The daffodil is a sunny, easygoing flower, so it seems fitting that it comes together quickly with little stress and a lot of bang for your flower-making buck. A mixed bouquet suits its cheery, informal charm, so have fun experimenting with colors and shapes. I can never pick favorites, but having spent the last two weeks developing this tutorial, I would have to say that cultivating my little garden of daffodils (or “dappadoes” as my 2.5 year old daughter calls them) has been the most fun I’ve had making flowers in quite a while. Maybe it helped that, while I drafted templates, my daughter dragged around her little blue watering can, happily tending to the little pots of daffodils we bought as models. Hopefully her springtime enthusiasm found its way into this project. —Kate Alarcón
*Check out Kate’s Paper Hellebore tutorial here!
Photos and styling by Grace Kim
About Kate: Kate Alarcón makes paper flora and teaches workshops in the Seattle area. This month, she will begin offering regular, small releases of single blooms and tiny arrangements via her website www.thecobralily.com. You can see her most recent work on Instagram @cobralilyshop.
About Grace: Grace Kim is dedicated to capturing and creating beauty and helping people live life to the fullest. You can find her work at GH Kim Photography and Carpe Diem Collective. Follow her on Instagram @graceperdiem.
• daffodil templates (download here)
• Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue
• Florist-weight, fine, or doublette crepe paper in white, cream, yellow, peach, or orange, plus olive green doublette for the stem
• Tissue paper in beige or gold. My favorite is a slightly shimmery tissue paper from Papyrus called “champagne.”
• 18 inch lengths of 18 and 20 gauge, cloth-covered stem wire
• paper scissors
• Yellow or orange millinery stamens
• An assortment of cylindrical objects to shape the trumpets. Pencils, markers, makeup brush handles, nail polish bottles, chapstick tubes, and even my trusty bottle of Aleene’s have all been pressed into service at my worktable.
• Optional: markers to add detail to the trumpets
A note about crepe paper weight and grain:
Heavy crepe is extremely stretchy, has a lot of body, and holds shaping well. It’s fantastic for making sturdy, frilled trumpets. Its crinkles are very pronounced, and can look less realistic for soft petals, unless it’s stretched all the way out. Doublette crepe is a medium-weight crepe with a different color on each side. It doesn’t frill as dramatically as heavy crepe, but it does have enough structure to produce a rigid trumpet, and some of the color combinations (yellow/orange, gold/peach, orange/deep orange, cream/yellow) make especially pretty trumpets. Like fine crepe, its crinkles are very subtle and almost resemble the tiny veins in a fresh flower petal. Fine crepe makes beautiful, semi-translucent petals, but doesn’t have much body. It can be tough to make a fine crepe trumpet that doesn’t flop around, though you might try it for the very tiny narcissus trumpets.
The grain of the crepe paper runs parallel to the roll or fold. Crepe paper stretches horizontally, but not vertically, so you will almost always cut petals with the grain, placing the template so that the tiny wrinkles in the paper run up and down the template, not across. Cutting with the grain means that you cut in the same direction the crinkles are running; cutting across the grain means that you cut perpendicular to these crinkles.
Using the templates:
The template sheets include 5 sets of petals and trumpets in different sizes. These are labeled A-E. AP means set A, petal template; AT means set A, trumpet template. Each petal template makes all six petals for a single flower. Feel free to mix and match: a large set of petals with a small trumpet or vise versa will add charm and interest to your bouquet.
At the end of these instructions, I’ve included the object I used to form each trumpet, and its diameter. Don’t worry about matching this exactly. If you find that your trumpet rectangle is a little too narrow to wrap all the way around the cylinder you have on hand, just cut a slightly wider one. If, as you’re wrapping, you notice a lot of overlap, just trim a little bit.
Creating the center
For this step, you’ll need 4-6 stamens, your stem wire, and a ¼” x 2” strip of crepe paper in the color you’ve chosen for your daffodil trumpet. It should be cut across the grain. If your stamens are double sided, bend them in half so that all the heads are the same height.
Apply very small dots of glue about ¼” apart down the length of the strip on one side. Holding the stamens in a little bundle, place the stem wire so that the stamens extend beyond the tip of the wire by between ¼” and ¾” (they should be longer for larger daffodils and shorter for smaller ones). Starting just above the top of the wire, wrap your strip of crepe around the bottoms of the stamens and the top of the stem wire.
Choose a pair of templates from the template sheet. Using the trumpet template, cut a rectangle from the crepe you’ve chosen for your trumpet.
If you’d like to frill the top edge of your trumpet, stretch it in small sections. Start on the upper left corner. With your hands close together, pinch the paper between the thumb and index finger of each hand. Pull away from yourself with your right hand and toward yourself with your left hand. Then shift slightly to the right. Make these little stretches all along the upper edge.
If you’d like the frill to flare outward, bend the top half inch of the trumpet around a pencil or knitting needle before frilling it. This works much better using heavy crepe:
You can expect a much more dramatic frill on a heavy crepe trumpet than on a doublette trumpet.
The doublette rectangle on top versus the heavy crepe rectangle on the bottom.
At the end of these instructions, I’ve listed the diameter of the object I used to form each trumpet. There’s no need to be exact, but try to find something in the same ballpark. You’ll also notice that each trumpet template has a dotted line. This line indicates where the bottom of the trumpet will be. You can draw this line on your trumpet rectangle very lightly with pencil, or you can just use the line on the template as a reference and eyeball it.
