Monday, February 24, 2014

Fold ALL the Things! Origami Flowers & Kusudama Balls

So remember how I kind of disappeared for a little while in the summer and early fall of last year? Ya...that was because of this project.

One of the first things I decided on for my wedding was that I wanted to do all paper flowers. I think they're pretty, they fit in with the vintage theme (not to mention the DIY idea) and it saved me a TON of money by not having to purchase flowers. Added bonus? They can last forever.

And that decision led to months of me doing nothing but folding and gluing paper while Netflix played in the background. Whee!

The best part of this project is that you don't need a lot in the way of supplies. You just need a lot of time, some patience, and maybe some awesome friends and family who will help you out. Though I did most of the folding and assembling on my own, I got some hours of help from Patti, Krista, Annie & my mother. And lucky them, they all learned how to fold flowers in the process. That will totally turn into a worthwhile skill you guys.

Anyway, back to the task at hand (pun kind of sort of totally intended).

If you're looking for the basics, look no further. All you need is some paper and some glue. In my case, I bought a couple of books from the thrift store (I used four full paperback novels costing me a total of $3) and some glue. I also used some tea, some mini clothespins, and some binder clips. Total project cost: under $20.

If you want the tea stained/weathered look, brew up some tea (I used three tea bags per 8 cup batch to keep it dark) and pour it into a pie plate or casserole dish. I used my 9x13" glass pyrex casserole.

Submerge the individual pages for about 3-5 minutes depending on your tea and how dark you want the paper. You can put multiple pages in at the same time, but make sure each page is fully submerged and soaked before you put the next one in, otherwise you end up with white splotches.

The pages will need to be laid out individually to dry. I literally had hundreds of pages strewn across my kitchen counters, nook table and dining room table for days on end as I stained batch after batch.

Once you have your pages, it's time to start cracking.

The majority of the flowers I used are a basic flower known as a kusudama. The kusudama is a flower historically used in the Japanese culture for potpourri and incense. The flower is an origami flower, but not in the strict purist sense, since you will use glue in addition to folding to hold all of the pieces together.

First, cut your pages into squares depending on what size you want your final flowers to be. I used 2", 3", 4" and 6" sized squares. Why so many sizes? Well...I had a lot of projects. You'll see what I'm talking about later. The 4" size is the most manageable and still produces a decent size flower (It's the size that I used to make all of the example photos.) Each flower will require a minimum of five squares, with each square eventually becoming a single petal.

Once you have your square cut out, fold it in half diagonally to form a triangle.

Now fold the out side edges of the triangle up to meet the center.

This will form a small diamond.

Take your two folded edges and fold them halfway back on themselves towards the edge.

Now it should look like a tulip. That center point is your original top point and the two half spears are your original sides.

The next step is a little tricky. Undo the last fold you did, moving back into the diamond shown above. Now slide your finger inside each half one at a time and flatten them to the side. The crease that originally ran at the center of the diamond is now the center crease of each petal in the above tulip.

Fold down the tops of each side to create a small triangle.

Now fold each side back in half, tucking that small triangle into the center of the newly formed flap.

Line the flap of one side with glue and lightly pinch together. You want those small triangular sides to be on the inside to form the center of your flower. Use a binder clip, paper clip, or small clothespin to hold the seam shut while it dries.

This is what it should look like from the top of the petal when you're done. Take care not to fold the whole thing flat. You want the petal to stay full.

Once the glue has dried, assemble your flower using five petals.You'll assemble this by gluing the outsides together and holding them with the clips until dried.

My flowers became multiple items...most notably, my bouquets.

©Broken H Photography
At the center of each bouquet is a foam ball. I stuck a couple of wooden dowels into the center of the ball to form my handle and then wrapped it with floral tape followed by ribbon. The flowers were attached using some floral wire and glue. Each flower is glued to its neighbors to keep the whole thing stable.

The centers of the flowers are either left open or stuffed with a glued in pearl, adhered jewel or glued on button. The spaces between the flowers are intermittently filled with a silver glitter tulle ribbon. There was literally glitter everywhere.

I used a few other types of origami flowers to add some dimension in my own bouquet. My matron of honor's bouquet and my tossing bouquet contained only the origami flowers demonstrated above.

The flowers were also used to make corsages for the mothers and boutonnieres for the men. In the case of the corsages they were paired with paper roses. For the men, they were paired with paper lilies. Both the lilies and the roses can be seen in my bouquet above.

Remember how I said I used 2" squares? This headband is why. It is the headband that I made for my adorable little flower girl.

In this case, the flowers were all glued together to form a bridge. The flowers were then sewn (yes, with thread) to the headband to keep them in place. It held up pretty darned well because I trussed the crap out of it. Other than the purple flower, each little mini flower was decorated with an adhesive jewel.

©Broken H Photography
And there it is on the cutie patootie.

I also used the flowers for decoration. Lots of decoration.

©Broken H Photography
I did this primarily through the use of kusudama balls.

A kusudama ball is a ball made up of twelve of the origami flowers. You basically make them by gluing the sides of the original flowers together just like you did the individual petals. It requires a crap ton of paper clips or clothespins, but they're super cute when you're finished.

I used mine to hang from my canopy as well as the ceiling decoration. I tied them to multiple strings of white twinkle lights and hung them at different lengths.

For a good visual tutorial on how to make your own kusudama ball...check out this step by step one on Wikihow. I couldn't make a better one, it's pretty darned good.

It took a TON of time and patience and the helping hands of a few friends and family members, but I literally made all of my wedding flowers out of paper for only a few dollars. Plus I caught up on more than one Netflix series in the process. 

With today's average wedding floral costs running upwards of $1000, I'd say it was well worth my investment.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice bucet!I like so much the paper flowers!!!


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