How to make large paper succulent centerpieces (or bouquets!)

August 27 2015 | Guest post by Stacey Dyer

unity in glass 100x100 newThanks to our sponsor Unity in Glass for presenting this week's posts on Offbeat Bride. We love 'em, and think you will too…

Photos by Stacey Dyer
Photos by Stacey Dyer

These paper succulents are a larger version of this amazing Lia Griffith tutorial. Her templates are built so that all 10 petal pieces fit on a standard letter size sheet of paper. This is great for the smaller, 2.5" size flowers, but we needed to get beefy with these leafy blossoms!

These printables will create flowers about 4"-5" in width depending on how tightly the paper petals are curled.

Step 1:

Print out these two sheets and glue them to heavy paper or a piece of watercolor board. Make these strong enough to handle binge TV-watching and the act of tracing over and over and over and over again. Aka, durable enough for a 6-year-old to trace on or an adult who's two drinks in to the latest season of Scandal.

Click here to get the large version.
Click here to get the large version.
Print this out on 8.5" x 11" paper to make tracing templates. This sheet covers petal sizes 1, 2, and 5.

Click here to get the large version of this.
Click here to get the large version of this.
Print out on 8.5" x 11" paper to make the rest of the tracing templates. This sheet covers petal sizes 3 and 4.

Step 2:

Write the number for each size on each petal template. You'll want to know what sizes you were able to smush onto a sheet of paper and which didn't make the cut. (After tracing and filling up a sheet, I would often tally each size on an unused area to double check which of the 10 petals per flower I might be missing.)

number of petals
Trace-able templates and spring-loaded snip scissors.

Step 3:

Paint that paper on both sides! I used craft paint in the sage/celery green color scheme and watered it down with a very wet brush.

Watercolorists' tip: Dip the brush in water and paint only water across half the sheet to prime the paper. Then dip your brush in the paint and apply to the wet area. Seems silly, but the "washed" look of the paint comes from this technique: Watery paint will travel best where water has already been.

Finally, when both sides have been covered, get the paper dry enough so that a mechanical pencil can make a mark. A tiny bit damp still works.

Step 4:

Find a TV show or a movie you've been dying to watch and get tracin'. It takes 10 petals to make one flower (2 per size, per layer). Your goal is to fit one flower's-worth onto a single sheet. Because your first step is to print onto a normal size sheet of paper, we now need to mastermind how to fit everything on one sheet of 9"x12" watercolor board. Below is a pattern for laying out your petals, where everyone fits like a 10-piece jam band…

Succulents painted paper
Large Paper Succulent Template – This sheet will make 1 succulent.

Step 5:

Start cutting out petals. And, if you don't own a pair, pick up a pair of spring-loaded "snips" scissors. These were a life saver when it came to handling thicker paper as well as tight turns. If you're on episode 5, gear up for 5 more and get cutting!

Step 6:

Then you can follow Lia Griffith's tutorial with hot glue gun in hand. Curl those petals, glue those layers, and voilà!

Step 7:

I plucked out the largest pearls from a package of large pearl bead mix and glued them in the center for a sophisticated touch.

Completed centerpieces in action

Finished centerpieces and a peak at our cards suitcase! Photos by Sandra Costello
Finished centerpieces and a peak at our cards suitcase! Photos by Sandra Costello
  • Bamboo trays came from Ikea in their kitchen section ($12 each).
  • Paper fans (under $2 each) They brought a pop of warm color to open up the table and kept the texture dialog from paper flower to paper fan consistent. The fans were hot-glued to stay open and mounted inside a small wooden box ($2 each). We took off the hinges and the lid and stained each box with a bit of watered-down acrylic paint to match the bamboo.
  • Table numbers were made of leftover watercolor board, printed on a home inkjet printer. They were attached to each fan by way of jewelery head pins with a dab of hot glue on either end to resemble the pearls. This allowed the numbers to pop off the fans and rustle in the breeze (that was the idea… until we had to move the party indoors!).
  • Each tray was filled with crushed shells (about $5 each). One bag filled one tray.
  • Each paper succulent had a chunk of frosted glass glued to the bottom to keep it from blowing away in the wind. The frosted glass was left over from filler material tests. One bag is about $4, each chunk is around an inch or so wide.
  • Cost per centerpiece: $22

And OH YES, you can totally use these to make a paper succulent bouquet!

Isn't it gorgeous?

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Thanks again to Unity in Glass for sponsoring Offbeat Bride this week!

  1. One thing I should mention here is the reason we made paper flowers for our wedding is because my husband is allergic to EVERYTHING. We literally could not have actual flowers! And, with a destination wedding, it felt wasteful to just buy a bunch of real succulents knowing our guests couldn't take them home as you would with a local wedding.

    1 agrees

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