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How to Make Foam Flowers (Step-by-Step Instructions)

Maribel loves creating arts and crafts. She usually customizes the gifts she gives for events or special occasions.

These simple tips will help you create realistic, beautiful flowers.

These simple tips will help you create realistic, beautiful flowers.

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!

The large display of flowers shown here took some time, but it was worth it.

The large display of flowers shown here took some time, but it was worth it.

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.
Different colors of foam sheets.

Different colors of foam sheets.

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)
  • Sponge
  • 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

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.

Sample pic of coloring

Sample pic of coloring

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.

  1. Dip your sponge in oil paint.
  2. Hold the sponge firmly with your thumb and pointer finger.
  3. 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.

Test Your Knowledge With This Foam Flower Making Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What should you use for coloring the petals and leaves?
    • Painting brush
    • Any brush
    • A sponge
  2. Heating the foam sheet will allow you to sculpt the petal or leaf cutout.
    • True
    • False

Answer Key

  1. A sponge
  2. True

Show me your flower-inspired spirit :)

Maribel Taleghani Asl (author) from Philippines on August 29, 2016:

Thank you for that but now, it makes me think of what these specifics thoughts are.

Essy on February 16, 2015:

Great common sense here. Wish I'd thuoght of that.

DavidMoses1986 on June 04, 2014:

nice lens :)

nonya222 on November 01, 2013:

WOW! Fantastic!!

SamanthaHaupt on August 19, 2013:

Great lens!

Socialpro54 LM on August 04, 2013:

Beautiful foam flowers! Nice lens!

Melanie Wilcox from Pennsylvania, USA on May 28, 2013:

Oh wow! They are beautiful, and they do look so real. Awesome lens and really magnificent work here. Thank you!

ConvenientCalendar on April 30, 2013:

The one looked like it took several months! Very crafty!

adragast24 on April 29, 2013:

These are amazing, really. I wish I was more crafty....

tfsherman lm on April 24, 2013:

Huh, foam flowers, who knew! I love making felt flowers, but these look beautiful!

jayavi on April 05, 2013:

nice decorations. so beautiful Thanks for sharing.

Elastara on March 24, 2013:

This is the first time I have heard of foam flowers and thanks for sharing this lens with us, otherwise I wouldn't know. They looks beautiful and they are decorative for home and even in offices.

MaryMitchell on March 19, 2013:

I would never have thought of using foam to make flowers, they look lovely - a great lens, thanks.

LilyBird on March 18, 2013:

These flowers are gorgeous. I really like the sunflower clock and that probably won't be my first project but I will give this a try. Thanks!

beaworkathomemom on March 17, 2013:

amazing lens. Foal flowers looks so real.

Chrystalia on March 13, 2013:

These are amazing! You certainly have an eye for details. I'm looking forward to the step by step--I am always looking for a new craft.

Takkhis on March 12, 2013:

Beautiful foam flowers! To be honest i did not have any idea of it but now i have. :)

Maribel Taleghani Asl (author) from Philippines on March 12, 2013:

@Titia: Thank you. I am preparing to make another lens on how to make these flowers. I'll take pictures each step.

Titia Geertman from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands on March 11, 2013:

Really nice, enjoyed my visit to your foam flowers.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on March 04, 2013:

Your foam flowers are beautiful!

Maribel Taleghani Asl (author) from Philippines on March 02, 2013:

@chi kung: Thanks for the feedback. I'll gladly change it.

chi kung on March 01, 2013:

I love your foam flowers! a little feedback: I wouldn't use black as a background color - it darkens the "mood" of the whole lense - but of course this is up to you :)