How to Make Foam Flowers (Step-by-Step Instructions)
Create Flowers With Foam Sheets
Those are not real flowers. They are not plastic flowers either. These flowers are made of foam! Yes, those sheets of foam you can find in craft stores. With this material, you can create flowers that are almost realistic. Since foam doesn't have a shiny look like plastic, it gives more of an impression that fake flowers are real.
The trick of it is not really difficult: You just form the contours using heat. No need for machines or expensive gadgets—just use the same iron you use for smoothing the creases in your shirt. You can also add character like the lines, grooves and folds of a real flower through a coloring technique. With paint, you can copy the colors and patterns of a real flower.
Follow along and join me as I describe how to make these flowers. I learned this craft from my sister-in-law. She had formal training to learn how to make several different flower patterns, and she was so kind to have spent time teaching me for free—I literally could not wait until I made my own. I am sure that now your energy is up and you too are ready to learn how to make these real-looking flowers!
How to Choose the Right Foam for Your Project
Foam comes in different thicknesses and colors. When looking for this item online, try searching for "foam sheets" or "foam paper."
- Foam Paper vs. Foam Sheets: You will find the A4 size of foam paper in different levels of thickness—it ranges from 2mm to 5mm. If you are going to make only few flowers, then it would be fine to buy foam papers, but if you want to make a bigger project, it's more cost-efficient to buy foam sheets. A sheet is 12" x 18". It is a hassle to ship this if you're buying fewer than ten sheets, so if that's the case, you may want to buy your sheets in a physical store rather than online.
- Thickness: For tiny flowers, it is best to use the thinnest foam sheet. So, needless to say, you have to use the thickest sheet if you're planning to make flowers with big petals. In fact, if you want to make really big flowers, you might need to reinforce the petals with a floral wire to give you more flexibility in forming it to desired shapes (and to make the petals more sturdy and not saggy).
- Color: I prefer the light shades, if not the white one. Cream, light pink and lavender are my top picks. Why? They offer more flexibility in the painting stage and give a more beautiful result. I simply love the contrast. If you don't like to paint and add coloring, go for dark red, purple and other bold and dark colors.
Other Materials You'll Need
Other than foam, the main things you need are:
- Clothes iron
- Oil paint or poster paint (poster paint may fade, though)
- Pattern (you can make your own pattern)
- Crafting scissors
- Pencil (0.5 mm or 0.3mm) or friction pen
- Floral wires and floral tapes
- Glue gun
Foam Flowers Make Great (and Affordable) Holiday Decor
It'll surely cut costs if you make your own holiday decorations with these techniques. Simply add glitter and colors like green, gold and red, and you'll have stunning pieces of Christmas flower decor.
Step 1: Make (or Print) Paper Templates
Make some petal flower patterns on paper. I sometimes use real flower petals. This may result in a messy workspace, but at least you're sure that you'll be using the pattern of a real flower.
If you don't want to make your own templates, there are some craft lovers who are generous enough to post their templates for free. You can print these templates and skip straight to Step 2.
Step 2: Cut the Templates Out
If you're cutting out petals with intricate patterns, it's best to make use of a pair of crafting scissors—the slim and sharp kind. A slim shape works best when cutting around curves!
Step 3: Trace and Cut Templates on Foam
Place your template on the surface of the foam and trace it. It's best to use with a 0.5 mm or 0.3mm pencil so that you won't have to worry about any trace of an outline later on.
If you have problem seeing the light pencil lines as you're cutting, you can use a ballpoint pen called a friction pen. The lines you make using this pen can be erased!
Remember cut out the foam shapes following the same guidelines as in Step 2.
Step 4: Color the Foam Shapes
Coloring foam requires a special technique. The secret is using a sponge—just like the kind you use for washing dishes. Use about a one-inch square.
- Dip your sponge in oil paint.
- Hold the sponge firmly with your thumb and pointer finger.
- Make swift "wiping" strokes.
This technique will create a gradient color effect!
Step 5: Heat and Shape Your Flowers
Heat your flower by carefully putting it on the back of a hot iron. It will take few seconds to get the required heat for forming, but be careful not to overheat it!
Sculpting the flower could be a bit tricky. You have to shape it while it is still hot. This requires extra care—avoid getting burned.
A Note About Safety: If you're doing this craft with your child, be sure to help her realize that this step could hurt her if she is not careful. My daughter loves making foam flowers with me and she is always fascinated with this step. But she knows that the foam is hot, and I do not allow her to do this step (not now, anyway—perhaps when she is older).
Step 6: Add Floral Wire
Stick the petals onto a floral wire with a glue gun. This is just like what you do when making paper flowers—you stick the petals onto a wire using a glue gun and glue stick.
Looking for Inspiration? Here Are Some Sample Projects You Can Do
Up for the challenge? Try making one of these!
- Basket of Flowers: This is really cute and one of my favorites.
- Sunflower Clock: The clock is about one foot in diameter.
- Large Display: This took several weeks of work, but it was worth the time spent. (Yes, it will take all your spare time, but in the end, you will love the result.) Choose a white foam sheet. Color your cutouts piece by piece. You will be needing white, yellow, pink and green oil paint.
- Bunch of Roses: This is smaller than the large display, but it will still take some time to complete because you'll have to assemble roses, which require more petals per flower.
- Rose Wreath: You can do this project together with the bunch of roses. The techniques required are the same.
- Simple Vase: This was my very first foam flower project.