Pretty Neat (and Easy): DIY Paper Flowers

I’ve always admired the paper flowers that I’ve seen around the internet, but I’ve never tried to make my own until recently. I have to admit, I started this project with a severe lack of supplies. Sure, I had different types of paper, scissors, and all of the craft supplies you would want for such a task, but I did not have my computer by my side to look up similar projects for inspiration. Instead, I tried a few different techniques until I found one that worked. I’m very happy with the results you see below and was impressed at how quickly the flower took shape and came together.

DIY Paper Flowers by somethingwewhippedup.com

DIY Paper Flowers by somethingwewhippedup.com

So far, I’ve only used one flower to top a gift, but I could see a group of them being used to decorate a tabletop, or a few tucked into the corners of a bookcase to add a little pop of color. They’ll always be in season, so I’m sure many more paper flowers will be blooming around here soon.

DIY Paper Flowers

  • squeeze punch (like this one by Fiskars)
  • heavy stock colored paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • decorative button

1. Use a squeeze punch to cut round disks from the colored paper. I used about 15 circles for the flower pictured above.

2. Use scissors to cut a slit into all but one disk of paper from the outside edge to the center (see photo in slideshow below).

3. Hold a disk in your hand and use your fingers to wrap it into a cone shape. Secure the edges with a dot of glue and let dry (see photo in slideshow below). Do this with all of the disks.

4. Glue one cone to the base of another cone, allowing them to overlap just slightly (see photo in slideshow below). Secure with a dot of glue and add more cones, one-by-one, to your flower, building out as you go.

5. Once your flower has reached your desired size, glue the one uncut disk that was set aside to the back so you have a smooth bottom.

6. Glue a decorative button into the center of the flower and let dry. Use as desired.

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SWWU Tip 1: Curious to know what’s inside the box above? It’s a personalized wood block created to commemorate a baptism. Check it and other great gift ideas out at the ekm43 shop on Etsy.

SWWU Tip 2: Looking for an easier way to adorn the gifts you give? Check out this cascading ribbon bow.

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Fit to Be Tied

I get a lot of pleasure out of giving gifts to people. Selecting just the right item and watching the recipient open it up to discover what’s inside is very enjoyable to me. Similar to how people eat with their eyes (things that look appetizing taste better), I think people first experience gifts with their eyes as well. If it’s packaged just right, it’s more likely to be enjoyed. Unfortunately, transporting wrapped presents—especially when you need to take them through the city on a subway—can be a bit tricky. Crumpled bags, ripped paper or, my personal pet peeve, a smooshed bow, can all ruin the gift giving experience a bit. That’s why I’m thankful for a few type of bow that has yet to fail me:

Smoosh-Proof Cascading Ribbon Gift Bow by somethingwewhippedup.com

Smoosh-Proof Cascading Ribbon Gift Bow by somethingwewhippedup.com

I call it the cascading ribbon bow. It couldn’t be simpler to make and it has never disappointed me. Its slim profile allows me to easily slip the present it’s adorning into a bag for easy transport and a quick fluff gets everything into place when we arrive at our destination.

To make the bow, simply tie ribbon around your box as your normally would, ending with a knot in the middle of the top. Cut strips of ribbon (mine were about 12 inches long) and tie them to the center knot. Add as many strips as you like, alternating colors if desired. Finish by tying a bit or ribbon over the mass of knots in the center to cover them up.

SWWU Tip 1: The thinner the ribbon the better for this bow. I like to use a 3mm (1/8 inch) size.

SWWU Tip 2: Instead of covering the mass of ribbon with the last knot, you can also tie on a small trinket. A flower, notecard or another small gift would all work well.

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Out With a Bang

Two years ago Brian and I brought a store-bought piñata along to a weekend getaway with some friends. We filled it with adult-friendly goodies like alcohol nips (in plastic bottles), gift cards and travel-size beauty products, and then topped it off with some candy treats. It was a big hit—literally—so we decided to do it again when the same group of friends got together this past weekend. In addition to Memorial Day we were also celebrating a friend’s birthday. We knew we had to pull out all the stops and do something extra special so we made our own piñata.

DIY Pinata by somethingwewhippedup.com

DIY Pinata by somethingwewhippedup.com

And it worked! Luckily it just took some time, imagination and a few papier mâché skills that we each picked up in elementary school. Click through the slideshow below to see how it all came together.

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SWWU Tip 1: As you may notice, it’s a bit difficult to tell what our piñata resembles. Is it a monster, an odd wingless bird or something else entirely? We don’t know, and that’s the point. Since this was our first attempt at papier mâché in a few decades we decided to start off easy and make something unrecognizable. It’s still pretty cute, though—whatever it is!

SWWU Tip 2: Want your piñata to last longer? The more coats of newspaper you use, the stronger it will be. We ended up with three coats on ours. Also avoid hitting it with a wooden bat or broomstick (especially if you’re a big, strong adult—remember, these things are designed for kids). A classic Wiffle Ball bat is perfect!

