After gathering an army of painted wine bottles, I was still having a hard time deciding if I could somehow work them into our wedding centerpieces. They were pretty cool, but lacked a pop of color.
Enter coffee filter flowers.
I’ve been eyeballing these things on Pinterest for months, waiting for an excuse to try making some hand-dyed ones. There are about five bajillion tutorials online explaining how to make them and I found/made up five methods I thought were worth sharing :)
Method #1 – Too Much Tape
This method I was not crazy about. It started off ok though.First off you fold your coffee filter in half over and over again til it’s this size (I think I folded it in half 4 times). Then you cut off the top (outside) so that it’s curved, and snip about 1/2 inch off the bottom (inside) so that when you open it there is a hole in the middle. Next make a cut from the outside to the inside so that you can open up the circle.
You make about 6 of these, then you roll out a long strip of tape and stick the coffee filters on one by one. You stick the inside circle of the coffee filters to the tape and crumple them as you go. Once you have a full strip of coffee filters, grab your stick (I used the ones we saved from our branch) and wrap the tape around it, starting at one end.
This is how they turned out for me. The end result is sort of… tall? I feel like there was too much tape and it wanted to angle upwards or downwards as I went. The last parts I taped were way further from the end of the stick than the first parts I taped. So meh, it was ok, but I wasn’t crazy about it.
Onto Method #2 – Same Idea, Less Tape
For this method I basically did the same thing but I didn’t stick it all to one long strip of tape. I cut the 6 coffee filters the same way, and then instead of sticking them to tape and wrapping the tape around the stick, I started wrapping the filters themselves directly onto the stick.
I used a small piece of clear tape to secure each filter. The result was a flower that was still tall but slightly less so. And definitely less bulky where the filters met the stick. Getting closer!
Method #3 – Graduated Heights
For this method I continued to wrap each filter on individually, but this time I did not cut curves onto the ends for petals. More importantly, when I cut the tip off the inside of the filters, I cut off more from the filters that would be on the inside so that they would be shorter than the ones on the outside. See what I mean in the top left photo below? I was hoping this would make the flower less tall.
This method I liked. The flower didn’t turn out all “tall” and it looked more balanced. Yay!
Method #4 – Deep Petal Cuts
I wanted to try that technique with petals too. And since I had already done sort of medium sized petals, I wanted to do deeper cut petals this time. See the top left picture below how I cut more down the folded sides of my filter instead of just a little semi circle off the top? Once I had 5 or 6 of these, I cut slits in them from the outside to the center like before and started wrapping them one by one.
In the end I had this very pretty puffy flowers! I like!
Method #5 – Poke a Hole In It
There was another method I still wanted to try that didn’t involve cutting the slit in each coffee filter before wrapping it around the stick. Instead, you just make a small hole in the middle of each filter and poke the stick through it.
First you fold 5 or 6 coffee filters as usual and cut the outside ends to form petals. But this time, do NOT cut off the tips on the bottom. However, you do still want to cut the 5-6 filters so that they start off bigger and end up smaller. So the first one just barely cut off enough to give it a curved petal, and cut off a little more with each one.
Then poke the tip of your stick through them, starting with the largest and ending with the smallest, like the picture below.
Then you take the smallest filter on top and crumple it around the end of the stick (like shown above). Use a small piece of clear tape to secure it. Then do the same thing with each filter. In the end, you have a big puff puff flower!
Methods 3, 4 and 5 were definitely the easiest and yielded the best results for me. For any of these methods, you can experiment with the petal types (no petals at all, normal shallow-cut petals, or deeper-cut long petals).
Of course, I didn’t stop here. I moved onto the part I was most excited about- dying them!!!!
I’ve read some tutorials where you dye the filters before making the flowers, but I already had made mine and I didn’t want to start over, so I winged it. I took some acrylic paint we had on hand (but you could use the cheap cheap stuff at Micheal’s too) and put a few little dots of colors in the bottom of a plastic cup.
Then I just kinda smashed the flower in there and tilted the cup around until all the paper was saturated.
I squeezed out the excess paint over the cup so that it would fall back in for the next flower.
I carefully spread the petals out and let it almost dry. Then I mixed a slightly darker shade of the same color, grabbed my brush, and hand painted some of the darker color just on the inside petals to give it a little dimension and a more realistic look. It’s still kinda soggy in the picture below.
Here is that same flower all dry. It looks really cool! And it’s interesting that the paint naturally got concentrated on the edges of the petals.
I had too much of the darker color I used for the middle of this one left over so I diluted it a bit more and used it for some pink flowers like this one.
Here’s that one after I painted the inside a bit darker and let it dry all the way too.
I also tried some blue flowers, and they were pretty but ended up looking too unnatural and “icy.”
So I stuck with pink/peach tones for most of my flowers, and here they are!
And some pretty detail shots of course….