Thursday, 3 October 2013

Book Review: How to Make 100 Paper Flowers

How to Make 100 Paper Flowers:  Ideas and Instruction for Folding, Cutting, and Simple Sculptures

By Maria Noble

Creative Publishing International

ISBN 978-1-58923-751-3


If you are a papercrafter, scrapbooker, or cardmaker, paper flowers are in style 24/7. But this season, paper  flowers seem to be having a moment in the craft book publishing world. (An obvious progression from the parade of books about knitted and crocheted flowers.) Good news for us papercrafters!

The author of this title, Maria Noble, comes from the perfect background for a flower designer:  her mother and aunt were florists.  Maria has built upon her expertise and come up with a book filled with some gorgeous and imaginative designs. She shares her knowledge  (Example: there are four different types of crepe paper. Who knew?) and some wonderful ideas with us.

This book has plenty of variety – there’s something for everybody, whether you favour naturalistic blooms or highly stylized fun flowers. The book is divided into four sections :  Pretty Imposters, Playful Posies, Origami Blossoms, and Quilled Florals

The flowers in the Pretty Imposters section are breathtaking - and pretty convincing fakes, too. There are eight different types of rose, each uniquely beautiful! Other flowers include: Calla Lily, Narcissus, Chyrsanthemum, Iris, and Bells of Ireland. The flowers in this section are made from crepe paper using the tools and materials of the florist: stretchy florist’s tape, and floral wire.  Flower-making skills are taught with step-by-step instructions and supported with clear how-to photos (in this section and throughout). Some really nifty tricks of the trade are featured, such as imparting texture to the stamen with a cheese grater. This is the most successful section – the faux flowers are lovely and professional-looking  and there are skills to learn aplenty.  These magnificent blooms can be used as wedding decorations, bouquets, or to accent home decor. 

The Playful Posies section contains projects that would be fun to make with the kids. Some of the techniques may already be familiar to papercrafters – such as the Spiral Flowers, the Pinwheels, and the Daisy Wheel  (accordion-pleated rosettes). But you will also find some unusual techniques – such as the ruched crepe paper tubes used for the Flore de Papel (haven't seen that one before!). And the spiky Fire Flowers are showstoppers, as is the multi-coloured Fiesta Flower,made from paper loops. These ideas would make fun party decs.

The Origami Blossoms section is a mixed bag. The author has a loose interpretation of the term Origami (strictly speaking, only folding is allowed), which is fine by me. She allows cutting and gluing where necessary. No point being an origami purist when there are bunches flowers to be made!  Although there are lovely projects in this section, such as the Tulip and the striking modular Origami Circle Flower, this is the weakest portion of the book. If you want to learn how to make a Kusudama Flower (very popular, with good reason) the instructions are here.

The Quilled Florals section features makes for beginners and intermediate quillers alike. There are some amazing techniques demonstrated here, such as those used for the Jumbo Fringed Flower and the Quilled Dandelions. These impressive flowers are achieved just with a quilling tool and scissors. No expensive fringers required. The Quilled Rose and Camellia Frame is sweet. The author‘s great strength is in designing individual blooms. The projects in this section – like the Quilled Forget-Me-Not card and the Quilled Box Topper Flower are a little dull.

There’s a template section at the back of the book. The petal shapes are, conveniently, full size. The grain direction of the crepe paper is indicated, ensuring that the petals will drape correctly.

The spiral-bound format of the book is a big plus, since it allows you to keep the book open flat for reference as you are following the step-by-steps.

This title would make a lovely addition to your papercraft bookshelf. Or, it would make an appreciated gift.

Note:  I was supplied with a review copy of this title.