Using your marker/lipstick tube/ pill bottle, etc., align the bottom of this cylinder with the dotted line and wrap the rectangle around the cylinder. The grain should run parallel to the cylinder, and the frilled edge should be wrapped around the cylinder, while the opposite end is sticking off the back. Holding the rectangle in place around the cylinder, firmly twist the area below the dotted line.
Remove the trumpet from the cylinder and gently untwist the trumpet base. Dot glue along the right edge of the trumpet and inside the crumpled bottom section. Place your stem wire with stamens inside the trumpet so that the section of the wire that you’ve wrapped lies just below the top of the section of the trumpet that you twisted. Close up the trumpet, overlapping the left side with the right side and pressing together. Then retwist the bottom of the trumpet around the wire. Hold for ten seconds to allow the glue to set.
For the petals:
Use your petal template to cut out six identical petals for each daffodil. To shape, gently stretch along the upper edge of each petal to add a slight frill.
Then pinch the bottom of the petal to gather it. (The dotted line on the petal template shows where you should pinch.) While still holding the base area that you’ve pinched, bend it back so that it forms a 45-degree angle with the top of the petal.
Apply a few small dots of glue to the base of the petal (the area that you’ve pinched and bent back.) Press this bent area onto your stem, butted right up against the bottom of your trumpet. It might help to imagine matching up the dotted lines of the trumpet template and the petal template.
Add two more petals, making sure to space them evenly around the trumpet. Add the remaining three petals in the gaps between the first three.
For the stem:
The daffodil stem has three parts. The pedicel is a small section of stem between the flower head and the stalk or peduncle, the thick, slightly flattened section that makes up most of the stem. At the point where the pedicel meets the peduncle, you’ll find a papery, leafy, translucent beige piece called the spathe.
Wrapping the pedicel:
Cut a six-inch-long, 1/4” wide strip of olive green fine, doublette, or heavy crepe across the grain. Apply very small dots of glue along the length of this strip and attach it to the part of the wire that is covered by the base of your petals. With your left hand, hold the strip at a 45 degree angle to the wire and gently stretch as you twirl the wire with your right hand. Wrap the six inches below your flower.
Attaching the spathe:
Using template F, cut a spathe out of your tissue paper. Fold each bottom corner toward the middle, overlapping them. Unfold and dot glue along the bottom edge. Lay your daffodil over the spathe piece so that the bottom of the spathe is even with the point on the stem where you stopped wrapping with your green strip. Refold the spathe around the stem and then scrunch the bottom to secure it.
Making the peduncle or stalk:
Use template H to cut a stalk from your olive doublette crepe. Make sure that the grain of the paper runs up and down the long side of the template. Fold over the very top edge of the stalk. I use my scissor blades as a straight edge, holding the blades just below the edge and then using my thumb to push the edge over the blade to make a nice crease. The section that is folded over should be extremely narrow — it may be easiest to fold over a slightly larger section and then trim.
Using the dotted lines on the template as a guide, fold each side toward the middle. (The sides should be folded in the opposite direction as the top edge. In other words, the top edge will fold back, and the sides will fold forward.) Open up your stalk and dot glue along the back of the folded section on the right. Refold your stalk, bringing the sides back toward the middle. Press the front of the folded section on the left onto the back of the folded section on the right to make a long, flat tube. Allow a few minutes to dry.
Add one or two small dots of glue to the bottom of your spathe on the back side of your stem. Slip the stalk tube over the stem and push it up until it meets the bottom of the spathe. It should be a little bit higher than the scrunched section of the spathe that’s glued to the stem. Pinch the stalk to secure it to the back of the spathe where you’ve applied your glue.
Finishing your flower:
About halfway between the back of your flower and the point where the spathe meets the stalk, bend your pedicel or stem at a 45 degree angle.
Coloring the trumpets:
To add color to the rim of the daffodil trumpet, gently scrape the rim edge with a marker. I’ve used Copic markers, but just about any marker should be fine — though you’ll want to test it first on a piece of scrap crepe.
For a wider band, apply marker to the upper ¼” of the trumpet. This may be easier to do right after you’ve cut your trumpet rectangle and before you’ve stretched the top edge.
You can also color the whole trumpet, shading it using multiple colors.
For this flower, I colored the bottom quarter in a light green, the middle half in gold, and the top quarter in orange and used the Copic colorless blender marker to blend the colors together.
To make narcissus, use the smallest template set to make multiple tiny daffodils. I prefer a lighter 20 gauge wire for these. For each flower, wrap the stems or pedicels to about 6 inches down. Bend each stem at a right angle and position each flower at your preferred height. Then bundle the stems together and wrap from about three inches below the lowest flower head to the base of the stem bundle.
Attach a single spathe to the bundle just above the point where you began wrapping the bundle, and use the wider template G to add a peduncle or stalk just as you would for the daffodil.
Primping your flowers:
It’s worth taking a few minutes to adjust any parts of your finished flower that may have been mussed during the final steps. Straighten any cock-eyed trumpets. Gently push back any petals that are leaning in toward the center too much. Straighten your spathe. Adjust the arrangement of your narcissus heads if necessary.
Objects used to form trumpets:
Template AT: Gelly-Roll gel pen lid, 3/8” diameter
Template BT: Copic Ciao marker, 7/8” diameter
Templates CT, DT, and ET: Aleene’s Tacky Glue bottle in the .66 oz “try me” size, 7/8” diameter.