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This project teaches the easiest way to make colorful, three-dimensional paper flowers. Even young children will enjoy painting carnation-like blooms and creating full bouquets for Valentine’s Day gifts and birthday parties, while adults can create low-cost, brilliantly colored decorations for a Cinco de Mayo party or a Hawaiian luau.

Made using a simple combination of Paper Coiling Core (a product used for basket-making) and watercolor paints, each flower costs just pennies to make.


  1. Cut the paper coil into 10" pieces with a pair of strong scissors. A soft, white paper bound in a rope-like coil and covered with a thin netting, it will retain a natural curve when manipulated.
  2. Dilute Liquid Watercolor with up to 50% water, both to extend it and to make it flow more freely on the paper.


  1. Push the netting down 3" from one end of the coil. Squeeze glue over the netting and distribute it with your fingers to keep the netting from unraveling further. Gently pull the coil of paper apart to form the "petals" of the flower, keeping the bloom above the glue line. Open the petals just enough to accommodate a paintbrush - the flower can be expanded after it has been painted.
  1. While the glue dries, apply watercolor to all surfaces of the petals with a paintbrush. The colors will flow and bleed into one another, so choose colors that are harmonious. Avoid mixing complementary colors. The wet petals will be very delicate — wait until they are dry before attempting to shape them. Lay the flower on a piece of wax paper and paint the stem, one side at a time. Allow the flower to dry completely.
  2. The dry petals will possess more strength than wet petals, so gently manipulate them into a pleasing flower shape.


    To make leaves, cut long, thin triangles or ovals from green construction paper. Place glue on one end of the first leaf, roll it tightly around the lower part of the stem, and hold it in place until bonded. Repeat with the other leaves.

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