” 

tissue paper carnations in a bud vase

That works for me!

And actually, these look pretty realistic (and if you know me, you know I’m a stickler for realistic-ness).  

Next time, I’m going to try this technique with crepe paper, which is typically what’s used with making paper flowers.

So I’m excited to show this one guys! 

Materials Needed 

materials needed for paper flowers - decor hint

How to Make Paper Carnations 

I have a couple of tips.  To me, the most realistic looking tissue paper carnations, and the easiest to replicate,  are the white ones with the colored borders. The colored borders seem to give the flowers some dimension.

The solid colored ones can also be pretty realistic but you have to find the right color of tissue paper.  Paper Source, Michael’s and Amazon are good sources for tissue paper.

I recommend you go to your grocery store or local florist and take some photos of the carnations they offer.  Or buy some to bring home! If you copy the colors of the real ones, you will get more of a realistic result.  Plus, it just helps to have a little flower model there.

Another tip is to absolutely use pinking shears! Pinking shears help you achieve those textured flower petals. Yes, you could do this with regular scissors but it would take more time and be a little more annoying, in my opinion. And I’m all about keeping these projects NOT annoying.

pinking shears up close

So with those two tips in mind, let’s get started.

Step 1: Make Layers of Tissue Paper

This isn’t an exact science, and I’m not about to tell you to get all technical here. But here’s what I did. I cut four pieces of tissue paper into 10×10 inch squares. Then, I laid all the squares on top of each other.

From here, I folded the tissue paper in half, and then in half again. You should have a 5×5 inch little square of multiple layers of tissue paper.

Step 2: Cut Circles

cut circles using pinking shears

With your pinking shears, cut a free form circle out of the tissue paper square. My circle isn’t perfect and I did that on purpose. The larger your make your circles, the larger your flowers are going to be.

Circles cut with pinking shears

Ok, you should now have a bunch of circles with a jagged edge.

Step 3: Attach your circles together in the middle

Because I wanted a little stem, I used floral wire to connect my circles. Just poke one end of your wire through all the layers and then poke the other end through and twist the two wires together underneath the flower.

It can be a little tricky to poke the wire through so you might have to take a few layers at a time here. You could also staple the center of the circles together and then somehow attach a stem to your flower later.

Step 4: Color Your Flower and Create Petals

If you are making paper carnations with colored borders, you can use a marker to color the edges of the paper. If you are making solid flowers, you can move on to creating your petals.

color edges of tissue paper for craft flowers

In order to make your petals, start with the very top piece of tissue paper and pull it up towards the middle, pinching the layer together. Continue to do this same technique with every single layer.

create carnation petals with each tissue paper layer - paper crafts
making paper flowers

You can also touch up each layer as you go. I used my pinking shears again on each layer as needed, and touched up the colored edges again too.

touch up paper flower as needed

Don’t be afraid to rough up your tissue paper petals. To me, when they have some wrinkles they look a little better. Don’t forget, crepe paper is textured!

The fun part is really seeing your flower take shape with each layer. It’s kind of cool.

Step 5: Apply floral tape around the stem

Finally, I took some green floral tape and twisted it around the bare floral wire I used for the stem. It gives the flower a little more stability and it’s just pretty.

apply floral tape around wire stem - making paper craft flowers

That’s it! You did it! You know how to make paper flowers!

Here are some ideas for using these paper flowers:

  • In a bud vase or as part of a floral centerpiece
  • Paper flower garland
  • Gift toppers
  • Christmas Tree Picks
  • Wall Decor (make some large ones!)

As I said earlier, I definitely want to try this craft again using crepe paper. I’m thinking poppies next?

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Thanks for visiting today!

xo Karen