Paper Flowers Basics: How To Display And Maintain


Making paper flowers is a fun hobby and a relaxing craft for adults to do, but you can end up with a lot of flowers that need to be corralled. There are a lot of things that you can make with them, and deciding how to display them can be just as much of a creative outlet as making them is.

There are many ways to display paper flowers, including putting them in vases like real flowers, hanging them on walls to create a vertical display, and making objects like wreaths and decorated frames with them. Paper flowers can also be used to decorate window valances and baby nurseries, or added to hair accessories using hot glue or wiring them on. They can be used for many home decor projects to make decorative displays that will last for years.

Taking precautions as far as where to place the flowers to avoid fading from sunlight and damage from water will allow your paper flower displays to last for years.

paper flowers
paper flowers

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How long will paper flowers last?

Paper flowers can last indefinitely if they’re kept out of the sun, which can fade the color, and kept away from water, which can damage them. Cleaning them by using a blow dryer on a cool setting, or dusting them with a soft paintbrush will remove dust and keep them looking fresh. If the paper is sprayed with a UV protective spray it will also protect the paper from sunlight and make them more likely to be able to repel dust.

Crepe paper flowers
Crepe paper flowers

If paper flowers are displayed in places that are protected from light and the elements, they’ll last longer without damage.

Paper flowers that are attached to surfaces should be attached with a non-permanent type of adhesive, like double-sided tape instead of glue, if you want to reuse them in another way later.

If the paper that’s used to make the flowers is a lightweight tissue paper, the flowers can still last for years but they may tend to sag and wilt if the petals are larger.

Heavier paper, like crepe paper or cardstock, will keep its shape longer, so the flowers will look the same for much longer. I used to make crepe paper flowers to use on wedding cakes when I did custom cakes. They were humidity-proof and didn’t wilt like real flowers that needed to be kept in water.

Crepe paper flower displayed on a cake
Crepe paper flower displayed on a cake.

Taking some simple precautions when deciding where to display your paper flowers will help preserve them, but sometimes the type of paper that was used to make them will play into how long they’ll last, too. Some types of paper are just sturdier than others, so they’ll tend to last longer without looking raggedy.

You can also prolong the life of paper flowers by putting them inside a display case, becasue that will protect them from dust.

Shadow box with paper flowers
Shadow box paper flowers display from Silver Dragon Keepsakes

Lindsey of Silver Dragon KeepsakesOpens in a new tab. creates personalized shadow boxes that have paper flowers in them with a keepsake customization. These flowers will last a lot longer and make a meaningful gift.

Silver dragon Keepsakes logo

What kinds of paper is used to make paper flowers?

Paper flowers can be made from any type of paper, ranging from lightweight tissue paper to heavyweight cardstock. The type of paper that’s used will create a different effect, and some papers are more appropriate for certain styles of flowers than others. Crepe paper that is a heavier weight is commonly used to make flowers that are more realistic, due to the ability to manipulate the curve of the paper to mimic the natural shape of flower petals.

What kind of paper you decide to use will sometimes dictate how the flowers will look when they’re finished, and where you can use them.

(To learn how to make your own paper flowers and buy supplies for them, check out the Felt, Paper, Scissors website by Lia Griffith.)Opens in a new tab.

For example, heavier weights of cardstock may not make flowers that are very realistic, but they can be used to create giant flowers that can be displayed on a wall as a backdrop for photography.

They might also be a better choice for using on a wreath if you’re putting it outside and the flowers need to stand up to the elements for a few months. Even with a heavy-weight paper, though, keeping the flowers out of the rain and snow is important!

Lightweight tissue paper might be better to use for flowers with a large number of thinner petals like ranunculus and hydrangeas. The paper can be layered to make flowers with a lot of petals that are still lightweight and less bulky.

The type of paper that you use will also somewhat dictate how long the flowers will last, since heavier paper will be easier to dust and will keep their shape longer.

The crepe paper that’s used for realistic wafer paper flowers isn’t the same weight as the cheaper versions that are sold in party supply stores. The lightweight premium wafer paper is around 60 to70 grams per square meter, and it goes up to 180 g.

There are several makers of crepe paper, such as Carte Fini, that make heavy-weight paper that you can manipulate into shapes that look like real flower petals. That’s something that you can’t do with cheaper crepe paper, because it’s usually thinner and has shallower grooves in it.

Heavy weight and light weight crepe paper.
Heavy weight and light weight crepe paper.

Do paper flowers fade?

Paper flowers will fade if they’re displayed in direct sunlight, especially if they’re made from a cheaper grade of paper. Acid-free paper and paper flowers that have been treated with a UV protectant spray will resist fading longer, but any paper will fade or bleach when it’s exposed to the sun for extended periods. Some colors will fade more than others, and the combination of a volatile color and a cheap grade of paper can result in quicker fading.

(Click here to see artist’s UV protective sprays on Amazon)

If you’re making the flowers, you can apply the color to the surface of the paper instead of using a paper that’s dyed. A high quality of paint can resist fading for longer than a dye that’s infused into the paper, depending on the color.

Some colors are worse than others for fading, too. Purple tends to fade very quickly, so if you have purple flowers make sure to keep them far away from windows!

Tissue paper and crepe paper flowers
Tissue paper and crepe paper flowers.

You can also use white paper and brush-on color like the petal dust that cake decorators use. In the photo above the white flower with the yellowish center was colored with yellow petal dusts.

Making paper flowers is fun and can also be challenging if you’re trying to make them as realistic as possible. Different types of paper will give you different results, so it’s worth experimenting with different types of paper to find the weight that works best for the effect you’re going for.

And don’t forget, you can also use things like sheet music, vintage book pages. and old maps to make flowers, too. It doesn’t have to be basic solids!


Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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