I’ve been making crepe paper roses since I was a kid. They are inexpensive and easy to do, as long as you don’t mind a few hot glue burns along the way.
I bought some streamers the other day in the colors that I am decorating my daughter’s playroom and I decided I was going to do something for her wall in the hot pink streamers. I thought about making some frames (which could still happen) and decided that I wanted something bigger, and came up with a monogram. The problem was that when I went to Hobby Lobby, I couldn’t find a letter big enough, and I really wasn’t in to paying a bunch of money for a letter that I was going to cover up. I mean the whole point of the crepe paper roses is that it’s super cheap to make. Buying a letter to put them on would just cancel out the whole cheap stuff for her wall plan.
So after scrounging though my increasingly messy full of great stuff office closet, I came up with a plan. I had a piece of foam core that had gone unused because it had gotten bent and never was quite right after that. I also had a long narrow strip of cushion left over from my daughter’s playroom window seat cushion. Considering the fact that things that make sense in my head don’t always actually work out as planned, this project went together very easily!
Hot glue sticks (I used 10)
Glue gun (I recommend a cool temp one, burnt fingers seem unavoidable)
Crepe paper streamers (2 rolls)
Foam Core board (I used one that had been bent and was almost unusable for most projects)
Left over foam cushion scraps
Lots of time
So I started by going on my computer and making a big S in Illustrator. I picked a font that I thought was a little playful and yet thick too. Since I’m gluing and cutting foam, an ornate letter would have been difficult and the details would probably have been lost by the rose covering anyway. It was 2′x14″ so it was big! I then printed it out on my printer using page tiling since it was too big to fit on one page. Next I taped my pages all together. Then I cut out my S.
After it was cut out, I traced it on my foam core board with a piece of chalk. If you have white foam core, you can of course use a pencil. I couldn’t see my pencil marks on black foam core. Hence the chalk. No you are not seeing backwards, I flipped my letter over because it was blackand I couldn’t see it on the foam core. So I traced it backwards and flipped it over once it was cut out.
Once it was traced, I cut it out of the foam core with a utility knife. Be careful or you could cut yourself!
See, I told you the S wouldn’t be backwards after I cut it out!
Then I traced my letter onto my foam scrap, I had to do it in three parts because I was using a leftover. It’s fine because you are going to cover the whole thing with tape later. No one will ever know!
Cut out the foam and if you used the puzzle method like I did, put the pieces back together on top of your foam core.
Next, take your packing tape and start by attaching it on the back of the foam core, wrapping around the foam and attaching on the other side of the back of the board. By making your tape slightly tight, you will round the corners on the top of letter, giving it a nice smooth look. Which you’ll be able to see better once it’s wrapped in crepe paper.
I promise it’ll look good once you cover it! Continue with the tape until you’ve covered all the foam with it.
Next take your crepe paper and wrap it around the S, like a mummy. I had to cut some pieces off and tape them individually to get it as smooth as possible. And magically all those random pieces that don’t look so beautiful start smoothing out and looking good.
Now comes the tedious part. I admit, I wanted something big, not a little puny letter hanging on the wall. But the problem with that is the bigger the letter, the more roses you are going to be making. And let me tell you, I made roses for about 8 hours. Yep, I am that crazy. I burned my fingers a lot too. So be forewarned, and if you have really sensitive fingers (I think I might have burned the nerve endings enough that mine aren’t that sensitive anymore) you may want a bowl of ice water next to you. It’ll cool down the hot glue that is burning your fingers almost instantly, rather than prolonging the pain.
To make the roses, I cut off about 2 1/2 to 3 feet lengths of crepe paper. The longer the paper, the bigger the roses will be. I made a pile of strips and before I started making the roses. Also, have the hot glue gun plugged in and ready to go.
You start by rolling the end around once and few times and then secure your little bud (or center of the flower) with a dab of hot glue. Then you twist the crepe paper streamer around and just keep twisting and layering.
Continue twisting and layering and and glueing until you run out of your strip of paper. Secure the end piece underneath with another dab of hot glue.
Then glop a bunch of glue on the bottom of the rose and glue it onto your letter. Repeat for what feels like a million times.
After it was completed, I hot glued and then stapled a ribbon to the back for hanging. Then I showed it proudly to my daughter, who asked me when I was going to finish the rest of her name!