Friday Flowers: Centerpieces for $3 in 5 Minutes

When I started posting about these coffee filter flowers, I got a lot of questions and feedback from brides-to-be looking for alternative centerpieces. Thanks to all y’all who reached out and showed interest –you made my day many times over :)

Ladies: this one is for you!

It’s also for everyone looking to make some specials accents for a party or shower, or even just an arrangement for your home or office. I keep bundle of these on my desk at work and you wouldn’t believe the attention it gets. People see it in my office and stop in their tracks to come in and touch it and feel it and ask how it was made. Granted, these arrangements aren’t everyone’s taste, but they sure are a conversation starter!

Today I’m showing one centerpiece, “the Shirley Temple” that is super economical and easy to make, plus two other options that are similar in cost, with a couple extra special flourishes. Never can have to many flourishes. I’m hoping you will see these as a starting off point for your own design. Don’t just copy mine –get down and dirty and design your own! That’s the fun part!

Now, before we get started, I need to introduce you to my little friend: THE CRIMPER. My #1 Gizmo of Choice. They have been around forever and even sell them at larger craft stores, but outside the trade, I don’t know anyone who owns one. It’s a shame. There are oodles of cool things to do with them (more on that down the road!)…essentially, the crimper wraps each ‘tuffet’ with a ‘tooth’ that you can jam into Styrofoam or foam board or screen mesh. You ever watch the rose parade and wonder how they got those flowers to stick to the underside of that dragon’s belly? Chances are a crimper had something to do with it.

Handheld crimpers go by many names, and you can get them three ways:

* Buy one on line. Note: according to that amazon link there were only 5 left today, so, you may have to hunt a little.

* Buy one at a craft store with a decent floral supply section (30% success rate on this method).

* GET ONE FREE by taking part in my first giveaway! I’m giving away a brand new Handy Pick Crimper kit with 200 steel pix. Shipping free within North America. And because every box needs a little box padding, I’m including a random assortment of coffee filter flowers to get you started. Can you tell these tutorials are leavin me with a WHOLE LOT of flowers hanging around the house?

Sooo, are you interested? All you have to do to win this beauty is:

  1. become a follower 
  2. leave a comment on this post.

I just added the follower gadget yesterday –for the few of you that were already followers (y’all are the best!) don’t worry, you are in the running, just leave a comment :)

One comment per follower, please. The winner will be selected randomly by Lola, on
September 23, 2010, at 11:59pm EST. Please be sure to leave your email in your comment so I have a way to contact the winner. Note: If the winner is comfortable sharing photos of something they make with the crimper, I would love post them at a later date. Cool? Good luck ya’ll!

$3 and 5 minutes: Shirley Temple

Someone once told me they once met Shirley Temple on an airplane and she was a mean old coot. I find that hard to believe when I look at those wonderful old movies of her all precious and frilly in her polka dot dresses. And, have you noticed, Shirley Temples are just about the loveliest cocktail running! All pink and sparkly with a maraschino cherry. How could anyone with a cocktail that pretty turn out to be a meanie-head? Sigh.
I digress…the container on this came from Mardi Gras beads hot glued to an empty can and spray painted red. Fact: a house isn’t a home without a few Mardi Gras beads hanging from the rafters, so don’t even try to tell me you need to go out and buy some. Worst case, you can use some old Christmas garland for the dollar store, but my beads are abundant so that’s what is here. For the “cherry” effect, I spray painted some dried bachelor buttons, but just about any dried wild flower or seed pod would give the same effect.

$3 and 10 minutes: Jan Brady

Jan Brady was easily, The Best Brady. Don’t even talk to me about Marsha.  Jan was the one rockin orange and pink bell bottoms when Marsha was complaining about her maroon velvet prom dress. Grossamundo. This arrangement has a soup can base with some fabric hot glued around the circumference. This container was free because I always have empty cans and black and white stripe fabric around the house. Yeah, I’m weird that way. In case your not weird like me, I made you black and white stripe paper that you can print at home. Wrapping paper would work nice too. The time on this one goes to cutting multiple batches of shapes and colors; a combination of hot pink with rounded edges, and these sunny ones made from orange, yellow, and brown star shapes.

$3 and 20 minutes: Truly Scrumptious

Inspired by the marvelous hats of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s heroine, Truly Scrumptious, this arrangement is very easy and economical. She took 20 minutes because I insisted on making a few cream colored roses, and attempted to add height with some curly willow with jagged scraps hot glue to the tips to look like blossoms. It was just about impossible to photograph in my apartment, so you will have to take my word for it: she is gorgeous.  I can only imagine what it would look like to see ten Trulys scattered around a large room. Talk about atmosphere! It has taken me a long time to learn that the key to good looking white flowers is to rinse them with a hint of color. Here the jagged mums have a whisper of pink and the cream roses were made from filters rinsed with Diet Coke. Yeah, tea would work, but I am big on Diet Coke.

