Transform Fake Flowers to Look Real

I have two tutorials in this post on how to make two different kinds of tissue paper flowers. You will find how to make both a pom-pom flower and a frilly mum. 

I know terrariums and succulents are all the rage right now, but I have to admit – they hold no appeal for me. I love nature and like to bring living things into my home whenever I can, but I go for it in the way of flowers.  Big flowers with huge blooms like hydrangeas and peonies. Ooooh…la…la…  I love ’em!

Linda McDonald DEsign
Linda McDonald Design

Last week while on Pinterest I came across this photo and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind ever since.  I was in desperate need to have these flowers in my home.  I love everything about the room, but the simple white flowers – became an obsession! I had to have them, but how?

I know I could never find them fresh in my area this time of year and even if I did they would cost $20 or more, so I decided the only way I was going get them was to go fake, but even fake are expensive.   Instead, I did a little Semi-Homemade makeover on fake flowers I bought at the dollar store and used tissue paper flowers that I made to give the dollar store stems a makeover.

tissue paper flowers step-by-step tutorial

This is what I created by taking apart dollar store flowers and styling new blooms from tissue paper. Tissue paper can be used to make all sorts of decorative accessories around your home including tissue paper canvas wall art. I am very happy with how the paper flowers turned out.

The tissue Paper flowers with stems: Total cost:  $4.00.

How to make a tissue paper flower bouquet tutorial

Since I have posted this post, I have updated my dining room. I stripped the table and used a driftwood finish on it. Now it looks more like the table in the inspiration photo from Pinterest above.

How to Make Tissue Paper Flowers

To make these flowers I removed the blooms from the stems on a bunch of fake flowers I bought at the dollar store. I then replaced them with the tissue paper flowers. Here is the tutorial showing how I did it.

supplies needed:

  • Tissue paper
  • Wire
  • Florist tape
  • Stapler
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Dollar Store flowers that have  medium/light green colored stems and leaves – not dark green stems.  You can even use real tree branches

1. Lay 5 layers of tissue paper cut to 8” x 14” on top of each other. Accordion fold,

2. Find center and staple. Then wrap a 5” piece of wire around. Round edges with scissors.

Paper flower tutorial

3. Carefully begin to spread out each layer of tissue paper to start forming the flower.

4. Fluff so that most of the petals are to one side, unless you want to make pom-pom flowers to hang.

Paper flower tutorial

5. You can see the fake rose bouquet I bought at the dollar store in the left hand side of the photo below.  Pull off all the flower heads. You will expose the wire stem tops. You want to attach the tissue paper flowers to these wire stems.

How to make tissue paper flowers

6. I poked the tip into the center of the tissue paper flower and then wrapped the wire around the stem to secure. You could also bend the tip of the fake flower stem to create a hook to wrap the flower and the wire around. I did a few each way. Cover the wire with florist tape.

How to make paper flowers

In this photo you can see I have most of the tissue paper flowers attached to the fake bouquet stems.

How to make tissue paper flowers

BEFORE: White Rose bouquet I took apart on the right.   AFTER: Tissue paper flowers  on the left.

How to make tissue paper flowers

I used the fake bouquet because the work of arranging the heights of each stem/bloom is already done for you. You could also gather up a bunch of branches from your yard and attach the paper flowers.


To make them look more realistic, cut the branches from the main stem and put water in your vase.

How to make paper flowers look real

How to Make a Fake Frilly Mum Flower

Frilly-Paper-Flower Tutorial

1.  Fold over a piece of tissue paper lengthwise.  If you want big blooms – just make the space between the folds larger.  If you don’t want loop for the petals – trim the top of the folded paper so there are no folds.

2. Use scissors to cut the paper every 1/4 –inch along the length.

3.  Roll it up and place a staple on each side of the roll to secure.

4. Cut the excess paper away under staple. This will let the flower sit flat on a gift box.

5. Loopy flower. The purple and white flower is more frilly since the folds were cut off along the top of the length of folded tissue paper.

More Tissue Paper Flower Making Ideas

I made a frilly flowers on the top of the ribbon spool gift box in my last post. It resembles a mum.

If you don’t mind a fake plant or two in your home, you may like this topiary I made using fake greenery.

