How to make some beautiful retro crepe paper flowers

Dennison crepe paper flowers from 1967

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Cut yourself a bunch of fun.

It’s easy! All you need is a colorful selection of Dennison Crepe Papers, plus a few simple instructions, and you’re ready to grow the biggest, freshest, gayest flowers in bloom…

Paper perennials add flamboyant touches to a room (1974)

For starters, try the Oriental poppy

By Nancy Adams – Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) April 21, 1974

Pick a pair of posies from this basket, and you can stop waiting around for those flowers that are supposed to come with April showers.

Made with crepe paper and a few simple craft supplies, these glorious fakes will flourish at less than 30 cents a stem.

We’re giving you the specifics and pattern on page 2 to make the Oriental poppy shown at the top of our paper bouquet.

But first, a few general instructions for crepe paper flower-making.

Books with more patterns are available from the Dennison Manufacturing Company. They offer three that you can send for: “Home Decorating with Paper Flowers,” “Cut Yourself a Bunch of Fun” and “The Dennison Flower Book.”

Crepe paper flowers - vintage craft how-to from 1974

General instructions

To cut crepe paper for flowers, look for the lines that run across the paper. These indicate the grain; On patterns (including those shown on next page), grain direction is shown by three small lines.

Cutting across the grain means to cut across the fold that is parallel to the end of the paper. Grain is important when cutting, because it helps the petals and leaves to stand up and look smart.

Grain also allows flower parts to be stretched into different shapes. Usually, the grain should point toward the tip of any leaf of petal and should be perpendicular to the center of each flower.

To make fringe for some part of your flowers, the general rule is to cut a strip of paper the desired width across the grain. Hold thicknesses together and cut more than one layer at a time if you plan to make many flowers.

When cutting several layers, hold paper together with pins to prevent slippage. Then make a series of even cuts along the edge.

For pointed edges or petal shapes, you make your cuts along the edge the desired distance apart; then round off or point each section. To “cup” petals, gently stretch each one between thumbs and forefingers, rounding with thumbs.

Fluted edges are made by holding a petal between thumbs and forefingers and stretching the paper, gently twisting slightly. Curl the petals over a: scissors blade by holding the blade against the petal, (thumb on top. Then slowly draw blade to the top of the petal — as you would curl Christmas ribbon but more gently.

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To finish your flower, paste a narrow strip of paper cut across the grain over the flower end of the wire, or use stem winding. Wrap strip spirally down the wire, twisting wire with one hand and guiding the strip with the other. Stretch the strip as you wind so paper will be smooth and tight.

To add leaves, wind crepe paper around the stem to the point where leaf will be added. Then insert leaf or wire and continue winding. To wire petals or leaves, cut your wire longer than the petal or leaf to be wired.

Lay the wire on a flat surface and apply glue to one side. Lay the underside of the petal or leaf over the wire with the extra length of wire at the base. Press firmly until glue is dry: Mark veins with pointed end of a knitting needle.

It may be necessary to gather petals at the base of the flower for fullness. To do this, push paper together between thumbs and forefingers.

Flowers without stems can be used for wall decorations, boutonnieres, or centerpieces by gluing petals onto cardboard disks.

For finishing touches, spray flowers with liquid plastic to help them retain their color and shape. For a porcelain-like finish, use a high-gloss acrylic spray. Be sure to read the directions on the can, especially the “caution” parts.

ON TO the Oriental poppy directions.


The materials you will need (enough to make 15 flowers — prices [from 1974] are listed but they may vary) include:

  • Double-weight, two-color crepe paper, one package of orange-amber and one of moss green/leaf green (49 cents each)
  • Black crepe paper (39 cents)
  • 1-inch styrofoam balls, one for each flower (about 2 cents each)
  • Black yarn or embroidery cotton (15 cents)
  • Medium-weight and lightweight wrapped wire (70 and 50 cents)
  • Spool wire, very fine, wrapped or not (about 30 cents)
  • Stem winding (green tape with or without adhesive; about 35 cents)
  • All-purpose white glue


1. Cut six petals (figure A) from pattern. Flute top edge of each. Cup about half-way down the petal, holding the orange side toward you.

