When I was young, I loved tissue paper flowers. I would grab whatever extra tissue paper we had, some pipe cleaners, and settle down in a corner and put together a bouquet of beautiful, fragile flowers. I believe someone gave me a book with various shapes to try, but I ended up making a lot of tulips. The only trouble with tissue paper flowers, however, is that no matter how pretty they are, they are extremely fragile and do not travel well. I don’t think I have a single one left between all my moves.
However, I did discover that there are other ways to make pretty flowers, and they hold up much better and can be used for many more things than the tissue paper flowers. Tulle flowers can be pretty, especially as hairbows for tiny children, but they can get ragged and tear. Ribbon, however, is often sturdier, and will last a long time. Ribbon is also a much better material for a wide age range, and can be used for other things, not just fashion accessories. You can decorate with them – on pillows, as a garland for a Christmas tree, as a centerpieces for Easter, etc. You can adorn your bags, coats, and scarves with them. They can be placed on cards, used as bookmarks, and added to other craft projects like embroidery.
The Ribbon Retreat has the perfect beginner project for someone like me, with little experience working with ribbon. Their Satin Ribbon Dahlia is gorgeous, perfect for a gift or addition to another project. To make the dahlia, you’ll need the following materials: 2 yards of satin ribbon (you can use any size – the pattern suggests using 1 1/2″ ribbon but does mention you can use another size if you want to go bigger or smaller than the original), a gem (the pattern suggests using a pearl), a needle, a thread, a clip (a barrette would work as well), a felt circle (try to match or coordinate with the color of the ribbon you chose), a lighter, and a hot glue gun with plenty of glue.
You’ll need to measure your ribbon, then sew a zig-zag pattern in the ribbon. Secure at the end with a knot and then gather from the other end. The ribbon will bunch up and start resembling petals. Just remember that if you don’t use quilting quality thread, you will need to go slowly and not yank, as you could break the thread and then have to start over. You may have to re-thread your needle a few times. Remember to gather as you go. Once you’re done, you can start wrapping in a circle, adding a dab of hot glue every so often so it stays in place. Glue the gem in the middle, add the felt and clip to the back, and voila! You now have a beautiful ribbon dahlia to adorn whatever you please.
Does this sound like a project you’d love to try? You can find the full written and photo tutorial at The Ribbon Retreat. You can also purchase supplies there, including ribbon and gems. If you don’t like using ribbon, of course, there are other, just as sturdy options, including rickrack and felt flowers.