How to Make Paper Flowers: Peony
Photography: Addie Juell
Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2014
6 strips raspberry-colored, yellow, or fuchsia tissue paper, 4 by 20 inches, dip-dye bleached
Burgundy gouache paint
1 pom-pom center
Green floral tape
2 leaves with stems, 1 larger, 1 smaller
- Download the tree-peony petal template, and cut it out along the outer edge. Cut 36 3-by-4-inch pieces from the tissue-paper strips, snipping along the sides of the template edge and avoiding the top, and divide them into six stacks of six. Lay the template over one stack so the top of the petal is at the bleached edge of the paper. Trace the template’s scallop design onto the tissue. Cut a scalloped edge along the top of the stack to create six petals. Repeat with the remaining stacks for a total of 36 petals. Place one on top of another to fashion a double petal, fan them apart 1⁄2 inch, and paint a wide stripe of burgundy starting 11⁄2 inches from the top to the base. Repeat to create 18 double-petals. Let dry.
- To give the double-petal a natural-looking curve, add a “dart” by folding it along the stripe, creasing the paper only up to 1⁄2 inch from the top. Pinch the bottom of the petal with your thumb, index, and middle fingers, creating two peaks with a valley along the central crease. The base of the triangular dart should measure about 1⁄4 inch across. Reaching underneath the petal, gently gather the base to make a cupped shape.
- Place the gathered end of a double-petal at the base of the pom-pom center. Attach with tape, wrapping to about 1 inch below the pom-pom’s base.
- Position a second double-petal alongside and slightly below the first, overlapping their edges by 1⁄2 inch in a radiating fashion. Wrap the base with floral tape. Repeat with the remaining double-petals encircling the pom-pom center. The overhead view of the flower should now resemble a spiral. Attach the last double-petal, making sure the overall shape of the bloom is round. Fluff the peony, adjusting petals as needed for a natural look.
- Bend the stem at a 60-degree angle at the flower’s base. Place the smaller leaf stem flush with the peony stem, positioning the leaf 2 inches below the blossom.
- Using floral tape, wrap the flower stem and the smaller leaf stem together, to 2 inches below the leaf’s base. Repeat with the other stem, positioning the larger leaf on the opposite side 2 inches below the smaller one and wrapping to the bottom. Using wire cutters, trim the flower stem to 4 inches below the bottom leaf. Turn the peony upside down and wrap the cut stem end with floral tape to finish.