Spring is in the air! At least it is here in the Sunshine State, where it climbed to the upper eighties this week. More like summer is fighting it’s sweltering way in already.
The Frosty the Book Snowman display I created for winter melted in this heat. Since it was such a hit at my library, I challenged myself to create another eye-catching display for the branch. I’d made tiny book flowers for my Book Fairy Halloween costume (check back in the fall for those details). Why not go for big?
These book flowers are relatively easy to make, and cost almost nothing. They do take some time to put together. After my first few, I was able to craft one in about ten minutes (minus page dying time).
old paperback book (I used 12 pages per flower)
hot glue gun (and many extra sticks–I used almost a whole stick for each)
thin wooden dowels ($1 for pack of 16 at Walmart)
optional: florist tape (Dollar Tree)
old towel & old containers to hold the dye bath
First you need to dye the pages. Wait, first you need to destroy a book. Make sure it’s a novel you enjoyed, and if you’re using it for a public display, make sure it’s not riddled with anything that could be construed as offensive. (Yes, I had to destroy a few petals because swear words were showing. Oops.) Make it a donated book or a well-loved sample from a used book store, so it will have led a long and productive life. Say a few words honoring the author’s work, give it one last pat, then rip the pages from the spine. It won’t feel it, I promise.
Now onto dying. Add several squirts of food coloring to water in a bowl. Place each page into the dye, pushing it down so it becomes saturated. Layer as many as will fit. The longer you let the pages sit in the bath, the deeper the color. I let some sit for as little as two minutes, while others soaked for hours. The color grows richer over time.
Set the pages to dry on an old towel. Let them dry for several hours or overnight, if possible.
*Note: as you can see from the photo, I cut the petals out first for that particular batch. It really doesn’t matter if you cut before or after you dye.
Once the pages dry, you cut. Draw five different sized petals on the pages. Hand drawing works best, because like natural petals, you don’t want them to look too perfect. I didn’t want to waste precious book pages so I fit two large on one page and three smaller on another. You need six pages of each. Yes, you can stack them and cut the pages together if your scissors are sharp.
*Leaves are optional. If you want them, make them now.
Once the petals are cut out, crease the pages gently down the center so they lay naturally when on the flower.
Now we assemble. Heat up that glue gun. Place a blob of glue on one of the smallest petals and wrap around the tip of the dowel several times so the tip of the stick doesn’t show. Then place glue on the base of each smallest petal and glue them, slightly overlapping around the stick. Go one by one. Continue with each size.
You might want to take a pencil and slightly curl some of the petals as you go. You don’t want them sticking out straight, but gently opening, like a rose.
All the petals glued? Perfect! Now, if you made leaves, have them handy. Break out that florist tape. I cut three inch strips and glued them to the base of each leaf. Place a dot of glue at the end of your roll of florists tape and adhere it to the stick just below the base of your rose. Now wrap the tape around your stem. Pause to add your leaves, by holding the trailing leaf tape along the stick/stem and wrapping over it. Glue the end.
You’re done! Hopefully you have a glorious paper rose.
For my library display, I stuck the stems in Styrofoam and covered with shredded green paper. They’d also look stunning in a vase or jar.
My flowers started out as the centerpiece of my Spring Gardening display, but to make to make them stand out, I’ve moved them to their own table. Patrons and staff love them!
**Please excuse the crummy photos. I used my cell phone camera. It stinks.**