2. Cover the styrofoam ball with green paper which you have stretched between your hands. Insert a medium-weight wire into the ball at the point where the crepe paper meets. Crisscross the top of the ball with several lengths of yarn cut about three inches long (figure B).

3. Cut a strip of black crepe paper one inch wide across the grain and fringe it finely. Wrap several rows around the base of the covered styrofoam ball, pasting to hold. Secure fringe with spool wire.

4. Paste three of the petals around the center, overlapping slightly. Add three remaining petals behind others to fill spaces. Cut two pieces from calyx pattern (figure C) and glue them behind petals.

5. Cut leaves using patterns (figure D) and green crepe paper. Wire the back of each leaf.

6. Wrap stem and bottom of flower with stem winding, working from the top and adding leaves as you wind. Paste stem winding to wire at the bottom to hold.

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Crepe paper flower patterns (to go with the vintage craft project above)

Crepe paper flower patterns - vintage craft how-to from 1974 (2)

Crepe paper flower patterns - vintage craft how-to from 1974 (1)

Vintage Dennison crepe paper flowers from 1967

How to make patriotic red, white & blue paper flowers for parties (1972)

By Alice Morrell, Copley News Service – Chillicothe Gazette (Ohio) October 17, 1972

Fall is here, and once again ladies are assembling for luncheons, bridge groups and money raising affairs.

To help the decorating committee, here are ideas for paper flowers using red, white and blue colors of the political atmosphere.

Materials required are white glue, No. 20 gauge wire, florists’ tape, scissors and 1/2 inch dowel or No. 8 knitting needle. blue tissue paper and white, red, green and yellow crepe paper. [And the diagrams below.]

To make bluebells, fold one 20 by 30-inch sheet blue tissue in half, short ends together. Cut on the fold, then fold these two sheets in half again, short ends together and cut on the fold. Continue to fold and cut until you have 16 pieces 7-1/2 x 5 inches.

Roll the edge of one sheet of 7-1/2 inch length on dowel or knitting needle down about an inch, push together to form tight gathers; remove dowel.

Apply glue to one edge of short side and press edges together making a bell, having the roll on the outside. set aside to dry. Do all 16 flowers.

To make centers, cut strips of yellow crepe paper 2 inches wide by 6 inches long and slash fine fringe along one edge. Glue on the 30 gauge wire, precut to your desire, then gather the bottom edge of the bluebell and glue over the crepe paper center. Wrap with florists’ tape and add green crepe paper leaves to finish. (Fig. 1.)

To make zinnias, cut red crepe paper in 2-inch wide strips, 18 inches long. Cut 12-inch wide slashes down 1 inch and round off corners. Cut a second strip 16 inches long and 1-1/2 inches wide. Make slashes slightly smaller, round off edges. Cut a third strip 1 inch wide, 14 inches long. slash smaller petals, round off corners. To make yellow crepe fringe for the centers, cut 1 inch wide by 4 inches long.

Glue yellow fringe tightly around wire then add smallest petals, smoothing glue on the bottom and gathering slightly. Add second size petals, then third, turning wire and easing in paper strip to make petal tips turn away from the center, gently pull with scissors blade under the petal, out and down. To finish flower, wrap with florists’ tape, add several leaves as you wrap. (Fig. 2.)

For spider chrysanthemums, use white crepe paper cut in stripes 2 inches wide and 15 inches long. Cut fringe 1/2 inch wide and 1-1/2 inches deep.

With the thumb and first finger, roll each cut fringe piece to a tight roll, then add glue, to uncut edge and place on wire, roll and ease the whole strip on the wire. Cover the bottom of the flower and wire with florists’ tape, adding several leaves to stem. (Fig. 3.)

To make another interesting petal, roll just the inside of the fringe petal, leaving a 1/2-inch tip unrolled on the end.

Cut leaves of green crepe paper in chrysanthemum shape and zinnia shape. Use zinnia leaves for bluebell flowers also. (Fig. 4.)

To make flowers more durable, spray with acrylic spray.

Experiment and have fun!

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How to make patriotic red, white & blue paper flowers for parties (1972)

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