More Decorating With Flower Ideas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. You make beautiful items, & truly show how to “stretch a dollar”. I’d like to ask your opinion on an obvious “fake” flower. I made some DIY football roses for my daughter’s football themed wedding. So obviously everyone will know those are fake. We are using one or two them in the floral centerpieces, and then afterwards my daughter wants to keep the football roses as a “bouquet’ in her home. My question is: what do you think I could use for the football roses’ stems? Green floral wire seems too skinny…. so I was thinking of wrapping the stems with some sort of green fabric to bulk it out a bit, but thought that might even look worse. Or maybe we should go for a total fake look & double up the stems & wrap with colored ribbon that match her florals, but that might not look so hot for the “after wedding” bouquet? I’m not very creative & obviously you are… so I’d just like to ask you for your thoughts/ideas. Thanking you so much in advance!
    P.S. After seeing your tissue flowers, I might try this for some of her decorations as well. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. I learned to make these tissue flowers way back in high school for our Homecoming floats only they were smaller of course. I hope my arthritic hands can make them now because I love the idea. Everytime I cut my hydrangeas and put them in water an hour later they are already drooping. This is a good solution.

  3. Love the post- can I ask where you got your dining room chairs? :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lauren – The dining room ladder back chairs and table were hand-me downs from my parents. They are made by Pennsylvania House furniture company. They are around 30 years old.

  4. I love making paper flowers! I have never attached them to plastic stems before (only have used wire). Great idea, can’t wait to use!

  5. Jessica Taylor says:

    Great and awesome post. Thanks to share this useful information.

  6. i love the table! where is it from?!

  7. You are pure genius! Love love love your fake flowers. Wish I could make them! xxx

  8. Ejike John says:

    I never paid much attention to fake flowers because I always thought they were a joke and believed that what was not real was not real.
    This went on for a while until my cousin was able to fool me into believing some artificial flowers were real. I never thought I could see something so similar to the real stuff.
    Now I am just a fan and can’t stop talking about it.

  9. Linda Weeks says:

    Just wonderful. I am going to try this myself. I have plenty of tissue paper around here so what could go wrong? and I have coffee filters too so I’ll give it a go!

  10. Silk Flower Arrangements says:

    Genius! They’re beautiful! I particularly love the idea of putting your gorgeous large fluffy flowers on the ready made stems of inexpensive dollar store plastic flowers. Thank you for the great tutorial.

  11. For the outdoor flowers, have you ever tried the thin party tablecloths that are plastic? They come in a variety of colors.

  12. Couldn’t you do this same thing with plastic table cover? That would fare well outdoors and be “fluffy” like tissue paper. Might have to maintain it after a rain storm, but it seems like it should work.

  13. Ace hardware has a new spray product that makes any material waterproof. It works very well. Sorry I can’t remember the name, but should be easy to find. It does wear off and you have to re-spray. I use it on outdoor cushions.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Wanda – Does Ace make the one you use or are you using the one by Rustoleum called NeverWet? It has gotten good reviews and hearing that you like and use it makes me eager to try it.

  14. Yvonne @ StoneGable says:

    Diane, What a brilliant idea! I really could not tell they were tissue! Beautiful! I’ll have to try my hand at these! Thanks so much for teaching us!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Yvonne – I move my bouquet to different rooms of the house. They always fill a space nicely and no water needed :) With all the colors of tissue paper available the possibilities are endless.

  15. wow those flowers are amazing & thanks too

  16. Back in the ’60s we made flowers just like these instructions.
    At the end we would spray them with hair spray. This made the petals translucent and fragile looking.
    Thanks for the reminder of a very good craft.

  17. Debbie @ Deliciously Inspired says:

    Sharing this on my blog tomorrow. Thanks.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Debbie XO

  18. Jann Olson says:

    Just found your blog. Love these flowers! Thanks so much for sharing. Happy to be a new follower.

  19. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I love this one….. and I have learned how to pay attention and have done well with making them. Now to get Sugar The Maine Coon from shredding them and I will be in like flint.

    I especially love the transoms you made with the door mirror…. fabulous, just fabulous.

  20. Stephanie says:

    LOVE THIS! I have some cheepo flowers that I am going to repurpose to make some of these! They would be perfect on my desk!

  21. These flowers are great! I don’t have a lot of decor/accents in my home. I should try something easy and affordable like this. Also, I follow Aunt Peaches, so I was like OH I KNOW HER when I read this post. :)

  22. Debbie @ Deliciously Inspired says:

    Hi Diane,
    Your flower arrangement is gorgeous and I had no idea they were tissue paper. The tutorial is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us. I have placed your blog in the area of my blog – Blogs That Inspire Me because you do.
    Funny – I just came back from the Dollar Store with a bunch of flowers to replace in two hanging containers in an area of my backyard. You can’t go wrong with the price compared to what you could spend at a craft store. I’m done this for years and find that I can get several years from $10.00 and no one really notices that they are fake and I’m fine with that since I really just want the pop of color.

