Okay... So, here's my confession: This die-hard coffee lover is a tea lover, too. Unlike coffee, tea can be made from countless varieties of herbs and spices; leaving you with almost endless flavor possibilities. I like going through the trouble of brewing up a pot using a tea ball and loose leaves, but I also keep a stock of blended herbal teabags.
Those blends often come in beautifully printed cardboard boxes. Some are just colorful, and some have amazing artwork on them. I hate throwing any of them away. After finishing off a box of lemon-ginger blend, the idea struck me that the colors are perfect for fall. And since I recently learned how to make quilled paper roses, I thought I'd give it a try with cardboard. This works just a bit differently than quilling, but I think it's even less work without the tools. Follow along and I'll show you how I did it!
- I use a rotary cutter and mat, but scissors will work if you're good at cutting a straight line. So... I'll use that rotary cutter. And hey - Just so you know, you don't have to recycle a tea box for this craft! Just use any cardboard box (like from cereal or crackers) printed with pretty colors. The bigger the box, the more roses you can make!
- I wanted to get the longest length of material possible, so I opened the ends of the box to flatten it out. I really wanted to cut across the lettering, but that will leave me with short pieces. Using larger boxes will give you more options for cutting.
- I cut the tops, bottoms, and sides from the box, which left the center section as a loop of material.
- I cut the center section into 3/8" (0.95 cm) wide strips. (See later why thinner might be better!) The plan was to cut one side of the "loops" open, but then I realized that they aren't one continuous strip.
- So, the loops got cut into twice as many strips. I lost a bit of length by cutting the glue lines away, but was still left with strips that were 8" (20 cm) long.
- When using quilling strips, you would use a quilling tool. But when using cardboard, I just use my fingers. At first, I started by rolling the strip over itself a few times before making a fold. But... Keep reading, and we'll skip ahead to where I went wrong.
- What will work: Gluing the end of the strip once the rose is complete. With the smaller roses you'll see later, I didn't need the glue. I did glue some of them, and others I let open up a little. Play around and see what works best for you!
- What won't work: This rose didn't turn out the best. With the thicker roll at the beginning, a lot of the cardboard shows in the middle. And the wider strips I cut were more difficult to fold and roll. I tried to make them a little more pliable by dipping the finished roses in a mixture of glue and water. (I thought by mixing the water with glue, they would harden and stay put after I worked the petals into shape.) The cardboard didn't look as pretty afterwards, and they didn't stay put anyways.
- After some practice, I think I got it right! Although the thicker strips do work, I think the smaller roses made from the thinner strips (cut from the lid) are prettier and stay formed with less glue. Here's how I did it:
- With the thinner strips of cardboard, I began with a small fold instead of a thick roll. After pinching the material into shape, I made the first fold. Fold the material at a right angle to the beginning fold.
- Roll over the fold until the rose is perpendicular to the edge of the strip. Usually when quilling a rose, you would continue to fold in the same direction. Because the cardboard is only printed on one side, the ugly brown side will show if you do this. Fold the material under so that the printed side will show after the roll.
- Continue rolling and folding to the end of the strip, alternating the direction of each fold. The closer you make the fold to the roll, the less cardboard will be visible. Because I want autumn colors of yellow and brown, I don't mind if a little shows. I kinda like the rustic look of it.
So now the question is: What to do with these tiny cardboard flowers? Decorate a gift? Make an ornament? I think the choice is up to you! I was only inspired by the colors of the box; I don't actually have a plan for my flowers yet. Although I thought they'd be pretty as part of a candle holder, I'm a little wary of combining paper and fire. What would you do with them?