* Note to self: need to learn the trick to photographing white stuff.
* Note to self: need to do a post on ways to make art with Diet Coke.

And here is how you make them. Fast!

Time:
When I say “five minutes” I expect you already have your filters dyed and dried. The flower making and assembly honestly took me less than five minutes each. I timed it. All three of these were assembled before I went to work yesterday. That’s the power of the crimper! That also explains why some of the photos are dark and orange colored…sorry y’all, it was an early start.

Cost:
Besides a few cents spent on coffee filters and paint, the vast majority of the $3 goes to Styrofoam. In my neck of the woods, anything bigger than your hand runs $2.50 and up. Bahhhh! I hate paying retail!
* Alternative: If you are making dozens of these, you can cut your spending even further by substituting Styrofoam for insulation foam spray like this. A $4 can fills 15+ large soup can containers. Read the directions carefully and remember it’s designed to fill small spaces, so you will need to partially fill your container with rocks/sand/crumpled paper, then just tape off the top to allow the foam to do its work…..24 hours of dry time and you are good to go!

1. Take 4 pre-dyed filters. I left the ends white to add texture, but you just go hog wild when it comes to color.
2. Fold in quarters
3. Cut edges.
4. After you cut all the flowers  (I estimate 6-10 flowers per centerpiece), separate and scatter randomly. This will ensure each layer of petals looks different and will add an overall richness to the final piece.

5. Choose 4 filters. If some of your filters are darker, put one on top (it should eventually end up on the inside).
7. Fold in quarters.
8. Twist the end slightly to form a stub.

9. Insert a steel pix (that’s what they are called, it a single stell pix a steel pick. Hmmm. Ponder…
10. Insert the twisted stub in the gripper jaws of the crimper and squeeze together.

11. Take a peek to make sure the teeth gripped around the stub. The first few times you use it, you might have an extra tooth or two sticking out, in which case a pair of pliers will do the trick.
12. Fluff to your heart’s content!
*Note: If you don’t have a crimper and want to do this anyway, I suggest you tape the stump to a plastic knife like this. It’s slower and doesn’t give the same fluffy results, but it works. 

13. Insert Styrofoam in your container.
14 Fill any gap space between the Styrofoam and the container with extra filters, making a ruffled color.

15. Insert flowers into the Styrofoam, working from the outside inward.
16. TaDa!!!!!

Hope you like it. Again, the crimper takes a little practice but you will get up to speed in no time!

Check in next Friday for more coffee filter fun with Daisies and Dahlias!  

Comments

  1. says

    Shhhhhhhhh! I can’t believe you are telling everybody about steel pix! I still have mine from MF’s …it’s an oldy but it still works. made some tissue pomanders for alex’s party last year that came out great. Not as nice as these but i was purdy pleased.
    ps. now we are watching chitty chitty TONIGHTS!!!!!

  2. says

    I love your flowers! And that tool is so wonderful, I can see so many creative uses for it. Would love to win! Do you know by the way where it can be purchased (and steel pixes for it)?

  3. says

    I love all of your flower posts, they are fantastic! My head is spinning with all of the possible applications for your amazing flower creations. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this tool, but would love to have one. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas!!

    email: pattrishy@msn.com

  4. says

    oh my! I’m looooving all this inspiration! I just found your blog yesterday and my daughter and I made your flower that was done out of ketchup cups, to top a present she was taking to a b-day party. We loved it and so did the birthday girl!! Now count me in for that criper give away :)

  5. says

    These are awesome! I’m going to cover my apartment in coffee filters. My mother will be overjoyed, I’m sure.

    I’m following you on google reader, I’m never quite sure what it means to be a follower.

  6. says

    Your arrangements are GAWRGEOUS!! I already love your blog. its my new fav. I heart your stripes and Liza Minelli cake and crowns for CATS! The crimper would just be icing….;)

    eristotledesigns at gmail dot com

  7. says

    Hey, Girl!
    I love, love, love your blog! You are precious. I’ve tried the coffee filter flowers. Mine are not nearly as cute as yours but I still had fun trying. Can’t wait to see what you do next. Oh I do hope I win me some crimpers!
    Eve

  8. says

    Hey, I’ve never heard of crimpers. How have I lived without one? I have started to make garbage flowers. I am making some that look like columbines, because they won’t grow in the meadow in front of my house. Ann

  9. says

    Oooh. I’ve been wanting one of those, but haven’t caved and bought one since I’ve already spent a small fortune on paper punches in the last few months (My cat would like you to know she’s had it up to *here* with this cheap s***. Ahem.).

