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How to make 3D Paper Dahlias

How to make 3D Paper Dahlias

Paper flowers are all the rage right now. Today I'm going to show you how to make a 3D paper Dahlia. These can be made using a single color or multiple colors- creating gradients, rainbows, monochrome or complementary flowers. You can even use patterned cardstock for a very unique look.

If you prefer, check out the visual guide below.

The first step is deciding on your cardstock. Common cardstock from the craft store will do the trick but there are some things to consider.

  • Patterned cardstock sometimes comes printed on only one side. While no side is hidden, I suggest folding so that the pattern is on the inside of your cone. Some patterned cardstock has different patterns on each side and this offers a very unique flower.
  • Textured card stock can add an extra dimension but tends to be thicker. While it will work, it does require a bit more effort to shape into your cone.
  • At most craft stores, they have monochrome paper packs of varying shades of the same color. These can make it easy to create a gradient type of flower.
  • When deciding on a color, take your décor into account. They can compliment pillows or curtains, furniture, or other statement pieces in the room.

Newspaper print or sheet music patterns are some of my favorite for the paper dahlias

Most of my Dahlias have been made with 4 and 3 inch square petals. I've found that I can make several different sized flowers with these same 2 sizes. For a very large dahlia, you could start with 5 or 6 inch squares, though I do recommend stepping down in size more than once. Do a third of your rows with the largest, then step down a square inch for a few rows, and then finish with your smallest size.

When cutting the cardstock, I recommend using a paper cutter or a ruler and rotary cutter. Its important that your lines be straight and your squares equal. If neither of these are available, a straight edge and a pencil can help create straight lines for cutting with scissors.

For added fun, you could cut with pinking shears or cut scalloped edges with your electronic cutting machine.

For the base of your Dahlia, grab a piece of scrap cardboard. Don't stress too much over this part -I've even used the top of a pizza box! The size isn't an exact science, just make sure it's smaller than the desired size of your completed flower. This will be what we glue our petals too, and will be used to hang it later. In this video, I used a salad plate to draw my circle. Anything similar in size will work, but you can freehand it as well - it doesn't have to be perfect, only you will know its there.

To create your petals, you will want to hold your squares so they resemble diamonds, points up/down and left/right rather than holding so it looks like a square. Fold the left and then right corners in towards the center. I use the word fold loosely here - don't crease the folds, rather, you're wanting to make a cone shape. The first few may be a bit tricky, but once you've done a few, they will get easier and the process will move quickly. I've found that pinching the bottom point helps to hold the shape of the cone.

Now grab your glue gun and apply a small amount of glue on the inside of the top flap. Don't apply it too thick or too close to the edge. You don't want so much glue that when you hold it closed it seeps out from under the flap. Hot glue dries quickly, so hold it closed as it cools and then move on to the next one.

Different glue guns operate at different temperatures; if the glue coming out of your gun is too hot to allow you to hold the petals while it dries I suggest getting some fingertip protectors, such as these:

Place your completed petals around your cardboard circle. The closer the points are to each other, the smaller your flower will be. The tops of your petals will need to touch, but the rest is irrelevant. Any gaps will be covered but subsequent layers. Once you've made enough petals to form your first layer, it's time to glue them down.

Add a bead of hot glue to the bottom of your petal and place it on the cardboard, holding it down will it dries. Continue for the entire layer until your circle is complete

Repeat these steps until your flower is about halfway filled in with your petals made from the larger squares. For an average size Dahlia like in the video, around the forth or fifth layer you will want to switch to the smaller squares. Continue making cones and gluing them to the base.

As your flower gets fuller, you may need a dowel, pen, or something similar to apply pressure while holding petals in place during the gluing process.

The final layer can be the most difficult. Make several cones and play around with their placement before gluing them down. I've found that gluing them to each other, and then applying glue to the sides of the petals before inserting helps to keep them in place.

Now that your dahlia is complete, it's time to display. In my own home, I like to use the Velcro Command strips. This allows me to take them down and change them out to fit the season or as the décor changes. You can also glue d-rings or a sawtooth hanger to the back and hand them from a nail. As light as the flowers are, feel free to experiment with different methods to find what works best for you.

With the size and color options available, the decorating options are endless with these simple, beautiful 3D paper Dahlias. You change them out for the seasons. Black and orange for Halloween, earth tones for thanksgiving, red and gold for Christmas, pastels for easter, and red white and blue for all of our patriotic days here in the States.

You can do one giant dahlia, or cluster several smaller flowers together to create a statement piece everyone will be talking about.

Let me know below what color or pattern you would love to make your Dahlias and where you would hang them.

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