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How to Make a Giant Magical Paper Flower Poppy Garden

July 1st, 2012 · 25 Comments ·

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…



art, craft

25 Comments so far ↓

  • ingrid

    It’s been so long since I made any paper flowers. This definitely inspires. 🙂

  • kt

    They’re great! Your actress looks terrific as well–very into the part!

  • 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. 😉

    • lyanda

      Sanjana, thank you for such a sweet comment. If you are short on space, I think these flowers would look great hanging from a light or in the corner of the ceiling. If you want to make little carnation-like flowers, you can make them just like this, but with smaller paper, and no center. Or here is a nice tutorial for extra-pretty carnations: Enjoy.

      • Sanjana

        Lyanda, I checked out foldingtrees and it is perfect, thanks! You have a fan in me, I look forward to more posts from you. Have a good week.

  • Izzy

    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!

  • Paula Gale

    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

  • Kenneth Esguerra

    It’s Wonderful..

  • Lisa

    Beautiful! How did you attach the dowels or sticks to the wooden stand? This is the one thing I can’t figure out. Thank you.

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  • Jen

    Thank you!!! i am directing the wizard of Oz and this is so incredibly helpful 🙂

  • 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

  • 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! 🙂

  • 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….

    • 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…

      • 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.

      • 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

  • Tara

    Thanks so much, this helped me like crazy. Their beautiful and will look amazing in my bathroom!!!!!!!!

  • 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:) 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 : 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Jeri

    How did you get these to stand up on stage?

  • Mariam

    Love it!!!

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