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Top Five Finds at the NEC – Flowers for £1

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Paper flowers are extremely popular in the crafting world, there is no doubt about it. They come in all shapes and sizes, colours galore and in honesty – I love ’em. But when I stop to think about it, it wasn’t always this way. Even within my crafting years, I’ve noticed a great gap the market be filled by these simple little embellishments that now make up an essential part of every crafters stash.

Reminiscing : mini stemmed flowers

It’s true. When I started crafting, paper flowers weren’t as readily available as nowadays. Shops would sell the miniature stemmed flowers, perfect for wedding jewellery and cakes. Most were pretty, but I found these products a little frustrating. Some were made from polymer clay, and therefore would be very dimensional. This of course had its appeal, but lacked functionality, especially when using them on cards which were to be posted. In most cases, the fragile petals would break off or crack before it even reached the recipient. The paper versions of these mini stemmed flowers were much more manageable, but there was still the problem of sticking them to the card. Many brides would like the idea of incorporating these little flowers onto wedding stationary, but due to the thin fragile nature of the stem, and the weight of the flower, they would sometimes fall off the card. I did some research, some worked good enough with glue dots, others worked better with an adhesive such as Anita’s tacky glue, which has a flexible agent in it. My discovery was that the only sure fire way of securing them in place with 100% certainty would be to sew them on. I tried this a few times, and it worked a treat, but when faced with making 100+ wedding invitations, this task would be a little too time consuming.

Paper punches

Then of course there were/are paper punches. Many of these come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and this is a great way to offer crafters the flexibility of choosing their own colour for their flowers. In addition to this, punches can be used on a variety of different materials – plain and simple paper and cardstock of course, metal, silk straw or mulberry paper, embossed paper, pearlescent paper, mirror card… you certainly have the freedom to experiment. However, one thing which could be frustrating is that punches with intricate detail sometimes will not punch cleanly through certain papers and cards. Nevertheless, I would say that most crafters still have flower punches in their stash and are proud of it. Using punched flowers are often more appealing because they are flat, easily mailed, are not overly fragile, and yet can be layered up to create even the most beautiful 3D designs. And a tip for everyone who likes to use punches – if the punch is not cutting as well as it used to, it is usually due to the edges becoming blunt. These can be sharpened by punching through a thin sheet of metal paper a few times. If you can’t get your hands on this in a craft shop, just use a (clean) takeaway container, or other disposable foil tin (perfect excuse to go and buy an apple pie).

Pre Punched Paper Flowers

These are all the rage now. Easy, elegant, exquisite not to mention cost effective and the range of shapes, styles, colours, patterns and textures are so varied that you are sure to be able to find a flower to compliment any design imaginable. From memory, I believe it was Prima that first introduced this trend to the craft market in a big way. I know that my first purchase of pre punched paper flowers was a pretty bottle full of pink blossoms. I can’t remember how much it was, but I do remember thinking that it was a little expensive for ‘just flowers’. Roughly 5 years later, I still loads left despite being one of the most used items in my craft room.

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So I can’t really complain, but one thing I do wish is that the flowers weren’t all pink, and weren’t all the same size. It seems that most crafters had the same thoughts as I did, as now it is easy to find bottles, boxes, bags and packets of paper flowers which offer the variety we want.

And so I must admit that flowers are one type of embellishments that I never seem to have enough of. No matter if I have hundreds at home (I literally must have easily a couple of hundred), every new packet I see for sale, I instantly want them! Thankfully I have learned to suppress my purchasing urges to a degree for the sake of my bank balance, ensuring that I rationalise the compatibility of the colours, styles and value for money before buying.

Flowers for £1

And so the reason behind all my reminiscing is due to one of my top five finds at the NEC last week. One of the stalls were selling little packets of flowers for just £1.00. I’m always happy to find a bargain, and it makes me twice as excited when it is a crafty bargain. I bought two packs, and all in all got a total of 50 flowers – some plain, some patterned, some embossed, and even some which were glittered. I can’t wait to use them!

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