DIYdiy projects

diy project: peaches’ coffee filter flowers

by Kate Pruitt

turning humble materials into something beautiful is an admirable skill. whenever you think you’ve seen the prettiest thing, something else comes along and blows your mind! these gorgeous blossoms are similar to the ones sold in kits that are made with tissue paper, but even tissue paper can be kind of pricey, and it doesn’t always come in the full range of colors you want. enter these amazing coffee filter flowers by aunt peaches! a recycled art specialist who works with a healthy dose of wacky fun, peaches makes flowers from materials most people toss in the waste bin. if you’re planning any end of summer parties, consider making some of these colorful flowers to scatter on your table. click here to read more about peaches’ flowers and see some of the other amazing colors she has made. great job, peaches! –kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


for 10 grapefruit size paper peony flowers

– 60 standard size coffee filters
– 2 tubes of water based paint, similar in tone (yellow/orange or pink/red or blue/purple, etc..
– 3 cups of water in 3 separate containers
– 10 plastic drinking straws
– Masking tape (make it green tape if you want a covered stem, but any tape will work fine)
$6 total for 100 filters, 2 tubes of craft paint, 1 roll of masking tape, and 10 drinking straws (okay, those were free!). Add $6 to buy special green masking tape (totally optional).

time: 1 hour to dye and assemble + 3 hours drying time.

1. Prepare three dye baths; deep, medium, pale. Divide your filters into three separate groups; inside/deepest color/10 filters, middle/medium color/20 filters, outside/palest color/30 filters, and submerge in dye baths. Remove after one minute for pale color, or remove after 1 hour for more intense results.

2. Wring filters to remove excess water and dye. Separate filters and hang to dry. Once they are thoroughly dry, organize your filters by depth of color: deep/inside, medium/middle, pale/outside
3. Fold and snip. Cut one small hole in the middle of each filter and trim jagged edges around the rim. The deepest color filters should have the most ragged edges, while the palest filters should have mildly curvaceous edges. note: Keep filters in stacks at all times!

4. If you want leaves on your flower, trim from previously dyed green filters now (optional). note: The leftover trimming bits on this are GORGEOUS, consider saving them for fun projects in future!

5. Lay out components to make one flower: 1 deepest color filter (inside), 2 medium color filters (middle), 3 pale filters (outside), one drinking straw, masking tape.

6. Do yourself a favor and tear off four 2“ pieces of masking tape before you start to assemble.
7. Take the deepest color filter and twist in the center. Tape the twist to the tip of the drinking straw. Take the drinking straw and insert in the center hole you snipped into the two middle layer filters.

8. Pull the middle layer up around the inner layer, twist, and tape. Pull the outside layer up around the inside/middle layer, twist, and tape.

9. To add a stem, tear off 12” of green tape and attach leaves at random intervals. Wrap and twist tape down around the drink straw, snip at desired length. Gently pull back petals and behold your beautiful paper peony!

note: Expect the first flower to take ten minutes and come out looking poorly. The second will improve mildly, but not much. Stick with! Number three will be beautiful and take less than a minute. Get an assembly line going and you will have a paper garden in an afternoon!

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  • oh my i love these! i love making tissue paper flowers but these have so much dimension and i bet the coffee filters aren’t nearly as fickle or fragile as tissue paper. at first glance they looked real!

  • These are so pretty! I’ve also made more than my fair share of tissue paper flowers and I bet these hold up better during construction. :)
    Thanks for the how-to!

  • How did you hang to dry? On a clothesline? I’m just looking for ideas that I can do in my tiny apartment.

  • I love this, I’ve been making variations of this with kids for years. They love coloring coffee filters with markers and then painting them with water. The possibilities are endless!!

  • I have tried dying coffee filters with food coloring w/o any success…I never would have thought of using paint! Amazing!!!

  • Can you do this with used coffee filters as well? That would truly make for a recycled flower. I just wonder if they would still take the dye.

  • Impressive! I especially like the honesty about the first few flowers taking a long time with poor results…how refreshing!!!
    I’m gonna try it.

