Oversized Paper Orchids

by ilene on April 27, 2015 · 2 comments

in party, stationary, tutorial

orchids

My friend Jackie was getting married in her native Hawaii last summer so I helped throw her bridal shower before her wedding in Oahu.  I was in charge of decorations and since she was going to have beautiful orchids all through out her wedding so for her shower, I decided to make a bunch of white orchid decorations, including this massive oversized paper orchid centerpiece.   To get an idea of how big the orchids were, here is a photo of the radiant bride-to-be in front of it:

orchid11

It was huge!!  The giant stem of orchids made a nice focal point for the party.  The biggest bloom at the bottom spanned about 3 feet across! (side note: isn’t my friend Jackie so pretty?  Thank you for having a wedding in Hawaii and giving us a reason to vacation there!)

For the paper flowers, I found a free orchid template online here. The template made orchids only a couple inches big, so I enlarged the flowers in photoshop and made the blooms in two sizes:  one extra-large bloom at the base and three smaller ones above it.  Each bloom had three pieces to it: the center piece and 2 petal pieces (I’m sure those are not the right botanical terms).  I printed the enlarged templates out on my printer on regular paper then I pieced them together with tape:

orchid2

My local art supply store Flax in SF happened to be having their annual paper sale so I bought a bunch of HUGE pieces of crepe-like paper for $1 a piece. Normally the paper sells for $5 a piece so I got a great deal on them and they were about 4feet x 5feet big.  The paper was thinner than poster board with a slight texture. I traced the templates onto the paper and cut out the pieces. Here are all three pieces that make up each flower:

orchid5

I decided to watercolor the center pieces of the blooms to make them look more realistic:orchid3

I did the old grade school trick of sprinkling salt on the paint while it was still wet to make it look more speckled:orchid4

Because the flowers were so big and the paper was thin, I was afraid they wouldn’t hold up, so I reinforced the backside of the petals with floral wire. I taped the wire to the petals and the wire kept the flowers from being too floppy:
orchid8

Then because I wanted the petals to curl a bit to look more realistic, I curled the edges of the petals by rolling them up with my hands. The floral wire helped hold its shape:
orchid6
Then I glued the three pieces of the flower together so that each bloom looked like this:
orchid9

 

After I was done making all the flowers, I was trying to figure out how to put them together to create one stem of blooms. I needed a strong curved structure that could stand upright and just was I was telling my dilemma to Jeff, my eyes locked on our arc lamp across the room and I knew it was perfect for the job! We have this “big dipper arc lamp” from CB2 and it was exactly what I needed to create my orchid plant:

bigdipper

 

The arc is adjustable so I extended the arm as far out as it would go.  I took off the lightbulb and lamp shade and wrapped the metal arc with green paper.  Then I taped each bloom along the “stem”.  I also added a couple  small buds to the end of the arc and green leaves at the base:

orchid10

One show stopping orchid plant all done! Perfect for the Hawaiian-themed bridal shower!

I ended up making a bunch more white orchids with yellow centers that we hung around the room. The bride was able to re-purpose the flowers and took a bunch with her back to Hawaii and used them as props for the photo booth at her wedding reception, too!

 

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{ 2 comments }

1 Amy April 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm

These are amazing! You are so creative!

2 rae November 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm

hi
I love the orchid you make, OMG!! I went to the site and the template isn’t free, can you send me your enlarged version??? Please and thank you
raeneawilliams@yahoo.com

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