How-to

Make a Paper Dahlia Flower

Jannifer Tran
Saturday 6th May 2017

WAY back in 2015 we first introduced the mind-bogglingly realistic paper flowers of Sydney maker Jennifer Tran. Today, almost two years on, we’re sharing a project from Jennifer’s first book – Flowersmith.

Try your hand at making Jennifer’s Dahlia Paper Flower – for more detailed instructions and a host of other paper flower projects, hunt out her her book, available now in all good bookshops.

Flowersmith by Jennifer Tran · Dahlia Paper Flower

My lecturer always said ‘making art makes art’ and it became my motto during my study at UNSW Art and Design. I remember spending the days just playing with materials, breaking things apart, examining their sculptural qualities and finding ways to manipulate them. And because I was so bad at drawing (still am), I had to make mini models as a way of recording my ideas.

When I turned to paper craft, I started realising how therapeutic it was to just ‘make stuff’. It was amazing to see how a piece of paper could easily be turned into something so beautiful… like a paper flower. I could make a simple bouquet in several days, and when I gave it to someone, it always made them smile. There is something so personal and special about a hand-made gift.

Flowersmith is the result of a two-year practice and research. However, I only had three months to put everything together including; writing a manuscript, making 20 arrangements, preparing for over 30 individual projects and taking care of both the styling and the photography for the photoshoot – one went on from 6pm to about 5am the next morning!  It was intense!! But I loved every moment of it.

I am fascinated by dahlia, featured in this project, for their complex colour and structure. To help readers of Flowersmith, I decided to simplify my procedures and improve on the realness. The steps are simple, and the skills required are quite basic. I hope that readers will eventually be able to look at any new flower and discover their structure, know how to make it and be able to create their own templates – that Flowersmith projects will extend beyond the ones that are listed on the Contents page!

YOU WILL NEED

60gsm crepe paper in salmon (for petals and bud)

60gsm crepe paper in light green (for stem and calyx)

Scissors

Toothpick

Pliers

Bamboo skewer

PVA Glue

3 x 30cm 18-gauge wire

Parafilm tape

Cotton wool

Red marker

Note: More detailed instructions, component templates, and guides to creating additions such as leaves and buds can be found inside Flowersmith.

Flowersmith by Jennifer Tran is published by Hardie Grant Books and is available here, or in stores nationally. Jennifer will be running classes at Kinokuniya Sydney in June, and will be launching never-seen-before tutorials with Etsy later in the year.

Jennifer Tran‘s Dahlia and Zinnia bouquet (coincidentally featuring this Dahlia project alongside her fave flower!) from her new book Flowersmith. Styling and Photo – Jennifer Tran.

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