Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cherry Blossoms

I wasn't sure about posting this at first--  it's nothing but complete and utter craftiness.  But after having so much fun making these tissue paper cherry blossoms,  I decided to share.  Plus I had super fun taking photos (can you tell my by choice of adjectives that I'm around kids all day?).  I've been trying to up my photo taking game and played around with some of my camera's settings.   And what's more spring-y than a cherry blossom?  We have a weeping cherry in our front yard and it was gorgeous a few weeks ago, though the blossoms didn't last very long this year.

I did a quick art lesson with my fourth graders the other day where we made these sumi-e style cherry blossom bookmarks (below).  I did not come up with this art project.  I'm on a group wisdom email list with other art teachers and all sorts of projects and inspiration get passed around from time to time.  This project came in my inbox after the recent earthquake.  I decided to use it because the end result is so beautiful and I think it's nice to have students be a little more socially aware of what's going on in the world.  We talked about the recent earthquake and tsunami, about how families in Japan are just like our families and still picking up the pieces.  Just trying to promote a little empathy.  And get this-- during the class we had an earthquake drill.  What are the chances?  It was great for more discussion.


I'll be brief about the art lesson.  We dropped a few big droplets of very liquid black watercolor on a nice piece of gray paper.  Then, we used a straw to blow the paint in to an organic line.  Quite amusing from the teacher's standpoint.   

Then we used a little bit of red, white and yellow watercolor for the blossoms.  I prefer tube watercolors over pan watercolors.  We actually just sort of stamped with the side of the paint brush.   They all end up lovely, no matter what.

We made a few- some were taken home as Mother's Day treasures and some were given to PTA volunteers for their yearly volunteer appreciation dinner.  Now here's the part I did come up with.  I decided that a cherry blossom centerpiece would look nice on each table at the dinner but, alas, no more cherry blossoms in my yard.  I ended up making some from a few things I had around the art room; tissue paper, copy paper and pipe cleaners.

Here's what I did, though you can probably make it out from the photos.  I cut circles from hot pink, light pink and yellow tissue paper.  The yellow circles are fringed around the edges to mimic the center of a cherry blossom.  I also cut some small circles from red copy paper to use a stopper on the pipe cleaners.

Twist pipe cleaners together to make the branch.

I layered a couple of hot pink circles, two or three light pink circles and one yellow circle to make each blossom.  I like it better when they are not perfect circles.

Push a stopper circle on the end of a pipe cleaner- just keeps the blossom in place.

Push the tissue paper circles on and fold over the end of the pipe cleaner.

And then squish the whole thing.


Put some place pretty and enjoy.
The concept would probably work with fabric, too.  Hmmmm....


  1. I'm a teacher too, and I've been looking for a Mother's Day craft and I love those bookmarks! I happen to love cherry blossoms, so I think that'll be a great gift.

  2. What a cool idea! Isn't it funny how you sometimes work with one object or motif, and get ideas about how to use it in other mediums? I prefer tube watercolors, too.

    I bet this would be ravishing in silk.. If I weren't neck deep in jackets I'd vliesofix two layers each of dark pink, pink, and yellow, then do exactly what you did with the tissue paper... Maybe using wire of some sort...

    Sigh. If only I weren't already in the middle of jackets and drafting pants for 25 students.

  3. Incredibly pretty and they look so real! I couldn't believe reading your post that those aren't real flowers! beautiful arrangement and presentation!

  4. I do love cherry blossoms - reminds us all that oink can be so pretty. Lovely cards. Nice photography too.

  5. 'pink' not 'oink' (that is a funny typo!)

  6. Stephanie- I hope you can use it! They all really do come out beautiful. Mistakes end up happy accidents.

    Steph- That sounds lovely. I was thinking you could iron when you scrunch to hold the shape. And drafting pants for 25? Yikes.

    Magda- Thanks! I was tickled with how they turned out. I think they are pretty close to real ones.

    Bernice- Thanks so much! And that is a funny typo :)

  7. Very pretty, this really would be a great mother's day craft! :)

  8. These projects are both beautiful, and a great idea for Mothers Day. I wish my children still brought home lovely things like this! And just know, the mothers of your students DO appreciate these things...

  9. These are so beautiful!

  10. They are gorgeous! (I, too, thought they were real at first) I love the bookmarks, too.

    I wish there were cherry trees here... they're so beautiful in photos.

  11. Ah! this is such a good idea. I love it!

  12. Just yesterday me and my boyfriend cleaned our whole apartment and made some redecorating. It tuned out to be kinda.. asian/oriental in the livingroom and im so happy about it. I love everyhting bohemian and etnic! And if theres something I love more its cherry blossoms! Really need to make my own of your lovely idea. oh oh oh!

    Kajsa - www.aenigma.se

  13. These are beautiful. Wonderful project.