In this tutorial, I will show you how to make watercolor paper flowers in two ways.
I’ll be honest, this paper flower is not in my typical style of paper flower making. It’s a bit fussier, it works better hand-cut and it takes a little longer than all my other flowers to make. This is really for my paper flower enthusiasts.
The concept took weeks to brew in my head. It all started with this bouquet of flowers my husband bought for me. It was just a small random selection of flowers – a multi-colored rose, some fringed tulips, and some buttercups.
I put them in a vase next to my bathroom sink and as a result, I ended up looking at them every single time I went to the bathroom. I was looking at the petals in detail and notice how closely they resembled watercolors.
It also doesn’t hurt I was on this watercolor binge as of late so I kept thinking about how to make watercolor petals.
I kept getting stuck on the idea that I would have to paint in watercolors on both sides of petal paper and the constraints of using watercolor paper.
Fast forward a few weeks later, I had a stack of tracing paper sitting next to my crafting corner. I don’t know how I randomly connected the dots. I think I was taking a nap and woke up with the idea that I could paint in watercolors, scan it then print it on the tracing paper. (Good things happen when you take naps!)
The translucency of the paper was perfect for the flower petals. You can clearly see the watercolors on both sides of the paper. I normally would not be able to paint on vellum but ding ding ding, my printer can still print on it!!
A few iterations later, I finally finished making that watercolor paper flower that I had been thinking about for weeks.
Now, if you don’t have a color printer and prefer to work with watercolors directly, I will also demonstrate how to make a similar (but not completely the same because I’ve customized the printable version to work with vellum paper) star lily.
I’m so excited to share this tutorial with everyone.
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Material for Watercolor Paper Flower
Vellum Tracing Paper – I have tried a couple of different brands and there is a slight difference in the texture. This is the pack I used from Amazon to make the flowers you see here.
Watercolor Paper – If you are painting this by hand, I would recommend using watercolor paper. Watercolor doesn’t work as well on regular cardstock. This is the exact brand I have, it works perfectly for watercolor paper flowers. Other brands might be too thick.
Printer – I used a color inkjet printer. Any color printer will work.
Glue – I used Tacky Glue and/or a glue gun for this project.
Template – Both the printable and star lily paper templates are available in my resource library.
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Tutorial for Print and Cut Watercolor Paper Flowers
Step 1: Print and Cut the template
It is totally possible to just print the template as is, especially if you don’t have a cutting machine.
For my Cricut users, here’s a quick note on how to upload a transparent PNG file.
Be sure to upload the file as a “Complex” image. There is no need to “Select and Erase” anything. The selector in Design Space is not super accurate so I have pre-removed the background for you.
Save the image as a “Save as a Print Then Cut Image” to preserve the details.
Even if I am cutting this one by hand, I still use the Cricut to do the printing because I want it to print with some bleed.
So the reason why I only used the Cricut to cut half the time is because the scanner on the machine has a hard time picking up the image on vellum paper.
I could only get it to work in a really dark room. When there is too much ambient light, there are too many photons hitting the sensor and it has a hard time with the differential between the color and non-colored portions of the image.
Step 2: Assemble each later of the petals.
I glue each petal strip in a loop and glue it together. I sometimes put a paper clip in while the glue sets.
Step 3: Make the fringe
You can use any color for the stamen. I ended up just printing the individual watercolor petal on vellum and cutting a rectangle around it. It had a nice mix of white and blue.
You will need a rectangular piece of paper for this part. The size depends on the size of your flower. My flower petal measured about 2 inches long and I used a 2in x 6in piece for the stamen.
Fold the rectangular piece in half lengthwise and cut fringes from the open side. Rolled the fringed piece and glue in place.
Step 4: Assemble the layers
I like to work from the bottom up. Place a bit of glue between each layer.
How to Paint Watercolors on Paper Flowers
If you’re painting your paper flowers by hand, I highly recommend using watercolor paper as a base. I find even though cardstock is heavy enough to hold up with watercolors, the paint doesn’t blend as well as they do with custom watercolor paper.
First cut out all your templates. I use the 80lb weight setting with a little more pressure to cut watercolor paper. A fresh light grip mat was enough stickiness for this design.
Paint the petals first before curling or assembly. This gives you the best control over the finished effect.
After painting, loop and glue the base petal strip.
Then take the flat petal layer and glue it on top of the base petal loop. I found this particular star lily design didn’t need much curling but I did crease the center ever so slightly.
Roll up and glue the stamen piece and then glue it to the center of the assembled petals.