SWWU Tip 3: Mix equal parts flour and water to form the perfect papier mâché paste. It should resemble pancake batter. Be sure to let your structure dry completely between coats.

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Eggs to Dye For

Silk-dyed eggs have been all over the internet for the past few years. It was a technique I always wanted to try, but I never had excess silk, ties or scarves hanging around. Then, when Brian and I started cleaning out our closets we found some real gems. And by gems, I mean hideous ties. They had to go, and I knew just what to do with them!

Tie-Dyed Eggs by somethingwewhippedup.com

Tie-Dyed Eggs by somethingwewhippedup.com

The project was pretty simple, but it is time-consuming. We ran into some trouble with two of the ties we used; I suppose they turned out not to be 100 percent silk, which is necessary. The ones that did work, are quite unique though. We’ll definitely be giving this another shot next year, too.

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Tie-Dyed Eggs

  • white eggs
  • 3 nails, each one slightly bigger than the last
  • mallet
  • straw
  • 100 percent silk ties
  • scissors
  • twist ties or rubber bands
  • white cotton cloth
  • large nonreactive pot
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • tongs

1. First blow out your eggs. To do this, slightly hammer the smallest of your nails (the smaller the better) into one end of your egg. Remove the nail, then work the next larger nail into the same exact spot. Finally, finish with your largest nail. Repeat this process at the other end of the egg, so you have a hole on the top and one on the bottom. Take your longest nail and poke it into each hole several times, carefully moving it around to help break up the yolk. Place a straw over the top hole and blow into the opposite end of the straw. If saving your eggs, do this over a bowl. If not saving your eggs, it helps to do this over the sink with running water. Once all of the whites and yolk have come out of the egg, rinse it under running water and set it on a towel to dry. Repeat with remaining eggs.

2. Carefully take your ties apart, starting with the back seam. Cut squares large enough to wrap around the eggs, with a bit extra on each side.

3. Wrap the fabric, top-side-in, around each egg. Secure each end as tight as you can with a twist tie or rubber band.

4. Cut your cotton cloth into squares large enough to wrap each egg in. Wrap the eggs and secure with a twist tie or rubber band.

5. Fill a large nonreactive pot with cold water and add the vinegar. Place the wrapped eggs inside the pot. If eggs are floating, top with a heat-safe plate (to help keep the eggs submerged). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Turn heat off and let eggs sit in water for 30 minutes. Use tongs to remove eggs, let cool, then unwrap.

SWWU Tip 1: Wrap your eggs as tightly as possible. Any spot where the fabric is not touching the eggs will result in the pattern not being transferred. It also helps to wet the silk a bit before wrapping your egg in it. 

SWWU Tip 2: Any type of silk should work for this project. In addition to ties, look for scarves or scraps of fabric at thrift stores. 

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Vintage Button Hairpins

I’ve been collecting vintage buttons for the past few years. They’re scattered around the house in jars and vases and add a nice pop of color wherever they are. When I get a truly special pair, I like to turn them into hairpins. I’ve given out a few sets, like the ones below, as gifts. They couldn’t be easier to make and the recipient always enjoys getting something a little more personal that’s tailored to her.

Vintage Button Hairpins by somethingwewhippedup.com

Vintage Button Hairpins by somethingwewhippedup.com

Once you find the buttons, these hairpins are fairly easy to make. Here’s how:

Vintage Button Hairpins

  • vintage buttons
  • needle-nose pliers
  • sharp scissors
  • fine sand paper (optional)
  • felt
  • super strong glue (such as E-6000)
  • toothpicks
  • bobby pins with pads
  • feathers (optional)

1. Select your buttons. The ones with flat backs are easiest to use, but if your button has a shank (a loop for thread on the back) you can still make it work. If there is a shank, try to remove it using needle-nose pliers and/or sharp scissors. If the back is rough after this, you may want to smooth it out with a bit of sand paper.

2. Once you have a flat back, cut out a piece of felt that will cover almost the entire back of the button. Use the glue to secure the felt on the back, use a toothpick to remove any excess glue that has oozed out of the sides and set aside to dry. Repeat with the remaining button.

3. Glue the bobby pins to the felt pads and let dry overnight.

4. If adding feathers (as shown in the slideshow below), cut two pieces of felt for each button and glue the feathers between them before affixing the bobby pins.

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SWWU Tip 1: Look for vintage buttons in antique stores, on websites like Etsy and eBay or check in with your mom, grandma or another older relative (you might be surprised what you find).

SWWU Tip 2: Feel free to skip the felt backing if your button has a perfectly smooth surface. You should be able to glue the bobby pin directly to the back.

Full disclosure: This is not something WE whipped up, this post is something I’ve done on my own. From time to time, we’ll each showcase some of our personal projects on here. We hope you enjoy!

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