I first created this printable project as a fun Thanksgiving craft a few years ago, but this year it felt like a good thing to talk about on Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in Canada and the U.K.). I’ve been trying to be much more mindful of the world around me and specifically the struggles of people who aren’t just like me as sort of an ongoing personal project this year. Six years of working alone at home made my radius of awareness pretty small, it turns out! It took a pandemic, a major social justice movement, global Black Lives Matter protests, and a lot of thinking about my own privilege.
So, today, for the first time as an adult, I’m taking a moment to think about Veterans Day. Specifically, to think about it as more than just a day off, or a day when the post office is closed, or even a “bonus” day to get more work done. I don’t know what it’s like to serve in the military, but I know that every single person who has served or is serving has at a minimum given up time spent with their loved ones, and likely a lot more than that. Thank you, veterans, for all of the different sacrifices you have made. So many thanks.
Whether you’re celebrating Veterans Day or getting a head start on Thanksgiving or have a random act of kindness to thank someone for, here’s a crafty way to do it:
Once upon a time, I taught this project as part of a workshop I led at Albertine Press in Cambridge, MA. It’s been a while, and I’ve since moved on to teach some more-intricate paper flower projects, so I thought I’d offer my take on this project in a video so that you can make your own tissue paper flowers at your leisure!
I go through all your needed supplies and tools (it’s a short list) in the video below, but in case you’d rather have it in writing, here’s what you’ll want to have on hand:
Tissue Paper! This is pretty self-evident, but I’ll unpack it a little: if you have pristine tissue paper in perfect flower colors, go you! If you have random odds and ends from your stash of gift wrap, you’re in great shape! If you have an old phone book that you don’t mind tearing apart, I think this would still work for you. The thing you need is thin, lightweight paper. That cheap wrapping paper that isn’t opaque enough to hide what you’re wrapping might work. If you still get a paper newspaper delivered to your house, or you have a catalog or magazine with particularly flimsy paper, I think you’re in good shape. You want your sheets of paper to be at least 6″x10″ or so, and you’ll want at least four sheets that size. There’s no such thing as “too big” for this project, in my opinion, so go for it!
Scissors! Or other sharp object capable of cutting through a few layers of whatever paper you end up with, just please don’t cut through yourself in the process.
String! You could use yarn, a twisty-tie, a piece of ribbon, a pipe cleaner…anything that lets you knot or twist tightly around the center of your soon-to-be paper flower.
Once you’ve got your supplies, clear yourself a workspace proportional to the size of your paper, and let’s get to folding!
My favorite thing to do with these flowers is to wear them:
Fall is my favorite, it has always been. I’m a sucker for back-to-school season and its emphasis on stocking up on pens and paper. I love apple and pumpkin and cinnamon any day, so it’s pretty delightful when those flavors are suddenly everywhere I look! Fall crafting is pretty great, too, because it’s such a visual season: leaves, pumpkins, apples, fall flowers, Halloween characters, turkeys – so many options! I decided to put together some pumpkin craft ideas, since pumpkins are an icon that spans the full range of the season!
I’ve rounded up a wide variety of mostly paper-based pumpkin craft projects here on my Pinterest board:
Most of these projects use things you have around the house, like newspaper, old books, or those five random sheets of orange tissue paper that you never know what to do with.
You can also order a Geometric Paper Pumpkin craft kit from me (no longer available) to jump-start your crafting – these kits are so easy to assemble that you don’t need scissors or glue or anything, just 10 minutes and two or more hands! They’re also easy to modify:
Get Creative with your Pumpkins
The biggest pumpkin sports stick-on googley eyes and a cut-paper nose and mouth. The smallest one has similar features also cut out of black paper and stuck on to the pumpkin with bits of tape.
Pro-tip: if you use masking tape, you can take the face off after Halloween and keep the pumpkin around for the rest of the fall decor season!
This medium-sized pumpkin, the one on the left, got a face before I assembled him. After I folded along all of the pre-scored lines, I drew a face with pencil on the inside of the pumpkin. I then used a craft knife to cut out the shapes! Drawing on the inside of the pumpkin means that the lines aren’t visible once it’s assembled. Which is good, because the lines I cut didn’t perfectly line up with the shapes I drew! This pumpkin glows like a real jack-o-lantern if you put a little battery-powered light inside.
I decided to make this pumpkin more appropriate for Thanksgiving. Before I assembled it, I got out my watercolors and painted polka dots in a few sizes and colors. The pumpkins are made of really sturdy paper, so they can handle markers, crayons, or even paint!
I’d love to see your ideas for decorating or modifying these pumpkins! Tag me on Instagram or email me photos, and I’ll add to this post!
Last but not least, I have a free printable project for you!
This paper pumpkin printable is a scan of a watercolor wash and pumpkin leaves that I painted. In order to turn this square of orange into a pumpkin shape, follow the directions for a traditional origami “water bomb”. There’s a link to the video on the sheet you’ll print out, too.
I discovered Mr. Printables when I was collecting ideas for my Paper Fun Pinterest board. There is a TON of content on the site. They have everything from calendars in the shape of a weird accordion rabbit thing to 3-dimensional paper alphabets to decorations for every conceivable holiday.
I’ve tried a few of the free paper craft projects as part of my #100daysofpaperfun project this year. I found the quality of the templates to be a little hit or miss, but you can’t beat the price! The illustration/surface design is lovely and fun, and some of the ideas are really creative. My frustrations were more with ease of assembly. Sometimes the flaps are pretty small, and it’s always tricky to get the last flap adhered when you’re working with closed shapes like the fruit.
My favorite so far has been the paper fruit. I’ve assembled the paper watermelon and a paper lemon. There are a few more paper craft fruits printed and waiting to go. I think the kiwi is next!
I also experimented with the 3D alphabet a little. Ultimately, I decided that while it’s a great resource, if I want to make 3D paper letters, I’ll be happier making my own!
I’m sharing the holiday spirit this year in the form of a free printable! My favorite part of the Christmas season is that it gives me a reason/excuse to make, buy, and find gifts for all of the people around me. This year, that includes you! This printable includes 6 different gift tags in various geometric shapes. I created two different colorways of this abstract geometric pattern that’s based on a design I doodle when I’m bored.
I’ve shown the tags on plain brown kraft paper, and they do a good job of dressing up simple wrapping, but they would also work with your favorite patterned wrapping paper, if you’re a pattern-on-pattern sort of person. I think they’d look great with polka dots, stripes, or even a snowflake or evergreen sort of pattern. If you use these gift tags for your holiday wrapping, I’d love to see how they turn out! Tag me on Instagram @yeioupaperobjects or send me an email!