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Coffee Filter Flowers
Have fun making these frilly flowers with common kitchen items! Just grab some coffee filters and food dye from the cupboard and get to craftin’. After experimenting with different water:dye ratios, we found that the best looking flower is one that has varying depths of color. These flowers are great for any season, but you could make peppermint-inspired flowers by dying the tips of the filters with red coloring, and then arranging several in a vase for festive holiday arrangement.
Supplies & Tools:
- White coffee filters
- Tablespoon measure
- Food coloring
- 2–3 small bowls
- Large cardboard box or newspaper
- 18" coated floral wire
- Floral tape
- Pipe cleaners
- Straight sticks*
*For straight sticks, you can use bamboo skewers, chopsticks, or sticks from outdoors.
- Place bowls on a flat surface. Add water and food coloring as follows:
- Bowl 1: 3 tablespoons water, 3 drops red dye
- Bowl 2: 1 tablespoon water, 10 drops red dye
- (Optional) Bowl 3: 1 tablespoon water, 3 drops red dye, 1 drop blue dye.
- Separate coffee filters into groups of 10–15.
- Loosely fold filters into eighths to make it easier to dip into the bowl. (Fold in half 3 times.)
- Dip the filters into Bowl #1. The coffee filters absorb the water quickly, so you won’t need to dip the filters into the water for long. Filter should be saturated a little more than half-way; it should not be dripping wet.
- Next, dip filters into Bowl #2. This will create dark tips on the petals.
- Optional: dip filters into Bowl #3
- Repeat with remaining coffee filters.
- Refill bowls as necessary.
- Leave filters in folded clumps and lay in a cardboard box (or on several sheets of newspaper on a waterproof surface). Let dry overnight.
- Once completely dry, separate the filter bunches, open up each filter, and lay it flat.
Note: You do not want the filters still bunched together like this: So they look fluffy when grouped together, the filters need to be opened up completely like this:
- Stack 5–8 filters; set aside.
- Take a piece of floral wire and fold about in half.
Note: It’s helpful to have one side of the wire slightly longer than the other since it helps you wire the flower.
- First, pierce the longer side of wire through filters, slightly off center. You may need to push it through a few layers at a time. Then pierce the shorter end of wire through the filters. The longer wire should stay in place, eliminating the need to pierce both ends of wire at the same time.
- Turn flower over and pull wire through to the back side and twist wire to lock the layers.
- Wrap floral tape or a chenille stem to slightly pinch petals to give it a more three-dimensional shape.
- Wrap wire around a stick. Cover with floral tape to secure the wire to the stick.
- Put several flowers in a vase.
Alternate way to form flowers:
In our experience, this way produces a very full flower with only 3 filters. See the comparison in the notes below.
- Follow steps 1–10 above.
- Separate the filters.
- Take one filter; gather it in the center, and twist.
- Take a second filter, gather it in the center, and twist.
- Untwist the second filter, and insert the first filter in the pocket.
- Twist the center.
- Repeat steps 4–6 to add a third filter.
- Tie the twisted part together using a pipe cleaner. Wrap it a few times.
- Follow steps 16–17 in the directions above.
- Compare flowers made by the alternate directions (3 filters) versus the regular directions (8 filters).
Ideas from the elves:
- For tie-dye flowers, dip the corner of the folded filter in one color, and then dip the other end in a different color.
- For stronger contrasting flowers, dip the filter into a diluted color, and then add drops of food coloring directly on the tips.
- Colors will bleed when double-dipping the filter, so use this to your advantage when mixing colors. Most boxes of food dye have color “recipes” printed on them. Use this as a guideline for blending colors. For example, to make purple, use 3 drops red and 1 drop blue.