    Anywho, luuurv the blog.

    Toodles, Sunny in Boston.

  10. says

    LOVE IT!!! i am a wedding florist who does events for friends and friends-of-friends and have never seen one of these….terrible!!! oh how i want to WIN WIN WIN a crimper!

  11. says

    oh man those would make many a project much easier!!! I have been loving and laughing with your blog since i found it a couple weeks ago! I have major plans for the coffee filter flowers :)

  12. says

    WOW. Am I ever proud to have you as a contributer at Craft Schooling Sunday, what an amazing group of bouquets! Thanks so much for sharing! I’d love to win a crimper, I’m off to follow you right now! xoxoxoSara

  13. says

    Just call me a lemming that likes tools. I blame the carpenter I live with. For the tool part, not the lemming part, that would be my mom;s fault if I had to blame anyone. Not that I am. I just like shiny things.

    Also, your flowers are just so pretty. Like, no way would they look that nice if I tried em pretty. But I just might. Maybe . I am pretty busy you know.

  14. says

    I wish y’all could see my smiling face asfter reading these comments! I have been holding back from commenting for fear it would somehow taint the random giveaway drawing, but I am assured by the internet angels that it is ok, and now I am free to tell you how much I appreciate your feedback and interest.

    Orangemama –you can order crimpers here –http://www.amazon.com/Handy-Pick-Floral-Hand-Machine/dp/B000V974Z4 ….they had five on friday, one on Sunday, today is monday and they are up to three? Who knows….you can also try craft stores with decent floral supply sections.

    Morah–YES, please oh please send pictures!! I would love to see what yall are working on!

    LucyDesigns–those are stunning! The poppies Im doing in two weeks have a similar center, but I have never seen or worked with fryer filters…I need to investigate ASAP. I’m be tickled pink if they come out half as nice as what you posted!

    CreativeJewishMom/Sara…you know how much I love your site! And your link parties send me WAY more people than any other link party. I’ll be happy coming to Craft School Sunday as long as you will have me!

    Thanks again everyone. Check in Friday to see who won!

  15. Anonymous says

    Bellisimo!!! I just love them. I will have to try making them in black for halloween. And of course I love your gadget…I’m thinking in the various crafts projects I could have use something like this.
    mommybearwilliams @ yahoo.com

  16. says

    OMG!!! I just saw this on One Pretty Thing! I just moved into this new house and I was looking into adding some pop of colors in the dining room! That’s perfect and on the cheap side too! To stay on the cheap side, all I need now is the free crimpers! ;)
    I also became a follower!
    jeacousin[at]gmail[dot]com

  17. says

    Your stuff is gorgeous! I followed the link on your coffee filter flowers from One Pretty Thing last week. Followed again from the link today and figured if I’ve been here twice I need to be a regular follower :) Beautiful flowers! brandi_svoboda at yahoo dot com

  18. says

    Ok. I’m in. You are now one of my #1 favorites. These are incredible and I can’t wait until I can get home, gather supplies and go to town making flowers. Fingers crossed on the giveaway, too…I’m already creating a list of people I’d be giving bouquets to!!! Awesome!!!

  19. says

    I love these – so cheap and so pretty! I would love to win a crimper, and I think I successfully followed you, but I’m not all that tech savy, so we’ll see :)

  20. says

    I LOVE your Shirley Temple… especially since red is my favorite color! I had not heard of crimpers before, and the way you show it, it looks easy to use. Thanks for the chance to win one.

  21. says

    Become a follower?!? Nah, I thought…I’ll just buy my own crimper. Then I scrolled down. Red is my fave so that’s what brought me here initially…the Shirley Temple is delicious! But when I scrolled down and saw the b/w stripes with the colorful posies…pitter patter went my heart, only to be followed up with the WOWWY flowers in the paper bag! LOVE. I chair a committee that plans 2-3 events per year. This Sat. I have an event and tomorrow night I have a meeting to start planning the January event. I usually try not to get bogged down with various job assignments so I can oversee things but your flowers (and the ones I see peeking out from the sidebar) make me want to say, “I’ll do the centerpieces.” I think they’re awesome. All that to say, I’m a follower and now I’m commenting-and I wasn’t even motivated by the crimper. I never do that. almost never.

  22. says

    Oh this looks incredible! Thank you so much for posting. I started to follow you (and not just for the crimper giveaway!).

