Sometimes I lie awake at night scheming about my future garden. I’m a huge fan of the cozy, quirky cottage garden style, which has lots of different flowers and even herbs and vegetables mixed together in one garden bed. This is because historically, peasants who spent almost all of their time working the fields for someone else had just small spaces around their homes to grow their food and herbs as well as decorative flowers. There isn’t much about medieval English peasant life that I want to emulate, but I sure love those gardens!
Now that I own a house, I’m quite a bit closer to achieving my cottage garden dreams, but I’m afraid that the yard hasn’t been my priority yet. I’m crossing my fingers that next year I’ll get to start some serious landscaping, but for now I’m sticking with my old standby, paper flowers.
Hollyhocks are a staple in cottage gardens because they’re so romantic and sweet. They also add lots of beautiful height to a yard because hollyhocks can grow up to six feet tall! There’s nothing like a giant flower to make you feel like you’re in a fairy house, right? Read on to learn how to make your own paper hollyhocks!
step photos in a few segments:
These DIY paper hollyhocks are part of my ongoing home upgrade. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I’ve been doing a lot of renovations since I bought my house last June. Lately I’ve been working on finishing my upstairs bathroom, and let me tell you–nothing motivates you to work on a big project like having to use an unfinished bathroom! 😬
My bathroom vanity has two sinks with a mirror above each one, so I wanted to make something beautiful to go between them. Earlier this year we made some paper pansies for the bathroom and I love them so much that I wanted to do another flower. I decided on a few stalks of DIY paper hollyhocks, and I’m so glad I did because these have IMPACT. The individual flowers are really simple, but when you put the whole stalk together they’re absolutely show-stopping. I keep thinking how pretty they would be as bridal flowers!
Follow along for the full tutorial!
Make your own DIY paper hollyhocks
You’ll need our paper hollyhock template, crepe paper in a variety of colors (I used dark purple, indigo, peach, magenta, light yellow, dark yellow, and a few colors of green), hot glue, a glue gun, floral wire, 14 gauge wire, wire cutters, floral tape, scissors, and a paintbrush
Prepare your materials
- Download and print our DIY paper hollyhock template (which you can find here in our shop!)
- Decide what colors of flowers you want. I made blooms in three different colors, and each color used a main color and a darker stain color.
- Cut your main hollyhock paper into 3 strips that are 5 inches wide and about 20 inches long. Cut your stain paper into 3 strips about 2.5 inches wide and 20 inches long. Make sure the grain of both of these strips is such that it stretches horizontally.
Prepare your paper
- The next steps will stain your table and fingers, so put down a piece of thick butcher paper or cardboard if you’re working on a precious surface and consider wearing gloves!
- Tape the ends of the main petal paper down so that it lies flat on a table. Tape the darker stain paper over the main color of paper so that it runs along the center of the wider purple strip.
- Dip a paintbrush in water and wet the stain paper only. Then, press it down onto the main petal paper. This will transfer some of the dark dye onto the main crepe paper.
- Repeat this with your other strips of paper.
Prepare the pieces
- While your petal paper (say that five times fast!) is drying, cut the rest of your template pieces out. You’ll cut the inner petals out of dark yellow paper, a stigma out of light yellow paper, and leaves out of green paper. Each flower will have 5 petals, 5 inner petals, and one under-petal leaf piece.
- You can also cut out purple rectangles of various sizes (the buds) and the bud leaves in green.
- Once your petal paper is all dry, you can cut those petals out. Arrange them so that the dyed portions are at the narrow base of the petal.
- Make a thick stem. Cut three pieces of 14 gauge wire to varying lengths. The longest should be a little shorter than you want your flower stalk, the middle one should be about 2/3 that length, and the shortest should be about 1/3 the length of the first.
- Hold the three wires together so that they all overlap at the bottom.
- Starting at the bottom where they all overlap, wrap the wires with floral tape. Wrap all the way to the end of the longest wire, forming a long, stiff stem that narrows toward the top.
