How to make paper flower bouquet from a French novel

Guest post by Jordan Roberts

roses029 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

So I have finished my bouquet and I am really happy with how it has turned out.

These are made from pages torn from a French novel. I decided that instead of blotting the paper with paint on a sponge, I was going to do a streaky wash of bright red acrylic, thinned down heavily with water.

These are the pages I painted, drying on my clothes rack!


This is my table, halfway through making the roses…


I made the roses according to this tutorial [Editor's note: sadly, the original tutorial is no longer online, but this one looks to be similar], so I didn't bother to post any pics of that process — I will say that it was amazingly easy to do. I am not the craftiest person in the world but they worked out really well. I used a ton of glue to join the layers together very solidly, which was fine because the paper I used was so sturdy, and has also given the roses a nice weight.

But, the roses needed stems! So, I bought some floral wire and some pipecleaners. The floral wire was too short (it came in precut lengths) so I used the pipecleaners and some floral tape to cover their fluffiness, like so…

First, bend the tip of the pipecleaner around like a shepherd's crook, then bend the curl 90 degrees.


Then poke a hole through your rose, carefully, using something pointy. I found working from top to bottom was easier than bottom to top. I used a cake-testing skewer, but a long compass, or a mattress needle, or a meat skewer would do. The glue makes the flowers a bit stronger, but try not to distort the shape of the flower too much while you push, and don't try to push through a huge glob of glue, as you will hurt your fingers. Some of my roses were pierced through the base layer only, while some were easier to pierce through the third layer, beneath the central bud.



Poke the straight end of the curled pipecleaner through the hole and pull it gently through.


When the pipecleaner curl gets to the rose, twist the stem to arrange the curl under a petal, so it's hidden — probably best to have a similar coloured pipecleaner to use — mine were orange and pink in red roses, so not perfect, but acceptable. Bend the pipecleaner stem to the length you want. I made mine double thickness for strength.


Using floral tape, wrap your pipecleaner together. Offbeat Bride Tribe member LindyHopper gave me a good tip of using the floral tape in 12inch lengths, and also advised that you need to stretch the tape to make it sticky, which I didn't know. Thanks LindyHopper! It's helpful to leave a “tail” of tape on the edge of the rose, but it won't stick there by itself. I left it hanging for now and glued it later.


One wrapped stem (the only floral tape my craft store had was white, but it also comes in green and that would probably be better if you can get it).


Three wrapped stems, and showing the blob of glue I used to glue down the end of the floral tape. It would probably be better to use a shorter bit of tape, as the tail showed a lot on my roses.


Oh, and I didn't bother making calyxes (the green pointy bit around the bottom of the rose) because I knew mine would be covered up. But if you were only making a few roses, or wanted to show the bottom, a calyx would be good. Make it out of the same paper as the leaves — see below.

Once I'd made all eight, I started on the leaves. Once again these are made with an acrylic wash over pages torn from a French novel, only in green this time. I cut out the leaf shapes using a template I got from Martha Stewart, but they could easily have been drawn freehand. The shape is pretty simple so you can cut out four at a time if you fold the page right.

I folded the leaf shapes in half and ran a bead of glue along the inside of the fold, then pressed the floral wire along the fold.


After the glue had dried, I opened the leaves out and curled the wire back to give the leaves a pretty shape. Many of the leaves tore slightly as I opened them, leaving white patches in the green paint, but I fixed this by overpainting them. Easy.


Then I started assembling the bouquet! I think there is probably a better way to do it, I've never done it before, but I started with a central rose and added two roses to the sides, bending the wire until it looked right, then carefully floral taped them together. (I was too excited to remember to photograph this stage!) I then added three more roses to fill in the sides and give a rounded shape, again bending the wire and floral taping the whole bunch together. It looked like this from below.


Then I added leaves in a vaguely asymmetrical fashion, winding the floral wire around the bouquet stem. I stabbed and scratched myself quite a lot while doing this, as the wire is pointy! I also discovered that the stem was too short, so I added more pipcleaners to lengthen it, winding these around to attach. I covered the whole stem in three layers of floral tape to protect my hands (and cover up the messy blue pipecleaners I used), and the stem will eventually be covered in red ribbon.

But, for those of you who have read this far, I present, my pretty-much-finished bouquet! I am very happy with it, very happy indeed! Saving money, making things, enjoying myself — hooray for the OBBT!




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Comments on How to make paper flower bouquet from a French novel

  1. Wow! That’s amazing. You must have a lot of patience, but how much more meaningful will this bouquet be since you made it yourself!
    Congrats on your craftiness.

  2. Gosh, this is an awesome idea! I’d be tempted to actually leave the paper its natural colour if I did this myself, because I am a big academic nerd and it would seem to fit! Really cool.

