This project is not new. First time I made coffee filter flowers was with my Grandnanna in the early eighties. They were yellow, to match her all yellow living room, of course. We also made pink ones out of pink toilet tissue to go in her pink kitchen, but that’s a story for another time. All I know is that when we finished those yellow flowers, she put them in her fanciest crystal vase and they went straight up on the mantel.
That’s right: The Mantel.
Right there next to the ash tray and the wax grapes and the painting of a Parisian bridge on black velvet: My Flowers. I never felt so special in my life. They stayed there up on that mantel several glorious years, until one winter day in 1987 when Grandnanna discovered “a crazy mustache man with long fingernails and a tambourine!” living in her basement.
Y’all, I’m not even joking. If you have a crawl space, go and check it for crazy shit or people with mustaches right now. You’ll feel better.
Anyway…Mustache Man had been there for months. Totally undetected. Neighbors later reported hearing a tambourine late at night, but by then Grandnanna had taken off her hearing aid and never heard a thing…until one day she ventured down for holiday decorations and found him there in the crawl space, eating pork rinds and reading Kafke (seriously, Kafke?)….so she screamed, he screamed, someone threw an Easter basket, and then Mustache Man went crazier than a blind dog in a meat house, running all over, knocking over furniture, screaming and shaking his tambourine. He grabbed two things before he reached the front door; Grandnanna’s purse and the crystal vase with my yellow flowers. Yeah, in retrospect, I know he grabbed the vase because it looked easy to pawn, but when I heard the story, my ten-year-old ego assumed it was a sign my flowers were in hot demand. Obviously.
To my logic: People who like mustaches + People who like pork rinds + People who like tambourines + People who like Kafka = People who will buy my flowers. Clearly.
An empire was born.
I entertained visions of people across the nation, sitting down on their elegant sofas, eating pork rinds, gently tapping their tambourines in praise of the flowers up there on their mantels. I was going to start a decorative movement! The plan for this craft-tastic empire was simple: get Hallmark to sell them in their stores and offer a free brownie with every purchase. All I needed to start the movement was time, coffee filters, and a whole lot of brownies. Twenty years later, I’m still working on it.
Hallmark: call me.
Y’all: grab your tambourine and join in the movement!
6. From here on in, think of your filters in 3 separate groups
* Tier A, one filter, darkest color
* Tier B, two filters, medium color
* Tier C, three filters, lightest color
7. For a jagged edge like a peony, fold your filters and snip away at the edges. No need for perfection here.
8. Keep them in line!
9. Take Tier A (the darkest filter), scrunch and twist. You’ll want a good inch of twist at the bottom. Notice that the filters stay in place without glue. Magic.
10. Take Tier B (the two medium filters and snip a pea-size hole in the middle.
11. Insert the pointed twist of Tier A inside the tiny-hole of Tier B, and twist it all together. Again, you will want a good inch of twisted stump at the bottom.
12. Yup, repeat the same process with Tier C.
13. Bind with a pipe cleaner and fluff to your heart’s content!
14. Jagged edges.
15. Smooth, ink/marker on edges.
16. Scalloped edges.
make a bouquet
17. Take the heads off a bunch of silk flowers (I found this one at the dollar store)
18. Wrap the base wires around the stem
19. Secure with green floral tape. OK, so I was out of green floral tape and masking tape worked just fine.
20. Bunch them all together in a cool vase or martini shaker. If you made your flowers with little-ones, I suggest you display them in that fancy vase you inherited or got at your wedding that stays in a box in the cupboard. You know the one. These flowers won’t get messy or wet, and your child will feel so proud when they see you making a fuss to display their work prominently.