Make the DIY paper hollyhock pieces
- Start with the flower’s stigma by crumpling up a small ball of crepe paper from your scraps. Glue this to the tip of your regular weight floral wire.
- Put a dab of glue on the center of the cut out stigma square and put this on the crumpled paper. Fold down the ends so that it covers the crumpled paper, then secure with more hot glue.
- Glue each yellow inner petal to the base of a purple petal.
- Make a line of glue on the side/bottom of a petal next to the yellow inner petal. Glue then next petal to that first petal. Repeat for all 5 petals.
- Attach your line of petals to the flower center so that they wrap evenly around, and secure with glue.
- Put a dot of glue halfway up the edge of each petal and attach it to the one next to it.
- Stretch the green under-flower leaf piece and glue it to the base of the flower.
- Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around your DIY paper hollyhock’s stem for 3-5 inches, securing with glue as you go.
- Repeat steps 1-6 until you have your desired amount of hollyhock blooms. I think that 5-9 blooms per stalk looks lush and lifelike.
- To make the buds, cut rectangles of purple crepe paper and fold the top corners in, then fold the top down repeatedly. Roll up the paper, then glue it to form a rounded bud shape.
- Stretch the bud leaves, then glue and wrap them around the bud along with a 5 inch piece of floral wire. Let some of the buds show more purple inside, while some should be mostly or all covered with green bud leaves.
- Glue a small leaf to the wrapped bud.
- Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around the bud stem, securing with glue as you go.
- To make the leaves, use the template to cut the 6 leaf pieces out of green crepe paper. Make sure that you’re cutting the pieces with the grain, as shown on the template.
- With a thin line of hot glue, attach the leaf pieces together. The leaf is an organic star-like shape, but if you didn’t cut with the grain of the crepe paper it won’t stretch right.
- Stretch the paper slightly to ruffle the edges and give the leaf dimension.
- Glue a piece of floral wire along one of the seams in the leaf.
- Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around the base of the leaf and the wire stem for 6-7 inches, securing with glue as you go.
Assemble your hollyhocks!
- Now you have a lot of hollyhock elements on pieces of wire. We’re going to put them all together, starting at the top of the stalk.
- Glue a bud to the stem of another bud, then wrap the glued stems together with a stretched crepe paper strip, gluing as you go.
- Add more buds, gluing and wrapping with crepe paper. As you add elements, the stalk will get thicker and stronger, just like a real flower!
- After you’ve added and wrapped all the buds, it’s time to attach the thick stem. Glue the wrapped buds and wires to the top of the thick wire stem, then wrap with crepe paper. Keep securing the crepe paper strips with glue as you continue this.
- It’s time to start adding your fully bloomed flowers! Glue a flower’s stem and a leaf to the stalk, then wrap with a crepe paper strip.
- Continue adding flowers and leaves to the stalk as you work your way down. You want to space them out with a few inches between each one.
- If you have extra leaves after you add all your flowers, add them to the bottom of the stalk. Wrap them with a crepe paper strip, just like you did for the prior leaves. You should leave about five inches of stem without flowers and leaves at the bottom of your stalk.
- After you finish adding all your flowers and leaves, continue wrapping a crepe paper strip all the way to the bottom of the stalk. Secure with glue, then cut the strip.
- Voilà! You have a gorgeous stalk of hollyhocks! Make a few stalks in various colors, then arrange them however you like for your own indoor cottage garden.
More paper flower inspo
If you loved this tutorial for DIY paper hollyhocks, then you’ll love our other paper flower projects! Check out our DIY paper peony, DIY paper foxglove, and this roundup of all our favorite paper flower projects. And if you agree with me that these paper hollyhocks would be beautiful as bridal flowers but aren’t sold on paper over real, then check out these lovely paper bouquets inspired by the royal wedding, white peonies, Cinco de Mayo, and spring color.