Friday Flower: Giant Sunflower

This thing is so big the only place I could photograph it was the sun porch!

 

You may or may not have noticed that I skipped the last couple of weeks of Friday Flower projects. Sorry y’all. Please know that it was not for lack of effort I have been busy beavering away at a series of, wait for it, ….giant flowers.

Cool right giant flowers? Doesn’t that sound fun? Don’t you want to make a great big batch of them and hand them out to everyone you know?

Well that’s too bad because none of them worked!

This sunflower, nice as it is, is nothing like I thought it would be. I’m about 80% satisfied with the results. I hesitated to even share it with y’all but the concept is solid, and, as this is the start of sunflower season, who am I to hold back?  It’s sunny and summery and would be fun to make with munchkins. If/when I make a better sunflower I’ll be sure to share that too.

Kiki was kind enough to model. If only I had asked her to wear skinny green pants for the occasion.
I have been thinking about making giant flowers for nearly a year, ever since I saw these suckers featured in Bryan Batt’s book, Big Easy Style.
Tangent: If you are into interior design books, I highly recommend this one. It’s classic interior design stuff but there is an infectious sense of joy underlying his designs that I don’t usually associate with big glossy decorating books. In short: this is a happy book. If you look through this thing and don’t ache for a trip to New Orleans, something is wrong with you. Plus, he has some really good tips on no-fail paint colors and lighting that I have never seen anywhere else. Plus, Mr. Batt is ridiculously handsome. Plus, you might already know him as Salvatore Romano from Mad Men, or a bunch of other places, but he will always be Sal the Art Director to me. *Sigh*
And here is another tangent: Why aren’t there more graphic design professionals portrayed on film and in television? We only had ONE decent character and AMC up and plunked his butt. WTF? Seriously, you know what?  How many lawyer/doctor/cop/government agent shows are there on TV?  Too effing many. That’s what. Why don’t they make more shows about creative people? Why can’t they show people kerning fonts and preflighting page spreads? I’m tell you, it’s downright exciting. Someone should steal my idea here and make some money. Shhhhhh, I won’t tell.  
Anyway, tangents are over, about the flowers…. Mr. Batt has these giant paper flowers on the chocolate colored wall in his dining room (don’t you love that?). I have seen similar flowers on the sides of Mardi Gras floats so I am assuming that they are made of chicken wire and airbrushed paint, but I’m not sure. All I know is they look complicated. So asked my friend Suzzone, a fabulous blogger and professional crafter who lives in New Orleans what she thought, and boy am I glad I did because she said she saw them making these at her son’s school. SCHOOL. Well, if school children can make them, goshdarnit, so can I!
Originally I tried these with tempera paint on butcher paper and wire but they came out too floppy. Then I tried gluing the petals to plastic sliced up cups and it was a hot mess. In retrospect, they might have worked if I had chosen thicker paper, but you know, we are all entitled to a learning curve. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with this; a simple method of stacking layers of petals glued to plates. It’s hard to mess up and it’s a great excuse to bust out the big gloopy paint.
Materials
  • Thick brown craft paper
  • Multiple colors of latex paint (leftover house paint does just fine)
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • One platter size lightweight/paper plate
  • One dinner size  lightweight/paper plate
Start by painting the craft paper –make it good and thick. For a flower this size you will want to paint at least three large sheets about the size of your dining room table. Make them nice and colorful and enjoy the painting process. You can smear down a decent base coat with a cheap sponge or roller. Go out of your way to be messy. Eat some chocolate while you are at it. I painted my petals shades of yellow pus some brown scraps to insert in the middle, but you could do any color. Or all colors. Oh please, somebody hurry up already and make a giant rainbow sunflower and send me a picture.
 
The amount of craft paper you will need depends on how many petals you want–I estimate I covered my dining room table with painted craft paper three times for this project.

I know someone is going to ask me for a petal template, so let’s be clear: I don’t have one. It cut these out free hand and you can too. Just fold the paper over and cut skinny pointy oval shapes in graduating sizes.  The fold is nice as it helps to stiffen the petals to keep them from flopping over down the road.
This flower used about 100 petals total, but you could get by with a lot less. Or a lot more. Gosh, don’t I sound wishy-washy today?
For the center of the flower, cut three circles with painted edges. Again, no template here. Just cut the edges nice and jagged then fringe the perimeter. Do this on each circle, fold up the edges, then stack them inside of each other. This could be a small flower all by itself.For the center, cut a small circle of a lighter color, fringe the perimeter, and fold all the petals  in on each other.

Assembly

The critical base of this whole project is a lightweight bamboo/wicker/basket platter thing from the thrift store. If you have ever had cause to order catered food, chances are the food came delivered on one of these, but if you do not have one laying around in your garage already, I guarantee you, every thrift store in the country has a lightweight platter basket laying around on a shelf for 99cents or less. Yes, you could substitute with a big circle of cardboard but then you won’t get the lip around the edge that helps the petals curve inward a bit like a real flower.

For the bottom tier, adhere half the petals to the platter with hot glue. Now that I think about it, staples might work as well.

For the  second tier, glue the remaining half of the petals to a reasonably sturdy paper plate and then glue the back of the paper plate to the center of the first tier.


For the center of the flower, stack the three brown circles, hot glue, then fluff the fringe to your heart’s desire. Finish off with that fringy thing you made seven steps ago. Tada!

I had my heart set on it being a sunflower, but now I look and maybe it’s a black-eyed Susan. Hmmm…hard to say.

Happy weekend :)

Comments

  1. says

    Well I personally think it makes a beautifully large statement! It diffently goes on my to do craft list. I wonder if I could make a giant hydrangea? ;-)

  2. says

    Well I personally think it makes a beautifully large statement! It diffently goes on my to do craft list. I wonder if I could make a giant hydrangea? ;-)

  3. melissa says

    I have just hung my beautiful new sunflower on my red door. It’s perfect. Plus my kiddos loved painting. One question…we painted brown paper sacks because I needed to use the items we had in the house. Is there anything you would recommend to stiffen the petals after it has already been put together? Everything is ok right now, but I’m afraid gravity will have its way in a few days.
    ps is 3 stars as high as I’m allowed to rate it? I would definitely give it 5!!!

  4. Vie says

    wow I love it I love sunflowers and have been trying to FILL my space with them. One question how do I get it to stay behind my ear? lol All I can say is MORE SUNFLOWERS

  5. says

    I think I am in love and I am TOTALLY doing this for my front porch! Heck, I might make mom one for mother’s day and my sister one for her birthday! These are so awesome!!
    THANKS!

  6. says

    These look AMAZING! I will be making these for the kids a sunflower festival in northern ireland will try a rainbow one too for sure! Many thanks for sharing!

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