When you mention crepe paper, most people outside of our paper flower world think of party streamers or tissue paper. If you’ve been a paper florist for any amount of time, you know that crepe paper comes in a staggering array of options that the general public is unaware of. The structure and intricacy you can coax out of crepe is incredible and truly an art form.
Crepe paper has been around since the late 19th century, and inventive crafters like ourselves have been making beautiful art from crepe for just as long. Now, our paper flower industry is growing like crazy, and it’s easier than ever to find buy crepe from around the world in many different varieties.
But with so many options, you may feel overwhelmed by which crepe to choose—but not anymore.
I’m here to share the crepe knowledge I’ve gleaned from years of being a paper florist and educator, all in one easy to read post. By the end, you’ll learn everything you need to know about choosing and purchasing crepe paper for your next paper flower project.
Here’s crepe paper weight in a nutshell: the higher the weight, the heavier the paper. If you’re comparing Italian 180 gsm with German doublette 90 gsm, without knowing anything else about crepe you can already know that that Italian paper will be heavier.
What exactly does “heavier” mean? In general, heavier paper will tear less easily, have more stretch, show more machine lines, and hold its shape for longer. Lighter paper will tear more easily, but can create very realistic flowers—think about how delicate many real petals are.
Manufacturers label the weight as “gram,” “gsm” (grams per square meter), or sometimes just “g.” They all mean the same thing, so don’t worry if websites use different terms behind their numbers.
Of course, there are many manufacturers around the globe involved in crepe production. That means many different standards of weight and quality can also be found. You’re going to find some variation in stiffness and stretchability that doesn’t perfectly follow this number system. That’s okay!
We’re going to dive into the different types of crepe next, and as you become familiar with them, you’ll soon learn how they compare when it comes to things like sturdiness and stretch.
By now you know that crepe paper is manufactured around the world. It’s no surprise then that we refer to many of our papers by their country of origin. Here’s a rundown of the papers used most by paper florists:
Manufactured by Werola in Germany, German crepe paper comes in a wide range of colors and is considered high quality. Werola produces its paper in an environmentally friendly way, which is a fantastic feature.
Here are the main options for paper florists:
The best place to purchase German crepe paper is from rosemille.com and from Lia Griffith’s shop feltpaperscissors.com. You can also find these papers on Etsy, eBay, and Amazon—just make sure to search for the best shops and prices.
Another high quality option, Italian crepe paper is available in many different weights and colors. You can learn even more about Italian crepe by reading our guest blog post from Mike Benson of Carte Fini (the manufacturer). As he told us, Italian crepe features a smooth texture and is very durable.
Here’s a quick overview of options:
The best place to purchase Italian crepe in the USA is cartefini.com. I’ve loved working with them.
Chinese crepe is more affordable than the German or Italian option, but keep in mind that there are drawbacks. You’ll find less consistency between rolls when it comes to color, stretchability, and thickness. That said, many paper florists have been able to do amazing things with Chinese crepe, and since it is cheaper, you won’t be out much money if you give it a try.
The best place to purchase Chinese crepe paper is papermart.com.
Dennison was the first crepe paper manufacturer in the USA. Their crepe is still made in the states on the original factory machines. If you search for Dennison crepe online, you’ll find all sorts of fun, vintage crafts people made way back when with this crepe. It comes in 134 solid colors and 28 printed patterns.
The best place to purchase Dennison crepe paper is from rosemille.com.
Another affordable option in a bright array of colors is Mexican crepe. Again, keep in mind that the price will reflect the quality. This paper will be a bit thinner than other crepes of the same weight (like the Italian 90 gsm). Maybe not the best choice for creating a client’s realistic bridal bouquet, but definitely useful in many situations.
The information above provides a good jumping off point for choosing the right crepe. Now you know that lighter weight papers are more delicate, that Italian and German crepe are higher quality, and where you can buy them all.
But what if it’s still a bit murky which one you should choose for your paper flower?
One of the best ways to learn is through doing! So that you don’t go through too much crepe with experimentation, find a good tutorial and follow their weight recommendations for that flower. As you create, you’ll learn all about the crepe by actually using it and why the educator chose it for that project.
Take a look at our tutorial index for The Posey Box. Each one lists what you’ll learn, the level of difficulty, and which crepe paper you’ll need. Our tutorials are filled with all of the information that beginners need to succeed, as well as new techniques and ideas that will keep experts happy. There’s really something for everyone.
You can also check out my paper flower book recommendations for more excellent tutorials over on my personal paper florist blog.
Now you know the ins and outs of crepe paper. I’d love to answer any questions you still have about crepe or anything to do with paper flowers—I really can’t stop talking about them. Leave a comment or send me a DM on Instagram. And as always, happy making!