The Making of the Paper Flowers

As the lead flower harvester for the “florists” at They’re Beautiful!, I thought I’d share with you how the flowers were made.

To get some basic understanding of what it’s like to be a florist, I spent half a day job-shadowing Nisha Kelem, owner of Seattle’s Fleurish. We met early one weekday at the wholesale flower market where I observed Nisha and her team meticulously selecting ingredients for the day’s orders. They gathered an array of flowers, foliage, containers and interesting things such as long stem artichokes, pincushion flowers and tea leaves. We went back to her very chic Capitol Hill boutique, unloaded the van, and Nisha and her team began arranging straight away. What was really interesting to watch was that every arrangement I saw being created was truly unique. That said, there is quality and a touch that Fleurish has about their bouquets. They all seem to be so well-balanced, tightly structured in form, yet totally visually compelling through usage of interesting flowers/foliage selections. Although each arrangement I saw that morning was very different, there was an overall signature touch about them.

That really got us thinking about how to render the flowers for They’re Beautiful!. Just because the flowers are virtual didn’t mean we had to create them from scratch with pixels. :) We were looking for a style that was different and special; something that was more than a generic illustration. We decided on paper as our primary medium and headed straight away to Paper Zone where I was like a kid in a candy store. :)

Materials:

  • Bazzill Basics Scrapbooking paper (double sided and color core)
  • Tissue Paper (various colors)
  • Sobo Glue (dries clear)

Tools:

  • Self Healing cutting mat
  • X-acto knife and extra blades
  • bone folder for scoring
  • 1/8 paint brush (thin handle of brush is used for curling paper)
  • Tweezers (used to pick up tiny pieces)
  • Fiskars No. 4 Mini Craft Scissors

Below are some “behind-the-scenes” shots of how I made the flowers. Some notes on what you’re looking at:

  • There’s an image of my first test pilot “poppy”. It didn’t make it into the summer collection but I did learn a lot about breaking down the fibers in the paper to get it to be flexible.
  • I used the handle of a thin paintbrush to curl the edges of the gerber petals.
  • Creating the stamen and anthers required a slicing up a tiny narrow strip, tightly rolling it up, and lastly using your fingers to spread out the fringes.
  • Getting textured grooves on the petals of the gerbers was simply scoring the paper with a bone folder.
  • Dahlia petals had to be tipped in with tweezers.

Flower Collage

4 Responses to The Making of the Paper Flowers

  1. Long Zheng says:

    When I first looked at They’re Beautiful, I thought “wow Jenny did a great job taking photos of all these flowers and masking the background”. Then I read the about page and nearly fell over my chair.

    Whilst I might be easily fooled, these are nothing short of amazing origamis. I don’t even want to think of all the time and effort required to make just all the flowers that’s available on the website, let alone all the trials and mistakes.

    Looking forward to all the future flowers and bouquets in the future!

  2. Adrian says:

    The look of the flowers totally makes the app. It’s hard to imagine ending up with such an organic, friendly look starting from polys & textures in 3DSM/Maya. I love the care and craft that went into these — way to go, Jenny!

  3. Leslie Evans says:

    My goodness! I had no idea that you actually MADE the paper flowers! As someone who has some experience with working with paper as an artistic medium I must say I am now even MORE impressed with your talent, Jenny. They are, indeed, beautiful.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Absolutely stunning! I am SO going to blog about this! lol

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