Wednesday, November 19, 2014

DIY Water Distressed Paper Flowers Tutorial

I have been exploring ideas on how to save money on flowers for my wedding.  One way is to make your own decorative flowers using inexpensive readily-accessible supplies.  
This can end up in very creative, unique and beautiful decor such as these water distressed paper flowers.
To make these pretty flowers you will need the following supplies:
Cardstock paper
Watercolour paints
Tissue or Facial sponges or Cotton Balls
White Glue (dries clear)
Water in small container
Optional: Paintbrush for fine details, paper cutting machine, flower paper punches, edging scissors 
Cut flower shapes out of cardstock paper using scissors, paper punches, or a paper cutting machine.  I chose to do a combination of these. 
Tip: If you are cutting by hand, use edging scissors to cut your circle before cutting out the petal separations with regular scissors so that the edges of the petal have designs.
You can start with plain white cardstock, or start with coloured paper.  Coloured paper will give you more vivid/darker colours and choosing white paper will give you more pastel and watercolour-like blooms. 
Place your flower shape onto two sheets of plain paper or another painting surface. 
Wet your facial sponge and pick up some watercolour paint.  If you want pale colours, pick up less paint.  If you want brighter colours, pick up more paint.  In this photo, I used a pale wash of red and yellow to create pale peach.   Cover both side of the flowers entirely.
If desired, make the center of the flower a slightly different shade or darken the edges of the flower petals. 
While the paper is still wet, fold up all of the petals into the center to form creases that will span out from the center of the flower.
Continue to scrunch up the paper until the flower is completely closed up. 
Gently twist the bloom so that it forms additional creases, especially at the edges of the petals. 
Open up your flower.  It should look something like this. 
Tip: If you want flowers with smoother petals, open the flowers while wet.  If you want flowers with wrinkly petals, open the flowers once almost dry.  The wrinkly ones look like dried flowers (shown in photo).
Gently round the petal edges so that the petals bend backwards in a curve like an open flower.  You can do this by smoothing the petals one by one around a finger. 
Gently twist the bottom of the flower so that the flower closes up more. 
Bend the petals so that they curl outwards like a real flower.  
Imagine how a real petal might be curled on a real flower. 
Once the petals are in shape that you like, set them aside to dry.  
I have a small oil heater in my room, so I put a foil baking tray on top and let the flowers dry on the warm surface.  Of course, you should not leave this unattended to avoid fire risk.  You can also put them under your desk lamp to dry. 
When the blooms are dry, they will become hardened.  Choose the bottom petals.  Gently pry the blooms open wider as desired and add a generous amount of glue to the center.  Make sure that there is enough glue for the next set of petals to dip into to secure into place.  Note: In this picture there is not that much glue.  I used more glue on later flowers to prevent the flowers from falling apart easily.
Select your next set of petals and add it on top.  Ensure that the two layers are securely glued together.  Keeping adding layers of petals until you are happy with your flower. 
To create the center of the flower, you can layer smaller painted layers of petals together. 
You create the centers the same as with the petal layers. 
But because they are so small, you don't have to curl the petals as much.  Just open them up until they look like the centers of flowers.
Glue layers of them together to create fluffy flower centers. 
Glue them into the centers of your flower petals.
Experiment with different flower petal shapes, curling the petals differently, different colours, etc. Use photos of real flowers as inspiration. 
For instance, you can create anemone flowers with stunning black/purple/blue centers that really stand out.  The petals will require more effort to curl carefully at the edges for these and your centers will be more dense.  A paper cutting machine is very useful for detailed centers.
If desired, you can use a small paint brush to darken the center of your flower or to add small details.
You can also create nice looking crunchy leaves using this water distressed method.
Just fold along the middle vein and start to scrunch the leaf towards the middle of the vein (once painted and wet).  When you open the leaf, recreate some more scrunches to simulate the indentations from veins that go out from the middle vein.  

Keep the middle crease deep and bend the leaf in realistic ways.  Once dried, the leaf will hold this shape.
I hope you will enjoy making these.  Let me know if you try them out.

Happy Wedding Planning!


  1. They are gorgeous! Very nice! I don't think I gonna be making them, but I enjoyed reading through your tutorial :)

  2. It's beautiful! Looks like real flowers! Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. Such a wonderful tutorial! Thanks so much!