Inside: Looking for a craft project that is fun and easy with materials you likely have on hand already? Try making our folk art flowers. From start to finish, you’ll have these adorable beauties in only a few short hours.
Have you ever started out heading in one direction only to end up somewhere else entirely? That is what happened to us when we set out to make folk art flowers. I had in mind a burlap sunflower I’d found on Pinterest, and while that particular crafter used dollar store sunflowers for a pattern and reapplied the brown center on the burlap petals, I had decided large brown buttons would be cute. So I drew the petals freehand onto a paper, cut out the pattern, traced it on the burlap, and cut it out. . . Yuck! The only burlap I had on hand had a large weave, so it didn’t work well.
That’s where the somewhere else entirely part comes in. After scouring the pages of Pinterest–we search for hours and hours (and hours) so you don’t have to!–I found some flowers without instructions. But I had a pretty good idea how they were made, just from the picture, so off we went.
We assembled the following:
- Two mason jar screw bands with lids, regular mouth (no need for new when old will do)
- Strips of material, (Hubs’ old plaid shirts) approximately 40 1 inch by 6 inches and 70 1/2 inch by 6 inches
- Two pieces of burlap, 3 inches by 12 inches
- Four cotton balls
- Twine string or thread (type doesn’t matter)
- Two sticks
- Hot glue gun and sticks
We looked through a pile of old shirts and chose our colors. Light green and darker green.
We were ready.
We sat down and got to work. At first I cut the strips longer, but Mom suggested they’d look better shorter. While I had my doubts, she trimmed the pieces she’d already attached, and her crafter instincts where right on the money. Then she suggested cutting them down even farther. Again, right.
So I started cutting the strips to the new length, into 1-inch by 6-inch pieces. I’ve made rag wreaths before, and this is the same principle. When working with plaid shirts, it’s easy to figure out within the shirt pattern how far to cut—for example, let’s say every other blue line in the design is an inch. You simply follow those particular lines to cut your strips.
Mom continued taking the shirt strips and tied them onto the screw band so the ends were about equal and with the knot on the side of the band (where you place your fingers when unscrewing it from a jar). Engrossed in conversation, soon the ring was almost covered with the tied strips. She pushed those strips together to make room for more, making a tight design, until it was entirely covered.
Then the fun part. How to make the center of the flower. First we gently pushed the lid (the flat) into the back of the screw band nearly half way, with the glue side facing the back, shiny part facing front (not that you end up seeing it). The shiny part of the lid served as a guide to how big we’d have to make the burlap middle. We hadn’t settled on how to plump up the middle, but then I remembered I had some cotton balls. At first we were going to do a short strip of burlap to make one layer, but we found that doubling it created the look we wanted—you couldn’t see the cotton underneath and the loose weave burlap took on a sort of sunflower-like appearance. We formed the puffy center by placing the cotton in the center and gathering the burlap together to form a lollypop. I tied a piece of twine around the ends, trimmed off the excess, and Mom flattened it some with her hand, making it to fit right over the shiny part. I wielded my trusty glue gun and put a generous amount on the lid, and she pressed the burlap center into place.
We started to repeat the same process with a light green patterned shirt, but part way in Mom said she thought the material was thicker, that maybe I could make the knots tighter. So she cut the strips, and I tied a few more, but I noticed it wasn’t working like the other one. So again that crafter instinct fired up, and she suggested we make the strip half as wide. I tried one on for size and liked the effect. I untied the thicker pieces, and she cut them in half so the dimensions for these strips were ½ inch by 6 inches. Soon that band was covered, and we formed another burlap middle for that flower.
We then made a short trip outside to cut a couple of 10-inch sticks to make the stem of the flower. (We used one of the quart jars from the previous project to figure out the length, as this would be their home once we finished them.) We snipped one slightly shorter so the flowers would fit in the jar together and not overlap too much. Once back inside, we flipped the flowers over so the back side of the screw band showed. We put a dollop of hot glue on the top edge (remember, still on the back side) of the ring and another dollop on the bottom edge. So basically the flower was glued to the stick—now magically transformed into a stem. We held them up for closer examination.
And Ann and Amy saw their creations and smiled. Yes, they were good.
Though I was initially disappointed the sunflower idea didn’t pan out, I was more than happy with the finished product. We both love these folk art flowers. They’re so simple to make, can be made in an afternoon, and they’d make a lovely gift. The wheels in my mind are already whirring, busy with thoughts of different colored materials and different applications. I even found myself thinking of some of the shirts Hubs is currently wearing, already plotting and planning their demise—the shirts, not Hubs! I think I’ll keep him around.
Are you working on any DIY projects? Tell us about it in the comments.
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