How to Make a Giant Magical Paper Flower Poppy Garden

A Giant Magical Paper Poppy Garden?  I know–what a strange Tangled Nest post.  But somehow I volunteered to make the poppies for the set of Claire’s school production of The Magical Land of Oz.  Remember the poppies in service to the Wicked Witch (played by my daughter!) that lulled Dorothy and friends into a preternatural sleep?

Claire as the Wicked Witch of the West, with magical poppies.

What I didn’t expect was that so many people would be enchanted by the poppies.  I can’t count how many people who saw the play begged to take them home, offered shocking sums for their purchase, or wanted to commission me to make some!  Alas, I greedily took the poppies home to brighten my own dining room (we are just coming out of a rather dark and rainy “June-uary” as we call it in Seattle–a garden full of poppies in the house feels warming and whimsical), and I am not going into the poppy making business (though someone should consider it!). So instead, I thought I’d share the technique here.

Post-production poppies brighten up the dining room.

When I was trying to figure out how to construct the poppies, I remembered making little tissue paper flowers in Girl Scouts that we bundled into bouquets and delivered to retirement homes.  Would the technique scale up?  Yes indeed, and what a wonderful project to inaugurate my beloved new craft room!

The materials are inexpensive:

  • Tissue in red, black, and green (I think layers of color–orange, purple, pink would be pretty, but I needed to do red for Oz)
  • A roll of crepe paper streamers in green
  • Thin dowels, 1 for each stem (I used 5/16″), or sticks from the garden
  • Wire
  • Scotch tape and packing tape

Take 8 sheets of red tissue, and stack them neatly.  Accordion fold them the long way about six times.  Cut a little notch on each side of the center, and wrap with thin wire, leaving about 8″of wire tail.  Cut nice arches on each end:

Now gently separate the layers, and curl them upward.  Alternate sides and overlap the edges to keep from making a flower with two halves:

To make the centers, put some crumpled scrap tissue in the middle of a black piece of tissue, and gather the edges to form a ball:

Secure with scotch tape, and cut off the excess:

Attach with a couple doubled-over pieces of packing tape to the flower center:

The stems are made with dowels at the bottom (though sticks from a garden tree or bamboo poles would work fine), and wire at the top so they will be sturdy, but the flower heads will still move and bend naturally.  Take a foot or so of sturdy wire (double or triple it for width), and wind the flower head onto it.  Secure with a wrap of  packing tape.  Wrap the stem onto the dowel and secure with more packing tape.

Add leaves of green tissue if you like, then wrap the entire thing, starting from the bottom, in crepe paper.  It doesn’t have to be perfect–a few lumps look more natural.  Wind several times around the back of the flower, and secure with scotch tape.


Tom made stands out of scraps of wood, but you could also just lean them in a corner…

Enjoy!  But be careful.  You might start feeling droooowsy…




  1. Sanjana

    You are just *so* creative, I’m inspired, thank you! These giant poppies totally caught my eye and I would like to make them but my one bedroom has no space to spare. Would you know how to make carnations with tissue paper by any chance? I used to do this with my best friend when i was a little girl but couldn’t figure it out when i tried recently. I would love love love it if you could do a tutorial on making these pretty carnations! Lots of love your way Lyanda for making that creative feeling bubble up and touch my heart. It’s usually just sitting in my stomach and causing acidity. 😉

  2. These poppies are so awesome! Your story quickly brought to mind a warm childhood memory. I grew up in a Latino family in Texas. Back then, it was a wedding tradition to decorate the cars belonging to members of the wedding party. The cars would be adorned with tissue flowers, the colors matching the bridesmaids dresses. I was always thrilled to take part in making these flowers and help tape them to the cars. Our construction method was very similar to yours, only we used pipe cleaners (are those still available?) for the stems. Thanks for helping stir this great memory for me!

  3. wow – I love this project so much, and seeing as poppies are my all time favourite flower, I can see me actually making some of these to decorate my craft room. Well done on making these successfully for your daughters play and for the recognition you received for them; for the tutorial and the inspiration – I definitely will be indulging myself!!!

    Paula, UK xxx

  4. Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post
    is simply great and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.

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    forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  5. Sharon Mather

    Hi Lyanda, These are extraordinarily beautiful. I found the photos on Pinterest. Would it be okay to put the photo of the 5 big poppies that I found on Pinterest and a link to this page of your blog in my TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers) eBook for a Remembrance Day play. It is called: AU CHAMP D’HONNEUR: UNE RÉCITATION DRAMATIQUE “FLASH MOB” POUR LE CYCLE MOYEN AU JOUR DU SOUVENIR. I will likely translate it into English as well: IN FLANDERS FIELDS: A DRAMATIC “FLASH MOB” RECITATION FOR JUNIOR STUDENTS FOR REMEMBRANCE DAY. THE BOOKS ARE ABOUT 16 PAGES. HERE IS A LINK TO MY TPT STORE, SO YOU WILL HAVE AN IDEA:
    Thanks, Sharon Mather

  6. Bev Bergmann

    These poppys are absolutely amazing and i would love to make them for a display i am doing for ANZAC day. I will let you know how itisgoes! 🙂

  7. Karen

    Help!! I have been assigned to make these beautiful poppies for an upcoming event. They do not look anything like yours. They are floppy with no separation of the petals. did you use regular tissue paper and maybe I’m using the wrong size? Any hints would be appreciated. They kind of look like an angel food cake pan….

    1. lyanda

      Oh dear! Don’t panic. Yes, the tissue is just normal tissue, the kind you get in the gift wrapping section. It is very forgiving–work slowly to pull the layers apart. And as far as floppy, you need to attach them to very stiff wire or wooden sticks, otherwise they will be too heavy to hold their “heads” up. Good luck! I’m sure your flowers will be beautiful…

      1. Leonor Saenz

        I am interested in making some to decorate a parade float in San Antonio’s Veterans parade in November these would be perfect! What size of tissue paper did you use.

      2. Sara

        LOVE them sooooooooooooooooo much, what beauties. You are my favorite person ever on the world and u are so amazing to post this , i love it so much that i am going to start my own business making them, so if u need any flowers just come to me

  8. Carolyn

    Love them , Love them , Love them , Love them , Love them , i cant get enough of them my whole living room is filled with them , sometimes i even sit on them on my couch ,My husband loves them so much that he cant stop making them Thanks for the help:) 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 : 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Pingback: 20 DIY Crepe Paper Flowers with Tutorials | Guide Patterns

  10. Tatum

    I know this post is so old. but I am making these for my daughters birthday party! i have all the flowers made and ready to go.. stands are made… im just curious how you did your leaves. i was gonna just do without leaves, but they definitely need leaves!

    1. lyanda

      Hi Tatum! What a good mama you are. Ok, yes it has been awhile, but I’m pretty sure that for the leaves I just cut leaf-shapes out of layers of tissue, and taped them where I wanted them on the stems. Then I used a roll of crepe paper (the kind cut thin for party streamers) to wrap the whole thing, starting at the base of the flowers. Just attached the ends of the streamers with scotch tape, and wound it down over the stem and around the bases of the leaves, just as you would using florist tape on a smaller scale. It is a very forgiving medium, and even if you don’t to it perfectly, it will look great! Have fun!

  11. Hi Lyanda!
    I saw that you replied 4 months ago, so I thought I’d give it a shot of asking you a question. I’m doing and Evening In Oz for our schools Black Tie Auction and want to make these – I’m wondering the size of the tissue paper you used – hard to see size/scale, but they look fairly large, I want to make mine as large as possible. Thanks in advance!

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