Crafting Paper Magnolias with Sophie Longhurst

Crafting Paper Magnolias with Sophie Longhurst

Paper flower artist and author of Crafting Authentic Paper Flowers, Sophie Longhurst's talents have delighted many across her native North Yorkshire and beyond. Her mesmerizing paper magnolias are featured in our most recent Spring Collection shoot, and she thoughtfully details her method for this artful craft below.

You will need:

Cream or white crepe paper

Brown crepe paper

Pale green crepe paper

Purple or deep pink

Thick stub wire

Florist tape

Tacky glue

Tea bag



Sponge applicator

Pastels, purples and pinks

Green chalk dust

Snub nose pliers

Petal templates

A skewer or thick piece of stub wire


1. Cut 2cm ribbon of pale green crepe paper against the paper grain and out-stretch the ribbon, this should measure around 12cm but don't worry we can cut off any excess.

2. Cut a fine zigzag pattern at the top of the paper ribbon and set aside.

3. Take a piece of the thick stub wire (I use around an 18 gauge) and using your florist tape winding it round and round, create a bulb shape which tapers off towards the top and is plumper at the base, this wants to be approximately 2 cm in height this forms the inside of the flower known as the carpels.

4. You will now need your pale green zigzag ribbon for the next step and you will want to apply a nice thin layer of the tacky glue, using a brush or sponge applicator.

5. Now hold the wire with the bulb on top in one hand and place the green ribbon at the top of the bulb shape so the zig zag points just cover the tip of the bulb and slowly start to wrap the ribbon around and around descending down the bulb shape just being careful not to cover over the zigzags.

6. I like to take some tacky glue on a brush now and sweep up and down the carpels we have just made so that the tips of the zigzags point outwards a little and look a bit prickly. Now set that aside to dry.

7. You will need to take your purple/pink crepe now and cut another ribbon against the grain and out-stretch the ribbon to approximately 15 cm in length.

8. Taking your scissors thick fringe along the top of the ribbon.

9. Using your thumb and finger, rub the fringing in between them to create thick rounded shapes which will form the stamen for the magnolia.

10. You will now apply a thin layer of tacky glue to the base of the fringed ribbon.

11. Taking the wire with the green flower centre we have created, line up the base of the purple/pink fringed ribbon and wrap this around and around the base of the carpels, you should now start to see the full formation of the centre for the magnolia.

12. Apply a little tacky glue to the tips of the stamen and dip into the green chalk dust, set aside to dry. ( to make the dust just scrape down the chalk with a knife and catch the dust)

13. You will need your petal template cut out for the next steps.

14. Using the template, cut 9 petals from your cream/white crepe.

15. Line your petals up and apply your purples and pink pastel shades to the backs of each paper petal. I use panpastel in red iron oxide, magenta extra dark and magenta shade.

16. You can seal the pastel with a spray at this point (only if available)

17. Now the next part is to manipulate the petals using a gentle stretch called cupping to form the bowl shape of a magnolia petal.

18. Using a thick piece of stub wire or a rounded skewer gently fold the edges of the petals inwards.

19. Once you are happy with the petal shapes apply tacky glue to the first petal base and stick tight up against those stamen. Do this one petal at a time, (take a look at a picture of a magnolia to get an idea of how the petals are placed) each time allowing the glue to dry a little. Once all 9 are attached, set aside to dry.

20. This is when you will need your tea bag! Take a piece of cream/white crepe between 5-10 cm tall (with the grain) and 15 cm in length (against the grain) and dampen the tea bag with water and blot all over the crepe paper, allowing it to dry.

21. Now once dry using the remaining template cut 3 shapes.

22. Wrinkle the 3 shapes (screw them into a ball and then unscrew the ball) and apply tacky glue to the bases and attach individually around the base/back of the petals. Set aside to dry.

23. Take the brown crepe and cut a 1-2 cm tall long length of ribbon.

24. If you want a longer branch for your magnolia then add one or two pieces of stub wire to the main flower you have made, you do this by using the florists tape to secure the joins, when you are happy with the length of the branch, use the florists tape to thicken up the whole branch, from the base of the flower all the way down.

25. Once you are happy with this, take your brown crepe ribbon and add tacky glue all the way along the length and starting at the base of the magnolia you will use the crepe ribbon to cover over all the petal attached areas and wind all the way down the length of the branch and cut and excess ribbon.

26. Once the whole stem is dry have a little fiddle with the petals and manipulate the branch.

Shop Sophie's Favourites from our Spring Collection:

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