DIY Project: Paper Ranunculus

Sometimes, I wish Instagram was a real person so I could shake its hand and give it a huge hug for the endless amounts of inspiration it provides. From discovering great new home tours, photographers and florists to talented DIYers, I am constantly screengrabbing things and sending them to myself to follow up on later. This week’s final DIY project before the holiday is one I’ve been excited to post for weeks. I follow a number of crafters online, but few inspire me as much as Susan Beech. Susan’s Instagram account, A Petal Unfolds, is full of beautiful paper flowers. Most of the time I can’t believe they’re not real, but especially in the case of her rich purple and red ranunculi. They looked so much like the real thing that I wrote to her to ask if we could do a how-to together. Thankfully she was game and today I’m thrilled to share her project, just in time for holiday centerpieces. xo, grace

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About Susan: Susan Beech is a paper flower maker living in Brighton, UK. She graduated in Fine Art Printmaking from the University of Brighton in 2002. She focused mainly on digital work and landscape photography, producing emotional pieces on her keen affiliation with nature. In 2013 Susan decided she wanted to go back to making things with her hands again. She took a class in making paper flowers and was instantly drawn to the beauty that could be created from paper. She opened her online shop A Petal Unfolds in April 2014 and is excited to develop her work further.

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!


-Single Ply crepe paper 40g (I use a piece about 23cm/9in x 50cm/20in for each flower) in reds, purples and a green for the stems
-2 cm diameter Polystyrene balls
-Florist wire, 20 gauge
Aleene’s Tacky Glue (the Turbo Tacky Glue is my favourite to use)
-Hot glue gun and glue stick
-Thick card for templates
-Wire cutters
Petal Template

Tips for working with crepe paper:

•When working on this flower, the grain of the paper must always run with the height of the petals, so your grain will run from the top of the petal to the bottom and not across.
•Cupping a petal involves holding the petal between your thumb and forefingers of both hands and then gradually stretching the petal carefully and evenly in to a curved shape.
•Stretching the paper means holding the paper at both ends with your thumb and forefinger and gently stretching until it can’t be stretched further.


Refer to petal template, draw out template and cut this out of the card.

Cut strips of crepe paper about 3cm wide and cut out your petals. You will need approximately 75 for each flower. I tend to cut out my petals and keep them as they are in their little piles, as it’s easier to trim the petals down to the different sizes later.


Cut floral wire into lengths about 16cm long.

Find the center of the polystyrene ball and insert floral wire with a little hot glue on the end. I push the wire in about a centimeter. Once the glue has cooled slightly, I press any above the surface down onto the polystyrene so it doesn’t create too much of a bump around the base of the wire. This is the only time you need to use the hot glue.


Cut a little circle of crepe for the very dark center base of your ranunculus flower. I tend to use a darker shade of the colour I plan to do the whole flower in. A brown/green colour can be good, too. Stretch the paper a little and glue to the top of the polystyrene ball.


For the first batch of petals (center petal) you will need approximately 45 to be cut about 1cm from the top across the width. Lightly cup each petal in the center between your thumb and forefinger to give the petal a little shape. The petal template shows the petal when cut down and stretched. Apply a small amount of glue along the straight bottom edge.

These first petals will be forming the very center circle. Place the first petal so that the top edge almost meets the center of the polystyrene ball, holding the petal down so it is sure to stick. Glue the edge of your next petal and overlap it on the previous petal about 50%, positioning it so it is forming a little curve away from the previous. Continue doing this with your next petals until you have formed your center circle. Throughout making the flower, you will be overlapping your petals and you will be able to keep track of where you need to place your next petal because the last petal you glued down will be the one that hasn’t been overlapped yet.


For the next row of petals, you will bring the layer slightly down from the edge of the center circle and then continue overlapping round and round, following the center circle, bringing the layers down until you have completely filled the center of your flower.


Your next set of petals are the outer petals on the petal template and you will need about 30. These petals are cut across about 2mm from the bottom of the petal and are cupped in the middle.

