Peonies are some of my favorite flowers, so of course, I wanted to learn to make one that I couldn’t kill, given my lack of a green thumb. Ann Warren of the Cupcake Cafe in New York City, once described the peony as an “exploding rose.” I think this is the most apt descriptions of what a peony looks like, and Lynn’s version of a crepe paper peony is probably one of the most detailed you will ever come across. Unlike the petals for the crepe paper rose we made in Lynn’s earlier class, the peony petals are more random in their look. While the rose petals were all the same simple shape and size, the peony petals were all different shapes and sizes.
There were four layers of petals, and each layer had a different shaped petal, with the first two layers each having two different shaped petals, for a total of six different petal shapes for just one flower. Add to that, three calyx shapes and several leaf shapes, and we had quite a number of templates to cut out and keep track of.
To say that the peony is a more complicated flower than the rose is an understatement!
We used doublette crepe paper for our rose class, but for the peony, Lynn had us use florist crepe paper, which is much more stretchable and easier to sculpt, but it also proved more difficult to cut, especially when folded into layers, as it behaves somewhat like fabric.
I chose the above pumpkin color for my peony. I love how warm and cheerful it looks. Incidentally, florist crepe paper comes in many more color choices than doublette crepe paper.
We first cut out several copies of each petal shape out of the crepe paper, making sure to orient the template so that the grain of the crepe paper ran along each petal’s length. We also made vertical cuts into some of our petals, following the markings on our templates, while leaving others uncut to give the petals some randomness. To add an even greater randomness to our peony, for the fourth and last layer of petals, we made small random cuts here and there along their top edges. (Sorry, no photos).
We then cupped and flared each petal. For the first three layers of petals, we flared the tops of the petals in, opposite of what we did with the rose petals, which were flared out, so that they ended up being more concave in shape. The fourth and final layer of petals (the ones on the far left hand side in the photo above) were flared out, like in the rose petal.
(The petals here are arranged in reverse order of the ones in the previous photo).
Then we cut fringe out of a strip of yellow crepe paper to create the stamens. We used the doublette crepe for this. We rolled the individual fringe between our fingers. Then we wrapped the strip of stamens around 18 gauge stem wire. I added glue to the tips of my stamens and dipped them in glitter to create the pollen. I forgot to take photos, but here are the photos from my rose class to give you an idea of how the stamens were created:
Then we proceeded to glue the petals on, starting with the petals for the inner layers and working our way out in a spiral, carefully keeping track of all the different petals as we went along. What complicated things even more was the fact that each of the first two rows of petals had alternating shapes:
(If you look closely at the templates in the preceding photos, you will see some drawn lines running into some of the petals. As explained above, we made cuts along their lengths at random on the petals we cut out from the templates).
After layering and gluing, we ended up with a full peony:
(If you look closely at the petals on the outside layer in the above photo, you will see the random cuts I made along the outside edges, as described earlier).
Even though the peony petals were much more complicated to cut than the rose petals, and there were a lot more of them, when it came to gluing the petals together, I found the gluing process to be much easier than for the rose. I think it’s because for the rose, given the uniform size and shape of the petals, placement is really important to get your rose to look like a real rose. If you do it too symmetrically, your rose will look too perfect and not like a real one. With the peony, given the randomness and lack of uniformity of the petals, they all come together quite easily to create a convincing peony flower that’s perfectly imperfect, just like the real thing.
We then wrapped the base of our flower and the top part of the stem with green strips of crepe paper. (Sorry, no photos).
Unlike the calyx for the rose, which was one continuous piece, the calyx for the peony consisted of six separate pieces. We cut out the sepals of the calyx using the following templates:
We cut out two each of each shape and cupped them.
We glued the sepal pieces to the base of our flower to form the calyx.
Then we cut out our leaves using these templates:
As indicated in the preceding photo, there are three different leaf shapes, with each shape having multiple lobes. We had to cut the lobes apart so that we could line each one up vertically along the grain of the crepe paper. Doing the extra work of cutting out your leaves in this manner will help each lobe hold its shape in the finished flower.
After cutting out the individual lobes, we glued them back together into leaves, using a similar method to the one we used when we made the rose leaves. (Sorry, no photo).
We then wrapped three pieces of 22 gauge stem wire with narrow strips of green crepe paper to form the stems of the leaves.
Then we glued the wire to the bottom of the center of the larger lobe of each leaf and wrapped the leaf stems to the main stem of the peony and finished wrapping the entire main stem to complete the flower.
Here’s how the leaves look like from underneath:
If you look at the preceding photos closely, my leaves are a bit curled. That’s because I decided to coat them with Mod Podge to give the leaves a natural sheen, like we did for the leaves of the rose. The Mod Podge worked for the rose leaves beautifully, but not for the peony ones, probably due to the differences in size, shape, and formation.
Lynn also showed us how to make peony buds using spun cotton balls for the centers.
I didn’t get a chance to finish mine because I didn’t grab any extra green florist crepe paper to finish making the calyx and leaves at home, but here’s what the bud would have looked like:
An up-close view of the bud itself:
When I got home, I made a second set of peony templates using vellum:
From my experience making the roses, I’ve found that vellum templates hold up much better than the ones made from paper cardstock.
Here’s my finished crepe paper peony displayed in a vase:
And here is my peony up-close:
This was another fun class with Lynn. What made Lynn’s crepe paper peony so special were all the details she was able to capture from the real flower. Now I have another crepe paper flower to add to my repertoire. Thanks, Lynn!
What flowers have you made out of crepe paper? Please share in the comments.
Please note: I have not been compensated in any way, nor will I be, for mentioning any of the people or places here in this post. All thoughts and comments are completely my own.