Wednesday, 1 December 2010

DIY tissue paper flowers/pom poms and girl-crushing on Martha


I've never been a super crafty kind of person.   Oh I've wanted to be crafty but I seem to have two left hands when it comes to making stuff.

However, put me in charge of decorations for a bridal shower and my OCD'ness overrides any common sense and self knowledge of my complete lack of manual coordination.

I saw these pretty tissue flowers and pom poms (or as she calls them Luminarias) on Martha Stewart's wedding website.  She describes them as:
Joyous bursts of color dance above a table, imparting a cheerful radiance to a rehearsal dinner or casual reception. The dahlialike pom-poms appear to float in the air; in reality they are hung from the ceiling with monofilament. Echoing the vibrant hanging puffs, pom-pom napkin rings in citrus shades adorn each place setting. Square glass vessels in various sizes line tables. Covered in sunset-hued tissue (cut to size and secured with double-sided tape), they cast a soft glow.
Sigh.  You just gotta love Martha. 

She had me at "joyous bursts" and I knew, come hell or high water, Pav was going to get joyous bursts of colour for her bridal shower, dammit!

Hours later, sitting in a crow's nest of little bits of tissue paper, I pondered just how wise that decision was.

To say these are just a bit fiddly would be like saying jalapenos are just a bit hot.  Having said that though, they are actually a lot easier to make than I thought they would be.  Now that might seem like a contradiction but it isn't really...Easy in principle: just fold paper, cut and separate out the layers.  Fiddly as in execution: tissue paper does not like to be handled, it likes to rip, and stick to your fingers and make you swear at it.

I'm going to have a go at writing out a tutorial for making these pretty wee things but if I'm not making any sense I found this tutorial at To-be-charmed to be super helpful.  It might look complicated but it was actually a piece of cake once you got the hang of it.

Just channel your inner Martha.

How to make DIY tissue paper flowers and pom pms


1. Take around 6 - 8 sheets of craft tissue paper.
The more sheets, the fuller the pom pom is: so for flowers that will sit flat I found 6 sheets to be plenty and for fuller pom poms, 8 sheets worked a dream. Too many and the layers just didn't really have room to separate out properly.

2. Stack the sheets on top of each other and line them up and cut rectangles out of your tissue paper. 
The longer the rectangle, the fuller the circumference of your flower will be.  The wider the rectangle, the bigger the diameter of the flower.  Also the bigger the flower, the easier it will be to make.


3. Fold like an accordion, with 1 inch thick folds.
Start folding from the bottom edge like an accordion, forwards and backwards.  Make the folds around 1 inch thick, depending on how big you want your petals to look. Of course if you are making smaller flowers, make the folds smaller, say around 1 cm.


4. Fold the strip in half to gauge the middle. Then make cuts roughly 1/3 of the width of the strip, in the middle of the strip, leaving around 1cm in the middle attached.
So basically you are cutting into the middle from each side leaving the 1/3 in the middle uncut. This means that the layers can run over each other easier at the ends.




5. Tie the middle with string.  
Make the knot on one side, so that there is a bottom for the flower/pom pom to sit on/hang from.




6. Shape the ends.
Cut the ends into a triangle for pointy chrysanthemum-like petals or round the ends for rounded dahlia-like petals


7. Spread each side out and flatten slightly.
This will make the layers easier to separate.



8. Carefully peel the layers from each other and pull up, holding the bottom for support.  
This part is the maximum tear potential part so softly softly catchee monkey you go.  I ruined a whole heap of flowers to start off with too vigorous layer peeling.



9. Shape the layers by scrunching them a little so they stick up.
They will stay when you scrunch them to give them texture. Keep separating and pulling the layers up until you get a full flower effect.  Then pull layers down towards the bottom (i.e. where you are holding it) to get a full pom pom shape.  Shoving your fingers into the middle to make sure the layers separate out in the middle helps to get that fuller effect.



10. Et voila! Pretty tissue paper flowers and pom poms.
Pat yourself on the back and bask in the glory of your creation wearing your I heart Martha t-shirt.

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