How To Work With Crepe Paper For Beginners – FancyBloom

crepe paper peony

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How to work with crepe paper for beginners

Today, let’s talk about the basics.

I want to show you how to make crepe paper petals for a giant peony and how to work with this material in general.

Crepe paper tutorial: How to make giant peony petals with crepe paper

I will show you my stretching and shaping techniques, which you can apply not only to the giant peony but to any of your crepe paper flower projects.

1. Choosing the best crepe paper for your flower projects

What is the best crepe paper for making flowers?

For making crepe paper flowers, the best paper is Cartotecnica Rossi 180 gsm from Italy.

Italian crepe paper is ideal for creating flowers of all sizes, from small to giant. It can be stretched up to 260%, offering exceptional flexibility and the ability to hold any given shape.

Italian crepe paper Cartotecnica Rossi

Usually, I use Italian crepe paper Cartotecnica Rossi 180 gsm or 140 gsm.

You can also use Chinese extra-heavy crepe paper, but just be aware that it doesn’t hold its shape as well as the Italian paper does. So, please, keep this in mind when choosing your materials.

Crepe Paper Guide

If you’re not familiar with the different types of crepe paper, how to choose the right paper for your project, and where to buy it, I have a detailed Crepe Paper Guide that you can easily download here, it’s absolutely free.

2. Getting started with cutting petals from crepe paper

I cut a few strips of crepe paper and then divide them into three equal parts. The exact sizes don’t matter here as you’ll adjust them based on the size of your flower.

How to work with crepe paper for beginners

Crepe paper has a very nice feature – it has machine lines that are really convenient because we can use them as a ruler.

How to work with crepe paper for beginners

Cutting the drop petal shape

The most common petal shape for a peony flower is the drop shape. This shape is simple and elegant, and it’s very easy to cut out.

I usually work with two blanks at a time, but I avoid cutting more than two because it can be difficult to cut through many layers of paper, and the cut edges may not be neat and precise, which I want to avoid.

I fold the paper in half and cut to the middle point. From there, I start to round off the top part of the petal to achieve the drop shape.

3. How to shape crepe paper petals: different techniques

How to work with crepe paper for beginners

Before stretching the petal, make sure you have it right side up, as crepe paper has a front and back side. The front side has curved machine lines, while the back side has incurved lines.

It may not be as noticeable with light colors, but it is quite apparent with dark paper colors, as the front side has a richer hue than the back side.

So first, you need to decide how you want your finished flower to look:

  • Open flower that shows more of the inside of the petals, stretch the petals with the front side up.
  • Closed flower that shows more of the outside of the petals, stretch them with the back side up.
Crepe paper peony

I also prefer to stretch two petals at a time. Because stretching only one petal can easily lead to overstretching (which can weaken and deform the paper over time), especially if you don’t have experience working with crepe paper.

My petals will be an example of more closed shape. If you prefer your flower to be fluffier (like a peony), it’s better to keep the petals more closed to create volume.

For flowers that naturally have more open petals, stretch the petals more on the sides, not just in the center as I’ll show you here.

Option 1: Heart-like edge petals

So, I take two petals with my fingers and begin to smoothly stretch them in the middle. I don’t touch or stretch the upper and lower parts of the petal to keep it as concave as possible. Using this technique, you get a very nice shape where the petal looks a little bit like a heart.

Stretching crepe paper petals

Please note that I work more with the rest of my fingers rather than my thumbs because I don’t want rough marks from my thumbs.

Option 2: Rounded edge petals

Ok, let’s make another variation of a closed-shape petal. As before, I take two blanks and cut out the drop shape.

But this time, I want the top edge of my petal to be round without changing shape too much (like the previous petals) while still remaining concave.

So, I stretch not only the middle part but also a bit higher. But, please, note that I am not stretching the very edges. You should never stretch the petal’s edge; it won’t look good, trust me.

Crepe paper petals for giant peony

I think this petal variation looks a little more natural, and, personally, I like it more than the first one because I prefer simple and clean shapes. The heart-shaped petal looks a bit sharp to me.

