How to Make Paper Flowers for Parade Floats

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One of the ways to decorate a parade float is to cover it with paper flowers.
One of the ways to decorate a parade float is to cover it with paper flowers. (Image: Mardi Gras Float image by Jamie Patrick from Fotolia.com)

In order to cover the wire frame of a parade float, many float-makers use paper flowers. Homemade flowers can be constructed cheaply with tissue paper and twist ties. Festooning a parade float with flowers requires a great many flowers, so it is useful to have a large group of people making them, as well as attaching them to the float infrastructure. Use non-bleed-type tissue paper so that any rain or moisture in the air will not ruin the float.

Things You'll Need

  • Non-bleed colored tissue paper
  • Twist ties
  • Scissors

Stack a few sheets of tissue paper together. Decide if you will use the same color throughout or different colors. This tissue paper will form the petals of the flower, so figure out now whether you want a multicolored flower or not.

Cut the stacks of paper into squares. Of course, the larger the squares, the larger the flowers. Make a few test flowers to determine which size is right for your float.

Fan-fold the square of paper sheets in an accordion. Fold one side up about an inch, then turn the paper and fold the same distance in the other direction. Continue folding this way until the whole square is folded neatly and forms a long, narrow rectangle.

Shape the short ends of the rectangle with scissors to make the petals into interesting shapes. You can cut points, scallops or fringes. However, this step is optional and can be left out.

Cut a small notch in the middle of one of the long sides by cutting a small triangle from the side. Do not cut through the rectangle.

Wrap a twist tie securely around the middle of the paper at the point of the triangular notch. This forms the stem of the flower and the part that will be used to tie it onto the float frame.

Hold the flower by the twist ties and gently pull up each layer of tissue paper toward the middle. This separates the paper into petals. Arrange the petals to look natural.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use pipe cleaners instead of twist ties if the stems will show or if you need longer stems.
  • If the parade will take place in an extremely humid or moist location, find a more waterproof material than tissue paper to use for your flowers.
  • Review the parade guidelines. If the materials you use must be fireproof, you must find a material for the flowers that conforms to the guidelines instead of using paper.

References

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