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.
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 launched my little paper villages last spring, and didn’t really have a plan for them. They were an evolution of my generic little paper house design. I was selling them singly or in sets, and people seemed to really like them, and be interested in more variety of design. The first village combined a mini version of my paper barn and animals kit with two pretty basic little houses, and I added three more village designs over the last year and a bit.
I realized a few months ago, though, that calling them “Village Number Two” or “Village Number Three” was not only kinda lame, it meant that as I grow my product line I have to decide whether to just increment the numbers, or replace the existing #1 with a new design….it felt confusing just thinking about it!
So, I sat down with my chief strategy advisors a.k.a. my husband, Brian, and our cat, Bash:
Brian had the brilliant idea to name each kit after different trees that grow in the New England region. It seemed fitting to name these paper products after the plant they come from. Bash just knocked things on the floor. He was definitely less helpful.
We landed on tree-themed street names, specifically. The neighborhood I grew up in had a mix of trees and states for street names, so it reminds me of my home town, but lets you also imagine your own neighborhood around these kits.
The original village kit is now “Spruce Lane”, a nod to the less-saturated colors and cooler feeling:
“Beech Street” for this kit that feels very New England summer:
“Village #3” became “Willow Road”, a nod to the bright, light, springy feel of this color combination:
Village #4, all decked out in heart-shaped windows, is now “Pine Drive”:
These little neighborhoods are also begging to be made into a map, so stay tuned for that – just have to figure out what to call it! Yeiouville? The Village of Yeiou? Yeioutown? Let me know if you have a brilliant idea!
Please be mindful of predicted shipping delays this season and order your gifts with plenty of wiggle room! Start Shopping ≫
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