However, I know that many paper artists prefer the heart shape, so it’s definitely a matter of personal preference. As you experiment with different petal shapes for your peony, you’ll find which ones you like best.

And also you can always mix different petal shapes in one flower for a unique and interesting look.

Option 3: Using a rigidity fix to shape petals

Stretch the petal just a little bit, then gather the bottom edge and secure it with hot glue or a stapler. If it’s a small petal like mine, you don’t need to fix it with anything; just gather the paper, fold the bottom edge, and then glue it to the flower. It will be fixed once it’s glued.

Peony petal from crepe paper

This method is best for very large petals because they are quite heavy, so you want to ensure they won’t lose their shape over time. By fixing them this way, you add rigidity.

4. Enhancing petal shapes with curling techniques

I also want to show you how you can play with the look of the petals and modify their shape by curling the edges.

You can use two techniques for curling petals:

Petal curling technique #1

Gently pull the edge of the petal in different directions with your fingertips. You can make as many pulls as you like—just one pull in the center or multiple pulls along the entire edge for a more curled effect.

Crepe paper petals for giant peony

Petal curling technique #2

Before shaping and stretching the petal, fold the paper tightly and twist it to create a crumpled effect. Then, shape the petal as desired. Many paper artists love this technique because it gives the petals a unique and interesting look.

Crepe paper stretching

Keep in mind that even small modifications to your petals can significantly change the overall appearance of the finished flower. But it’s always worth experimenting to see what you like best.

5. Common mistakes when shaping crepe paper petals

Mistake #1: Overstretching the crepe paper

Overstretching is a very common mistake. So let me demonstrate how you can overstretch the paper.

Overstretched crepe paper

Look, I take a petal and start stretching it really hard, focusing more on using my thumbs.

You can see those harsh marks on the paper. This is overstretched paper, which not only looks unattractive but, more importantly, will lose its shape over time.

Mistake #2: Not gradually rounding the petal shape

Another potential mistake is not rounding the shape of the petal gradually enough, instead only rounding it at the very top. When you stretch the petal like this, it ends up with a square shape at the top, which doesn’t look good.

If a square shape is your intention, that’s perfectly fine. However, if it’s not what you want, keep in mind it might make the whole flower look unappealing when you put it together.

how to make crepe paper flowers
How to shape crepe paper

Remember to take your time and practice these techniques to achieve beautiful, natural-looking petals for your next project.

What are your favorite tips for shaping petals? Have you encountered any challenges along the way? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you😊!

Happy crafting!

Hello and welcome to FancyBloom!

I’m Oksana and I love paper flowers and all things paper. Here at FancyBloom I design new flower templates, make paper flower tutorials, and share my ideas and inspiration for fancy and modern craft.

10 Responses

  1. So beautiful! Do you recall the name of the color of the paper you used? Will you be posting a tutorial to make the peony? Your work is so gorgeous. Thank you so much for pointing out important details!

    1. Thank you so much Rosemary! Here I used Cartotecnica Rossi #951. And I promise to try to make a peony lesson😘.

  2. Fantastic, I have watched hundreds of videos on how to make crepe flowers, I love the detail you give, and the explanations of how and why.
    I wish I had found you earlier, it would have saved me probably a week of my life, and a lot of hair loss.
    Really looking forward to viewing the rest of you videos, Many thanks and kind regards Jacqueline.

    1. Hi Jacqueline, thank you sooo much for this kind feedback!🙏🏼 I’m so happy my information helped you figure some things out! Hugs🤗

  3. Your flowers are so breathtakingly beautiful! I have love this tutorial, and I know you said size doesn’t matter, but can you give rough dimensions for someone who has never done it before? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Rosemary, thank you so much!🥰💖 In the video, I cut strips about 3-4 inches wide and then cut that strip into 3 pieces roughly about 6-7 inches long. I hope this helps you get started! Wish you good luck with your project!😘

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