    (note- I found this blog through Cutoutandkeep.net)

  23. Anonymous says

    That is way cool! I’ve made flowers before with punches, buttons, but never coffee filters or string – which is much poofier (?SP) and looks more like a flower! I’ve never used a crimper before, had no idea how it worked, but if I win one, your instructions are great. I’d like to do it. Thanks for all your hard work. Anne in NC – email ajp2020@charter.net

  24. says

    You come up with the best ideas! And I really appreciate the alternatives you offer, like if you don’t have black & white fabric, print a sheet or use wrapping paper-Thank you very much…oh and gee who wouldn’t have black & white striped fabric!! LOL

  25. Kendi says

    These are so adorable/incredible/fun!! My husband and I host a Thanksgiving dinner for our friends where we all bring groceries and cook together. I’ve been wanting to do more holiday decorations and this will be more than perfect for our tables!

  26. Anonymous says

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  27. Anonymous says

    These flowers are great!But what material should I use instaed of coffee filters, if I don’t have them?

  28. Arline Landry says

    I am a 60 year old who is about to get my only granddaught to raise. She is only 7 so I have many years to show her a good life. I love to do crafts of all kind and I think this one will be great for her and I to do together. She has had to deal with way to much in her short life and I want to show her other things to do and have fun with it. The flowers are great and I think she would love to decorate her room with them. Arline and Amanda
    AaaaaaaaaA

  29. PeachesFreund says

    Oh Katz,
    My goodness what challenges you have faced. I have tears in my eyes thinking that these flowers might have brought you some small piece of joy on your climb back to recovery. Keep up the great work. Sell some flowers that you have made and buys something pretty. You deserve it :)

  30. BEV says

    Love your ideas. I have been in hospital and rehab for 18 months from failed knee replacement so have tons of ztime to kill……

  31. Katzdragonfly says

    I am a 53 yr old in remission for two years from stage 4 breast cancer. Was diagnosed three weeks before new insurance kicked in. We lost everything to medical bills. We have just started to recover and get back on our feet ( like a new couple just getting started). I am home all the time by myself and am always looking for new things to do to keep me occupied. I love to decorate, but am on a strict budget. Your coffee filter flowers are so colorful, bright and beautiful, they are enough to brighten anyone’s day. They have certainly brightened mine. My Husband says he can’t wait to come home to see me smiling again and to show him the new flowers I’ve made for the day. He says the house is really becoming a home again. Thank you so much for sharing and being an inspiration. Truly yours, Katz

  32. Pacersq says

    Thank you very much for such clear directions!!! I am going out tomorrow to get paints, straws & filters. I love these.

  33. Gail says

    I like, and I find I like even more. Where did you learn this stuff. Thanks for sharing. I am kinda working on a budget and want to spruce up a little get together and this is going to do wonders. Thanks heaps.

  34. Maxine McDole says

    Love your flowers!!! I am anxious to give them a try. So pretty!!!
    Thanks for sharing, Hugs, Maki
    Maki’s Little Red House.blogspot.com

  35. says

    I love these ideas I work at a Boys & Girls Club in Philly. & my budget
    is small I work with alot of recycled crafts and you have now opened up a whole new world for me. Thank You I will have to tape & tie off the flowers we will not be able to afford the crimper but that is ok I can come up with a idea that I just used for cupcake paper flowers

  36. says

    My nephew is geting married in September and these would be great center pieces on the tables. They are so pretty. Can’t thank you enought for the idea.

  37. Anonymous says

    I came across this threw All free holiday craft email that I get all the time & I thought these were so beautiful, have never seen these before but now that I have am very interested in learning how to make them. Thank you so much for sharing this I just love them! Have a blessed day. Yours truly Loraodell49@yahoo.com

  38. Lynne says

    I just came across this through ‘All Free Holiday Crafts’….Can’t wait to get started on making these beautiful flowers…(once I get a Handy Pick Crimper kit)…I made some coffee filter flowers for my friend’s wedding bouquet and a centerpiece but the pattern was much more time consuming, although beautiful…this pattern is so much easier and just as beautiful.

  39. says

    After reading your comments on a crimper I started getting ideas about how to use one.I can’t wait to get a crimper and start playing! Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be lucky enough to win this one. But if I don’t I know some lucky person is gonna have a LOT of fun!

  40. says

    I love trying new crafts made simple. I also love the look of these flowers, not just the simple rose (although they are beautiful also) Would love the chance to get a crimper tool. Please put my name in the pot. Thanks soooo much

  41. says

    Wow, this is really awesome! I would love to win the Crimper:)) My son is getting married and we are trying to save money and make the flowers. Which, I have no clue on how to make. This would help us tremendously! It looks so easy with it. I will pray that I win this awesome tool:))))

  42. says

    My son is getting married and we need to save money. So, we are going to make the flowers and I have no clue how to. This looks so easy with the Crimper. I pray that I win….
    Thank you!!!!

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