  3. Very creative use of paper and recycling. Looks awesome. Another idea is to use crepe paper-Martha Stewart has some kits.

  4. That is SO COOL.

    Would make a really amazing centerpiece idea too. Will be bookmarking this!

    I think it would look really cool with a stack of books, some candles, and some tea-stained novel pages.

  5. I’m intrigued! I may employ this idea for my own bouquet! However, I think may use an Italian novel! Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. These are very likely the sexist flowers I’ve ever seen DYI’ed!
    Thank you for taking the time to show us how to make these! πŸ˜€

  7. I think I just found a way to let D’s Anne Rice paperbacks live on. I’ve been through 5 books so far, and each one I have accidentally destroyed.

  8. that is so unique. i love that you can personalise the idea by using pages of a book by your favourite author πŸ™‚

  9. I am not going to have a bouquet, but I think this would make a fantastic Mom/MIL/Grandma/special person corsage! πŸ˜€

  10. This is great! I made paper roses in a similar style using a Martha Stewart kit for my sweetie for Valentine’s day and was surprised by how good they looked. Using paper from a novel is a wonderful idea and they look fabulous and original!

  11. I’m definitely going to do this. I’m a real bookworm and have wondered how I could integrate that in the wedding. This is an amazing idea!

  12. This is amazing! The h2b and I have settled on a literature themed wedding and I was wondering how to have a bouquet that didn’t cost the earth….and this is PERFECT. Even though we’re not getting married for a while I could make this now! Roll on lazy weekends when I have nothing to do. πŸ™‚

  13. If I may ask, did you use an Uchida punch for the flower shapes? That’s what it looks like in the linked tutorial. If so, did you use the “Giga” 2 3/4″ punch, or the “Mega” 2 1/4″? I’m dying to try this, but I don’t want to make my roses too big or small. Thank you for sharing the lovely idea!

  14. I think I might try this, if I can bring myself to tear pages out of a book!

  15. My omnibus Jane Austen just fell apart (finally), and this is a great use for all those pages I can't bring myself to throw away!

  16. I've got a ton of manga and comics that I never read and have been dying to turn into something… I would have never have thought of a bouquet! Talk about recycling! Brilliant stuff!

  17. Thanks everyone and thanks Ariel for featuring the post – I got so excited when I saw this tonight!

    I didn't use a punch to make the flowers, I played around with a 6-petalled template based on this picture (… – you just trace the second layer of circles, the ones on the outside that don't touch the outer border) until I was happy with the size, and used that to trace out my pages. The size of the template was determined by the size of my book – big enough to use most of the page without going over the edge of the printing!

  18. OMG, I'm a young adult novelist planning a wedding on an extremely tight budget, and this is SO FREAKING PERFECT. I know it takes a lot of time and patience but I'm all about it. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Righteous! I'm totally stealing that idea, thanks for the inspiration. I hope it's a huge hit!

  20. This is great! I’m actually using this idea for my bouquet with just a few alterations. I’m also using a Harry Potter book instead of a novel. Yes, I am a HUGE Harry Potter dork. But I figure that this way my Harry Potter dorkiness is hidden… and I incorporate it into my wedding πŸ˜‰ Overall a great idea and a great job! Rock on!

    • So am I! I was trying to figure out a way to tie it in without being too obvious and this is the most perfect idea.

      Good luck to both of us! Lol.

  21. Just wanted you to know, I’ve made about a hundred of these roses. I am having them as decorations in big vases at the reception and have enjoyed having all my girlsfriends over to make them with me…I will have some fun memories when I look at them during the reception: as will many of my guests!

    Now heading off to make the bouquet from these also! Thanks so much for the time you took to show us this.

  22. Very nice! I am doing something similar with a book that was mother’s as a child. She has passed on, so this gives me something of hers at the wedding.

  23. Yay jordie! And can I say how beautiful and perfectly romantic they were in real life πŸ™‚ and what a nice surprise to find this on here while trawling through the archives! Yay!!!! Xx

  24. Hey Jordan- thanks so much for posting this! I’ll be using the same design for our centrepieces- which’ll be flowers made from sheet music!

    Just wondered- did you have a copy of the flower tutorial saved somewhere you could send me? I tried to access the link today, but I was denied permission (even though I have been able to access it in the past)! If you could email me a copy if you’ve got it somewhere, that’d be great- [email protected].

    Thanks so much!


  25. Great tutorial!!! I am making my own blue orchids for my bouquets and centerpieces but wasn’t sure how to put them all together! I found your page through pintrest and you’ve saved me a whole lot of trial and error. thanks!!! Your flowers are beautiful btw. Great job:D

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