With this layer I tend to bring the petals up around the center of the flower a little. Continue overlapping the petals as before and applying a little glue along the bottom edge. Once you have completed one layer, bring the next layer down slightly and continue around and around as before.


Once you’ve reached a point where you are happy with the shape of your flower (I usually do about 5 layers of outer petals), cup 4 full-size petals deeply to give the bottom of the flower a full shape. I glue this down along the bottom edge as before, but this time I simply glue the petals down overlapping at 90 degrees with each other to cover any remaining polystyrene that is showing and any of the hot glue.


Stems & Calyx

To make the calyx, I cut a strip of green crepe about 2cm wide, across the grain, accordion fold and hand cut out a little leaf shape 2cm in height, cupping slightly in the middle to give a little shape. Glue the end of the calyx shape, then push the glued paper up against the base of the wire, pinching the paper to it once it is stuck down. I apply four of these to each flower.


For the stems, cut a strip of crepe about 1cm wide and 13cm across and stretch it. The paper should be cut across the grain. Apply a little glue to one end and fold this over the top of the wire underneath the calyx. Hold the flower in your right hand and twist the paper down the stem with your left (or whichever is easiest for you), trying to keep the stem as smooth as possible by wrapping tightly and pinching the paper in as you go. I also apply small amounts of glue after every 6 turns or so to keep the paper secure. When you get to the end of the wire, cut the paper down to just above the wire, apply a little glue, fold the top over the wire and pinch the rest of the paper around to seal. I usually repeat wrapping the stem a few times to get the thickness I prefer.


Now you have your finished flower and you can style it as you wish – by shaping the stem and also gently bringing down a few of the lower petals of the flower if you like.




  1. Emily R says:

    These look so beautiful!

  2. Micha says:

    Beautiful :)

  3. kimithy says:

    Oh wow, this is lovely. Her Etsy listings should definitely utilize some of these wonderful photos – gorgeous!

  4. Claire says:

    I can’t wait to try this, they are gorgeous!! I would love to see a tutorial for her dahlias in the future :)

  5. Honora says:

    Gorgeous! Just amazingly gorgeous.

  6. Aisha says:

    such a great work with soo much detail thank you .

  7. nwolos says:

    I love paper flowers and these are stunning. If I start making them now, will I have enough for my daughter’s wedding (she’s 17)?

  8. MADARA says:

    very great. i really love this very much i,m gonna make this!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Susan Beech is such an inspiration and a great friend. I love seeing her work and I wish her all the very best.

  10. Cynthia says:

    These are really pretty! Thanks so much for sharing this with us, I may actually give this a try!

  11. Sarah says:

    These are SO GORGEOUS! Real ranunculus are so delicate and short lived that this seems like a worthwhile project, but it looks pretty time consuming!

  12. Danielle says:

    So beautiful! Now I can enjoy this flower all year. x

  13. Hillary says:

    Wow! Those are amazing! And that red with the purple is fantastic..

  14. phoenix says:

    Love these sooo much! Going to have to try making these. Thanks for sharing this! :)

  15. Teri says:

    this looks like an all day project that seems well worth it!

  16. Mary says:

    Those are beautiful! I’d like to try them when I can find the time.

  17. Stephanie says:

    Oh these are amazing! I wonder how long it will take to make 50 of these for a wedding? Would Susan be able to tell us how long it takes her to make one?

  18. Laurence W says:

    They are beutiful !

  19. angel says:

    Wow! so pretty, i wanna make it for my home!

  20. Mila says:

    Not only the ranúnculos flower bit the colorsito are amazing.Thanks form sharing :)

  21. Melinda MeMe says:

    So pretty!

  22. Linda Weeks says:

    What wonderful color! Thank you for sharing this tutorial, now I have to find your shop at A Petal Unfolds! Best wishes!! <3

  23. Graciela says:

    Very, very beautiful indeed!

  24. Rosangela says:

    Ohhh these are so beautiful! I am so going to make them!!! Amazing.

  25. June Woods says:

    Wonderful. I can’t wait to try. More please!

  26. Bibi says:

    Stunning … I love those tremendously … great work


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