Being the DIYer that I am, I knew I wanted to DIY our wedding flowers as soon as we started wedding planning and budgeting. Originally, I was planning to just buy fresh flowers in bulk and DIY the assembly of all of the centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages for our wedding myself vs actually creating the flowers themselves. However, in an effort to keep my sanity intact on wedding day, I wanted to pursue an option that allowed me to assemble the arrangements in advance. Enter “forever flowers”, in this case, beautiful, realistic-looking roses made out of none other than coffee filters!
Like virtually everyone else, I started with Martha Stewart’s coffee filter rose tutorial and though I have mad respect for Martha and her roses looked absolutely shamazing (obvi), I felt like the process was a bit clunky and I wasn’t happy with the results I got personally. Hence, the creation of my own tutorial, a change in materials (Martha’s tutorial uses the much thicker, less common cone-style filters whereas I prefer to use the thinner, more commonplace basket-style filters) and the creation of my own rose petal templates to make them easier to work with. As it turns out, dealing with lots of tiny little pieces of paper was a complete pain in the ass so I sought to minimize that as much as possible. The coffee filter rose tutorial below is the result of many, many (many, many) iterations of these roses that I really believe will get you the very best results with the very least amount of hassle possible.
–Suburban AF Coffee Filter Rose Template
-3 1/4″ regular basket-style coffee filters (you’ll need 6 for each rose)
-Green and white floral tape
-Floral wire for stem (gauges vary greatly; read on)
-Pair of sharp scissors that will cut through 2-3 layers of filters at a time
There are a variety of different methods you can use to add color if you wish, a few of which I have used myself including immersing the filters in water colored with food dye as well as hand painting with concentrated watercolors, both of which I have been able to get good results with. You can also get great results using nothing but undyed, white filters which I have also done. However, I do love the look of using a few darker colored petals in the middle of the rose with lighter, less dramatic colored petals around the outer edges, whether that’s white or just a lighter shade of your desired color.
To dye your coffee filters using food dye, fill a round bowl large enough to fit the coffee filters (without folding) with a few inches of water. Then, add a few drops of the food dye to your water and mix well before adding to the filters to the bowl.
Suburban AF’s Tip: Always use at least one drop of yellow dye when mixing your pinks! This will make the color look more realistic/less fluorescent, particularly if you’re planning to use a lot of pink as I may or may not have done.
Another method that can be used to color your roses is painting them with concentrated watercolors, either on the entire flower or just the tips. If you’re interested in this color method, see this YouTube video . At a high level, the trick is using concentrated, high-quality watercolors as a starting point; mark my words that trying to get this effect with standard childrens’ Crayola watercolors will NOT deliver the results you’re looking for. Just trust me that if you want to use watercolors, head over to Michael’s or Amazon and buy a set of the good, concentrated colors that come in tubes.
See stem options I’ve used below with the floral tape wrapped wire (26 gauge) on the left, smooth 18 gauge (lower gauge=thicker) wire in the center and the string-wrapped 18 gauge wire on the right. I would highly recommend you utilize the more durable 18 gauge wire (center or right) which you can pick up for a few bucks at Michael’s in the floral section. Personally, I think the ones on the right are the easiest to work with because the tape tends to stick a little better than it does with the others. Then, all you have to do to cut each wire in half (I believe they’re each 18″ long) to produce 2 stems. Easy peasy.
Cut out all of the petals that you’ll need to make at least a few roses. I won’t lie; this process can be a bit time-consuming. However, you can stack and cut up to 3 filters at a time to streamline the process if you’re planning to make more than 1 rose.
First, fold a stack of 2-3 coffee filters in half and then fold them in half again until you have a cone shape. Then, cut one of each of the rose petal templates from your stack of filters, making sure to cut all the way to the bottom of the filters on one side in order to create two equivalent-sized petals from each filter. If you don’t do this successfully, no worries, just cut each circular grouping of petals in half upon opening to get your two identical halves. See the image below for how each of the petals should look once cut out.
Once you’ve cut out all of the petals, start with the first of your petal #1s and set your stem on one of them about halfway up the petal. Wrap the petal tightly around the stem and secure with a piece of the white floral tape. Then, repeat this process with your second petal #1 wrapping slightly less tightly than the first petal.
If you’ve never used floral tape before, know that it’s not all that sticky right off the roll! You will have to pull the tape really taut when you secure the petals to expose the stickiness of the tape. It may take a couple of tries to get the hang of it but you’ll get a feel for it.
Go through this exact process again with petals #2 and #3 which are exactly the same shape but progressively larger. As you wrap each petal around the stem, make sure that the tips of the outermost petal tips are just slightly taller than the previous petals. In other words, you will want your inner petals to appear just a little shorter/smaller and your outer petals to be at least a little larger than the center. Once you have the petals #1-3 wrapped and taped, the beginning of your rose will look something like this:
Next, you’ll curl the petals inward with another piece of floral wire (see above) to give them a more realistic look. Start from the outer petals and curl them inward around the stem, gradually working your way toward the innermost petals. Play around a little with curling the petals in different ways, for example curling the petal straight across vs curling it an angle until you find the look you like.
Next, you’ll use the same process of wrapping and taping to attach petals #4-#6 as you did for petals #1-#3. If you see any gaps or your rose looks otherwise uneven on any given side, simply add more petal #6s to the outside to balance out your rose as needed. Depending upon how large any gaps are, you can cut a petal #6 in half or even quarters to fill in just where it is needed. Then, separate and fan out the petals with your fingers before curling the outer petals (petals #4-#6), using the same method as you used to curl petals #1-#3.
If you’ve completed all of the prior steps successfully, congratulations! This is your nearly finished rose. The last step will be to take a longer piece of the green floral tape and wrap it all the way around the base of the rose and top of the stem in order to cover all of the white floral tape you used to form the rose. Use the green floral tape as high up the bud as you like; you can see below, I do typically tape a bit above the white floral tape to ensure my end result rose does not look too long so as to not look unrealistic.
I’d recommend fanning the petals out a bit to make your rose look more full though you can also leave them as-is for more of a budding rose look. And voila, you just made your first coffee filter rose! If your finished rose isn’t quite what you wanted, no worries, you can always untape and try again. For me personally, the process did feel a bit unnatural at first but I guarantee you’ll start to get a feel for it just like I did. The photos I used for this tutorial were most certainly NOT the first roses I made or even the first 10 I made, haha. Like anything else, practice makes perfect.
How did your roses turn out? Please feel free like, share and/or join in the discussion with comments below to share thoughts or questions about your own DIY coffee filter roses.
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Hi! I’m Lisa, creator and owner of SuburbanAF.com, a women’s interest/lifestyle blog for women living a suburban lifestyle. This blog is the natural evolution of earlier blogs I managed, including Becker it Yourself, centered primarily around DIYs. Join me on the suburban journey to Master Mrs. with Style with topics including friends, family, fashion, home, food, travel, fitness and health/beauty, all in good humor.
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