The story behind Kate’s Magnolia paper flower tutorial for The Posey Box

For November’s paper flower tutorial, Quynh assigned me the happy task of creating a magnolia tutorial. The goal for this project was to create a magnolia branch that was small enough to arrange easily with other flowers, but that would still allow us to pack on a lot of blooms and buds. My first thought was to simply scale down a standard pink magnolia, but I became interested in the idea of creating a dwarf specimen with crepe. Often, dwarf varieties of plants are less willowy and elongated, and more dense and packed-in. What would that look like for a magnolia?

I turned to Pinterest and found magnolia bonsai images with thick, twisty, ancient-looking bark, and I became obsessed with recreating that gnarled, weathered, and mossy effect. Several partial branches later, I settled on a few texture and color techniques that I think really elevate this paper flower tutorial. 

But to me, the cherry on top of this piece is the little fuzzy green buds that are waiting to open. Quynh and I agreed that these buds needed to be truly furry to achieve optimal cuteness—but what method to use? I thought of sewing them out of velvet, needle-felting them, and sanding down the buds among a bunch of other possibilities. I finally decided on a technique I used in my book to create the soft center of a king protea with wool roving, and I think it works wonderfully. I’m actually now considering making a few branches that are entirely fuzzy buds for an elegant (and adorable) winter display.


Here are some tips to help your paper flower magnolias look their best: 

  • Make sure that the fuzz on the flower buds is completely dry before you begin to trim. Otherwise, you risk pulling too much off the bud in the process.
  • You can use stick or PanPastels in shades of white, black, gray, green, and gold to add details to the branch bark. Use a light hand to avoid muddying the color, and if it makes you feel more comfortable, consider starting on a small sample branch section. 
  • Be sure to position all your blooms and buds so that they stand straight up, and bend your branches into gentle curves for a natural look.

We can’t wait to see how your paper magnolia turns out! Tag us on Instagram, share on in our Facebook group, or join us for our monthly Gathering happening virtually on November 11.


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