    Y’all are too nice. You know, I get such a kick out of seeing my stuff up here on D*S like this, and reading the feedback above makes it even more special. Thanks for taking the time to comment. To follow up…

    * Elizabeth—I live in a teensy apartment too. No worries! They are lightweight and don’t drip once you wring them out. Just use thumb tacks to hang string/floss across a room or hallway and hang them up like socks…they will still dry just fine if they are not laid out single, but might take a little longer. If there’s no hurry, you can also just put a weight on them (like a can of beans) and leave a stack outside on a ledge for a week –they will eventually dry and the outdoor elements will give a really groovy, vintage patina.
    * Chris—I had the same problem with food coloring at first…now I love paint. Hope you do too : ) ….I know some folks prefer to use stick-in-your-mouth-safe goods only, in which case, food coloring will do the trick but be sure to use A LOT of it and add a little vinegar staying power!
    * Rebecca is totally right about markers –just let the kids scribble and get yourself a spray bottle…they come out nice and tie-dyed lookin (http://www.flickr.com/photos/auntpeaches/4857554820/in/set-72157624647713788/)
    * Lela –yes, absolutely! Funny you should ask…my ex is a chef at a restaurant where they have a HUGE coffee machine with HUGE filters…he would save them for me and I would rinse then dye with various teas. The center would be stained brown from coffee and the tea would color the edges pale and creamy colors. Years ago, made a bunch of poppy style flowers this way to cover an arbor (wedding hoopa)…must say it came out very cool!

    Thanks again for commenting, y’all. Special thanks to Kate for putting together a tutorial more beautiful than I could imagine, and more succinct than I could ever manage (if you didn’t notice, ahem, *someone* tends to ramble ;))

  • Love this and can’t wait to try it out! I think you could probably buy filters from the $1 for this project though.

  • These could make a lovely, very affordable bridal bouquet… plus the flowers are always in season and you know they’d be the color you want! In fact I’m tempted to try this for my own wedding.

  • I’ve been making these w/ food coloring with kids for some time, but these are a much more sophisticated color and shape, lovely! They are durable; my sister in law puts them away in a cardboard box in the attic and at birthdays or outdoor parties, she pulls them out and they’re as good as new. They’d be great poinsettas too. Great work!

  • I just finished putting together my first flower. I love it. I think my living room is about to become a sweatshop, I’m getting married in two months and I was looking for some centerpiece flowers! Thank you SO much!!!! The Groom is seriously impressed..

  • these are gorgeous! i almost couldn’t tell they were made of paper from the first photo! I love the idea of dying the paper filters to get different shades and colors. I’ve made a lot of tissue paper flowers in the past, but these are amazing!

  • These are the most stunning things I’ve seen in a while. So creative and incredibly special. I WILL try it… Pruxxx

  • !!!Kimber, I sure hope you come back and read this bc you just made my day! I am so THRILLED to see those beautiful flowers of yours and hear that you will be incorporating them in your wedding. You guests will be so impressed when they hear the bride made them herself! Heck, get a production rhythm going and you could whip out matching napkin rings and boutonnieres in no time!

    KimRose–that poinsettia idea of yours is genius–hope you don’t mind if I try it out come Christmas!

    Thanks again for the lovely comments. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much :)

  • i am making these now for my bouquet – another bride here finding yet more DIY projects for her wedding. Not quite as mad as Kimber who is making them for centerpieces (at least not yet; let’s wait and see what they turn out like…maybe i will have centerpieces after all).

    Am using bottles of crafters acrylic paint, which is a bit more liquid and wondering if i need to modify the recipe at all, and if so how; right now I am just winging it.

    also, how you decide on leaf shapes that dont look like a 4-year old made them? (which is what mine will likely look like…).

    But mostly want to say how totally gorgeous they look, so soft and natural. will wait and see what they come out like (and maybe put up photos?), but honestly, peaches, yours are AMAZING.

    if you come up w a good way to make poinsettias, please do post, too. and thank you! one more wedding prep thing i can take care of in advance…

  • i just made these in pink – easy peasy!! I was at a craft store and they had some fake greenery ( that looked real) on sale. I bought one and used the leaves from it on it. They look real!!

  • My friend and I made these & a few things to note. The dye instructions didn’t work. You need to add much more paint then recommended. Also, I ended up tearing the filters instead of cutting them. Cutting them made them look to fake & tissue-papery.

  • This might be a dumb question, but do you add all the coffee filters at the same time for each color (ie: 10 coffee filters for color 1, 20 coffee filters for color 2, etc.). In your picture it looks like you’re only adding one coffee filter at a time which can get quite time consuming if you’re doing a LOT.


  • You’re a genius! Have been stabbing myself silly trying to make fabric flowers for bridal bouquets, will try these instead.

  • I’m making these right now and theyare turning out quite nice. only problems is they didn’t dye very dark(center ones). Followed direction, but can you tell me what kind of paint you used? Thanks for the fun project :)

  • Hi,

    I love this project but I also have the same question as Pam, what kind of paint did you use?? Since it said “water-based” I assumed you meant watercolor so I went out to buy some and they don’t look “creamy” like yours, they just look like colored water. They are in the dye right now and they aren’t looking too good. Help?

