Thursday, March 30, 2017

Quick n' Dirty Coffee Filter Flowers

Hello, all. It's time for a new quick n' dirty tutorial: Coffee Filter Flowers!

These are a great bang for your buck. Super cheap, really easy, nearly fool-proof, and suitable for displaying in actual grown-up inhabited rooms.

Here's what you need:

* Basket style coffee filters (3 per flower)
* Pipe cleaners, green or brown
* Pencil
* Scissors

And here's how it's done

1) Flatten your stack of coffee filters. Then fold in half, half again, and once more so that your circle is divided into eights.

2) Place your filters on the table with the point down. With a pencil, draw an arc from one corner, down to the center of the paper, and then arc back up to the opposite corner. Don't obsess over this: "good enough" is very nearly as good as "perfect." Also, after you have made a few flowers, you may not find it necessary to draw this guideline any more!

3) Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut along your line, making sure to keep just under it so that it will not show on your finished flower.

4) Open up your paper and admire the pretty petals you've cut.

5) Rotate your circles so the petals are slightly offset. Keeping them aligned, take your pipe cleaner and poke a hole in the exact center of the filters from the bottom side. Push it through about half an inch, and curl the end a bit to make it hard for the flower to slip off.

6) This last bit seems like it might be tricky, but you'll be surprised how easy it really is. Gently crumple your circles into a flower shape, twisting them together fairly tightly at the stem end. Use your fingers to fluff out the petals.

7) Finally, bend the pipe cleaner up and wrap it tightly around the bottom of your flower to bind it in place.

That's it! You've made a coffee filter flower!
Now, make a dozen more and display them in a pretty vase - or a mason jar!

Oh, so white flowers are getting a bit boring? 
One of the major advantages of coffee filters are how easy they are to dye.
At this point the project gets a little less quick, and rather more dirty. It's still not a major time investment, but you do have to let your filters dry out in the hot sun for a couple of hours, or overnight if you're stuck indoors.

Before you start, make sure your work surface is protected, and that you have a safe spot to dry your filters after dying.

You have all sorts of options for dye, but the absolute cheapest is Kool-Aid. That's right: those little packets that go 10 for a dollar at the grocery store are mostly food coloring!

My favorite way to dye is to mix about 1/3 of a packet of Kool-Aid in about 1/4 cup of water in a small, tall bowl or a drinking glass. (This Kool-Aid was orange, and as an added benefit the yellow and red separate out a bit as it creeps up the filter.)
Take a stack of 6-8 filters and very roughly fold into quarters. Place the point in the dye and allow it to creep up for several minutes. Carefully remove it, allow the drips to fall back into the dye dish, and spread the filters out on a cookie sheet to dry (or hang on your clothes line if weather permits!)
Alternately, dip the wide end of the filters into the dye to make a flower with the edges rather than the center of the petals colored.

You can also use a wide, shallow bowl for dye and entirely submerge a stack of flattened filters.
Finally, you can even use felt tip markers to color the centers or edges of a filter, and then drip or spray a little water to make the colors run and spread.

Other options for dye include standard food coloring, or even brewed tea or coffee.

Just remember to let the filters dry Entirely before using them to create a bouquet!

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