  23. Elizabeth @ Real Inspired says:

    I love this! I too cannot spend money on flowers that will just die in a week or two. This is perfect and they look so real! Definitely have to do this soon.

  24. Sarah @ Blog Guidebook says:

    Great post…I recently bought an expensive fake peonie arrangement, but had to return because the vase was cracked. Now I’m going to make my own peonies…I found a plastic tablecloth for 1.99 at Hobby Lobby in a brilliant shade of hot pink. These’ll be great outdoors too…yay for faux!

  25. I think these are beautiful, I can’t wait to try them. I’ve spent a lot of time on this site and you are truly one of the most creative, imaginative and frugal (which I truly love) bloggers out there (at least that I’ve come across). Also, your photographs are exceptional.

    Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas – They inspire me!

    1. Hi Jo-Ann
      Thanks so much. I truly appreciate you taking the time to tell me that you have found inspiration in my posts. I am thrilled that you like my photos, too. I am trying hard to learn as much as I can about my camera and taking the bests shots I can. I still have lots to learn. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  26. Screendoorgirl 3 says:

    P.S . I found this post through Pinterest FYI…

  27. Screendoorgirl 3 says:

    These are gorgeous, I can’t wait to try them. Thanks!

  28. Here is a trick I learned a long time ago! I brought a bush of white carnations at my local craft store. when I need a flower fix, I just cut some greens from the yard to fill it out or buy some real flowers (a much smaller bunch) to add! People are always amazed at the flowers at my house – if they only knew.

  29. What about vinyl tablecloths made into flowers? They come in a plethora of colors… And can be left outside.

  30. Thanks for the tutorial, this was exactly what I needed for my living room vase. You are so creative and wonderful, thanks!

  31. Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl says:

    Hey, awesome idea Diane! I love how you just ripped apart those dollar store blooms to make something a lot more attractive ;-). Have you shared this with Heather at Dollar Store Crafts?!

    Thanks for joining the DIY Talent Parade!

  32. I am sooo doing this Diane! Thank you showing how great it will look! When we moved to our new house I left behind a huge hydranga plant and several peonies. I will have to waitl years before the little ones I pelanted last Fall give me a show. Missed your blog, we’ve been without internet for five months.

  33. Ashlyn@Pinecone says:

    What a great idea!! I have to say a beautiful peony is my favorite flower – and what a perfect way to get the look – you are a genius ; )

  34. Michele D says:

    I’ve read several of your posts now and I know you don’t have much choice but to be very frugal at the moment with your creations. I think it may be a blessing in disguise as your creativity shines through and I seriously love your ideas. You are able to create beautiful things fairly easily and with little money. You are a blessing to many people who look for these ideas. You would not guess that these things are inexpensive. It could easily go the other way if someone did not have your creative ability, but look at what you are able to teach everyone. I am about finished in one of my girls rooms and I used your balloon shade idea with a $5 fitted white sheet, adding ribbons ($2 florist ribbon was cheaper). Everyone loves it.

    I will continue to read your blog regularly. Thank you for such great ideas that we can all do.


  35. I have also made these flowers using wax paper and parchment paper . Using different types of paper adds another dimension to the flowers when used in an arrangement .

  36. I LOVE IT!!!!! They are sooo beautiful! Thank you!

  37. Hi, Diane

    What a super great idea. The flowers turned out lovely.


  38. How about Wax paper or coloured plastic wrap for those outdoor flowers?

  39. Hi Diane,

    This is such a clever, thrifty idea! I would never have thought they were tissue paper. Thanks for sharing :)

    Linking up from the Sunday Showcase.

  40. You are an master at turning the ordinary into extroadinary. I too, am not a fan of succulants – rather have the real flowers – but in these economic times – not doable for me right now. Thank you for sharing your lovely white flowers!

  41. How clever! I love it and plan to try this! They look like big, beautiful white hydrangeas! Thank you for sharing!

  42. We have an Herbal Society. They have a plant exchange in the spring. Perhaps your area does this too. It is a good way to try new things.

  43. Wonderful post!! As for an outdoor idea… Have you thought of trying plastic bags in the same way you use the tissue paper? Just a thought;) not sure if it would look right, but it would be durable.

  44. What an awesome idea, this looks beautiful!!! I love having flowers around too, and this is such a great alternative to fresh cut flowers! LOVE IT!

  45. melinda ke says:

    I can’t believe how fluffy and realistic they look…for only $4.00!!! Super Cute!