    • If you don’t have any paint you can use food colouring instead, just make sure you wear gloves or you’ll have the prettiest coloured hands in the neighbourhood! :)

  • really cool i used marker instead of paint WAY easier mine didnt turn out as well as yours the first time but the really easy to make you should do another one but for roses

  • I am going to try my hand at this this afternoon. I am going to try my first one in food coloring added to water. Water color seems to suck up the color and like she said, add a bit of vinegar to help. I want to do some purple, so gonna have to read my food coloring box to figure out how many drops of each to make. Before you know it , I will have coffee filter flower vases in every room of my house, my hubby will love me!

    I had tried my hand at coloring some coffee filter flowers and what works great is put water and a few drops of food coloring in a spray bottle, then spray the flowers. You can make it as dark or as light as you wish!

    Also you guys should try the coffee filter wreath. Just finished a 12 inch one….they look AMAZING! The ideas people come up with!

  • I am looking for something different for my first grade “April Showers bring May Flowers” board in the hallway. These look beautiful and sound like a lot of fun to make.

  • i did this i made 50 of these for a ladies tea party that i am hosting. It worked great. very easy only one problem the masking tape didn’t hold and neither did floral tape but, i used medical tape and it worked wonderfully.

    • I add glue stick to the very ends of the floral tape. Floral tape will generally stick to itself, the glue helps when starting and finishing the taping part of making the flowers

  • Hi there,

    I just made 5 of these and they turned out great. First one not bad, next better, they do look so real. Thanks so much for the DYI instructions. Have a great day!

  • I am absolutely in love with these flowers! What makes it even greater for me is that, my husband and I are renewing our vows next year in a major way and our theme is based around coffee “The Perfect Blend”. What better way to tie in different aspects of coffee than using coffee filter flowers for centerpieces!!! Never would have thought of this, so consider yourself bookmarked! Thank you very much for posting this. I’m so excited, that I’m about to go raid my coffee cabinet :-)

  • Brilliant and beautiful! I needed a quick flower for my son’s teachers – this tutorial is perfect! I read the comments quickly, hope I didn’t pass this tip over, but I threw the colored batches in the dryer for very short runs and it worked perfectly to dry them quickly! I don’t condone this method but it was very quick and I kept my eye on them.

  • I read on some other web site about putting the dyed filters in the dryer. Has anyone tried that? Of course they’d have to be wrung well & then I’d probably have to clean the dryer. I’d like to use these to hang from inside a tent for a summer rehearsal dinner party. I like the tissue poms, but think these would be easier to work with. Would like to fine the large size that the restaurants use. May try GFS (Gordon’s Food Service). Thank you for sharing your ideas

  • I LOVE these flowers!!! I am going to use them as my bouquet for my wedding in March! Thank you :)

  • I had extra tie dye from a previous craft day (or other wise known as keep my niece busy day) worked great to dye the filters. She loved helping me make these for an up coming baby shower. I’m using several of the paper flowers, I can’t wait to show them to the expecting mother, I’m sure she’ll love them. Thank you for all these great flower designs and easy to follow tutorials!!!!!!!

  • Estan tan hermosas, que ni parece que estan elaboradas con filtros de cafe..ME ENCANTARON!!! :)

  • I love this tutorial. I’m always looking for inexpensive ways to decorate as I’m in charge of decorating our little club house for our annual golf tournament dinner. I just hope mine come out as beautiful as yours. Thanks!

  • Liebe Kate, ich habe heute dein Super DYI Tutorial gefunden und bin sehr froh darüber. Vielen Dank! Ich werde die Blumen bald nacharbeiten.
    Liebe Grüße Beate

  • Ok, but what if I can’t really hang them anywhere to dry?? Best idea on how to dry them when you have no space to hang? I’m in an apartment, so no backyard space. :D

  • I dried my coffee filters in a 200 degree oven! Wring out filter, lay on clean oven rack. I dried 12 at a time…6 filters to a rack. Leave in oven 60-90 seconds. Watch carefully…they could burn if you leave them in too long. This worked beautifully for me.

  • I’ve had no success with dying them, except for the ones i dyed green for leaves, the filters wont take the dye. They dry white! And even the leaves are very pale. I even went back and added more paint to the bowls and redyed them. I used acrylic paint to mix in the water, was that wrong to use?