Paper marigolds are not hard to make, as paper flowers go. The marigold is iconic, with its ruffled, dense, orange and yellow heads, so even when made with just a tuft of orange tissue paper atop a crude green stem, a paper marigold is unmistakable.
From Tiffanie Turner: "In my own work, realistic-looking life-size paper marigolds have been my white whale. A few years ago, I had a small solo show titled “One for You and One for Me,” which featured two giant, 40''-diameter paper marigolds. I was very proud of that show, and somehow found those pieces easy, if very time-consuming, to create. But the small ones have really thrown me for a loop, until now. After what seems like one hundred test marigolds, I’ve finally found a solution. Continuous strips of rolled and ruffled petals wrapped around a skewer can be left in as a stem or removed, leaving a hole so the flower can be strung onto a garland. And while a little laborious, they don’t take forever to make."
Reprinted with permission from The Fine Art of Paper Flowers: A Guide to Making Beautiful and Lifelike Botanicals, by Tiffanie Turner, copyright © 2017, published by Watson-Guptill, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
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160 gram marigold crepe paper
Olive green doublette crepe paper
Light-green floral tape
Bamboo skewer, 1 per flower
- Use the templates to cut eight TYPE F and eight TYPE G marigold petal strips from sixteen 1⅞''-tall by 6''-long strips of 160 gram marigold crepe paper that have been folded onto themselves eight times. Leave the bottom ⅛''-tall rim uncut to keep the petals connected. Cup the center of each petal on all sixteen strips.
- For the eight TYPE F strips, wipe glue with a finger lightly onto the bottom ⅜'' of each petal on a strip, then roll the base of the petal and the rim below it together from the backside between your thumb and forefinger, leaving the upper 1'' of petal unrolled. Facing the petals away from you, hold one top corner and run your thumbnail across the back of the top edge of each, ruffling them and giving them a slight bend backward. Reroll each petal after ruffling, making sure the faces stay open.
- Use a paintbrush to apply glue along the backside of the base of one TYPE F strip and gather around a skewer with the glue facing out. Squeeze the base very tightly, then apply glue to the inside of two more TYPE F base strips and wrap slowly, placing each petal facing inward around the flower, up 1/8'' from the center. Most strips won’t stretch all the way around the flower by themselves, so focus on the overall balance of the face of the flower. Dab glue into any loose flaps at the base, and squeeze underneath the petals as high as possible to round the flower and flare the petals outward.
- Add three more TYPE F petal strips with glue along their bases and halfway up the face of each petal along the curved-in edges. Stagger them behind and between the previous strips, up another ⅛'' to create a sunken center. Apply glue under loose bottom edges and flaps at the base after attaching, then squeeze and smooth down. Add the final two TYPE F petal strips similarly, up another ⅛'', filling in around the flower as needed. Glue and squeeze the base tightly, as high as you can underneath the petals, then slide the bamboo skewer out and back in to be sure it doesn’t stick.
- Repeat step 2 on the eight TYPE G petal strips, leaving the upper ¾'' to ⅞'' of each petal unrolled. With glue along the bottom strip and halfway up each petal face along the curved-in edges, wrap two TYPE G strips around with their bases ¼'' below the point where the petals above angle out from the flower base, filling in as needed. Step down 1∕16'' with another pair of TYPE G strips around the flower, and again with the remaining two pairs. Squeeze the flower base as high and tight as you can. The bottom petals should sit horizontally.
- Cut and cup 25 MAR petals. Roll the very bottom of each with glue, ripple the tops to bend back a bit as with the petal strips, and attach with ¼'' glue, pressing up where the petals above meet the base, drooping down at the tips. Let dry, then trim the base to between 1'' and 1.''-long and wrap tightly with floral tape to sculpt a smooth, tapered calyx down to the stem.
- For the calyx, cut two points into the top of a segment of floral tape and glue to the flower base with the tips bending outward underneath the petals. Repeat all the way around to cover the entire base, with 12 being the ideal number of points. Remove the skewer and trim the calyx tape neatly if using for a garland. If keeping on a stem, glue the skewer inside the flower, then wrap tape into a ⅜''-tall rounded nodule just below the calyx, projecting out 1∕16'' all around. Attach leaves as desired, and wrap the nodule and stem with outstretched strips of olive green doublette. Bend the skewer gently without breaking to give the stem a slight curve.
- For a natural green tone at the center, make a stain with a 2'' square of olive green doublette soaked in 2 teaspoons water and dab onto the innermost center petals. Let dry overnight.
Wonderful 160 gram marigold crepe paper does the heavy lifting here, but try any 160 or 180 gram orange, yellow, or cream crepe, or use 180 gram #576/9 candy corn ombré crepe for interesting bicolored or ombré effects.
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