  46. Lucy Designs says:

    those are just lovely!…thanks for sharing the how to

  47. Really well done! You can’t even tell that they are fake. I am also gardening on the cheap since my husband is going through a career change and money is short. Maybe you could buy a few packets of seeds to direct sow and grow some flowers that way…..much cheaper than the flats! I am buying spring annuals in a few weeks only compliments of my sister giving me a garden center gift card for Christmas. : )

  48. SouthernScraps says:

    These are gorgeous! I love how you added the fake stems to them.

  49. Rita@thissortaoldlife says:

    Diane, I so appreciate your candor in this post. My first response to it was: Why make fake flowers? Because I tend not to like things that are faux. But I kept reading, and quickly felt ashamed at my judgmental stance. Which is all the more appalling as I myself have had to make some major life changes as the result of reduced employment in the last year.

    This post is a great reminder to me of several things: 1. Don’t judge. We so often never know the whole story of something. 2. Necessity is the mother of invention. As I kept reading, I realized that your flowers are not pale substitutes of some real thing. They are their own thing (just as a rendering of flowers in paint is its own thing.) And yours are gorgeous. I doubt I could ever make such beautiful flowers (though you’ve certainly given me all the info I need to try!).

    Thank you so much for teaching me about several things through this post.

  50. Where did your beautiful Lighting fixture come from?

  51. Plant flower seeds in the planter, under 2.00 for a pack and put the whole pack in there.

  52. Diane, these paper flowers are lovely. You really have a flair for florals! I bought a plant half price at Hobby Lobby yesterday so I could make a topiary like your wispy one… If I am successful, I may post it and credit you with a link to your post if that’s ok!

    1. I wish I had a Hobby Lobby near me.I have never been to one, but hear so many great things about the store. I hope you have success and please let me know if your post it. I would love to see. XO

  53. Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs says:

    I too was going to suggest a topiary like you made before. But why not just get some dollar store colorful flowers till the real ones are ready? I use them in our outdoor large planters …till it warms up enough to put in the real ones. What I do is buy a “bunch” of flowers and then cut them apart into single stems. That way you can “arrange” them in the pot more like real ones would grow. Add in some extra greenery and it’ll look pretty real..for now. I LOVE your paper flowers! I may have to make these…we used to make some very similar to these in grade school too.

    1. Hi Connie – Thanks for the idea. When my girls were little we lived in NJ and there was a big beautiful Victorian on the main street with flowers all over – hanging baskets, beds, etc. We lived there for years before I found out that all the flowers were fake. She bought new ones every year, just like you would buy annuals every Spring. She just didn’t want to have to water and care for them daily. She tweaked them and had a good eye to arranging them so they looked realistic. It still amazes me when I think about it.

  54. Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating says:

    Oh wow…LOVE those paper hydrangeas! Beautifully done.

    1. Thanks Kristi. They are so easy to make and tissue paper is so inexpensive – I think I will be making more in lots of colors.

  55. Well, aren’t you crafty?! So pretty!

  56. Soooooo pretty, Diane! I love these!!! So fluffy and frilly! You are such a clever gal! As far as your urn goes… about making one of your darling topiaries in a larger size and putting it in there…???

    xoxo laurie

    1. Hi Laurie – That is a very good idea. I may even have a base as I made an outdoor topiary for a Christmas decoration when we first moved into this house. I will have to search in my attic for the base. Thanks for the idea, XO

  57. I completely agree with you about the terrariums, I have tried and I just cant make myself like them. Not my thing… however DIY flowers- def my thang!!! Love it… thanks for the tut!!!

  58. Debbie refreshrestyle says:

    Diane, those are awesome! Love them!

  59. Amanda @ Serenity Now says:

    Hi, Diane! I love this post (would like to feature it this weekend). :) I’ve never thought about ways to dress up Dollar Store flowers before…who knew?! ;) I was wondering if you’d mind updating the link to my blog at the bottom of your post (it’s incorrect)? It’s

    Have a wonderful weekend! :)

  60. Lindy @ Veni Vidi Scrappy says:

    Diane…they are absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I must try this!

  61. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    I love paper flowers, Diane, they bring me back to some nice childhood memories. I’m planning on making some paper pom poms soon, but I will be keeping your flower directions in mind.

  62. I love love love these flowers. I gotta give this a shot. Thanks for sharing!

  63. Sheryll & Critters. says:


    You are just so genius. I am not (found out) that crafty. I attempted the tissue flowers first time for Valentine’s Day and that cute container you taught us to make. I did not do well, but I am better now. The first try was a no go… I think I made it too thick or full. I am getting better and plan to keep trying till mine look at least close to as good as these you have done. Getting better is good, ……. sure it is. My first try was a bit sad, but this one is much better. I maybe don’t listen close enough also. It pays to pay attention to what you tell us.