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I think it’s the little things that can get you. When you’re planning a wedding, you know you’re going to need things like a dress, a venue, an officiant, and probably things like a photographer and food. But what about all the odds n’ ends? That’s how this project to create a DIY paper flower guest book pen was born. Sure, you can buy a similar handmade pen for $10-$20 (though you can pay more if you’re determined). That’s not so bad, right? But what about all the other little things? A handful of under $20 purchases can add up fast to suddenly become a couple hundred dollars worth of expenses.
This pretty little pen is designed to save you from at least one of those “little things.” It’s a great complement to a fancy guestbook, or a good way to spruce up a more simple one. I included instructions for making your own paper flower, but you can just use a silk flower, instead, if you want something a little more formal. Either way, it’s quick, pretty easy, and a great way to save you a little bit of cash.
Of course, this pen isn’t useful just for weddings – it would work well for a shower, guest registry, or even as a way to make your work space a little sunnier. Here’s what you need:
Supplies for paper flower pen
- A pen (please see note below)
- 6″ square piece of cardstock or scrapbook paper
- 3-5 feet of ribbon, depending on its width. I recommend using 5/8″.
- Glue – hot glue or a quick-drying craft glue
- A lighter
When selecting a pen, you should look for one that is round and either has an end cap you can remove or is made from soft enough plastic that you can snip the end off. Most gel pens meet these requirements, but there are plenty of other inexpensive options.
With regards to the ribbon, I think it’s best to not cut it ahead of time. Simply work off the spool and then cut it when you need to. This saves you from wasting ribbon unnecessarily.
DIY paper flower pen
1. Begin by removing the end cap from your pen, as shown below.
2. Carefully melt your ribbon’s free end with a lighter to prevent it from fraying.
3. Fold the melted end under slightly then, using your hot glue or craft glue, glue it to the pen’s bottom so that the melted end is concealed. I like to glue the fold in place then make a single wrap of ribbon around the pen to completely cover the attachment point.
4. Continue wrapping the ribbon up the pen. You may need to practice wrapping several times in order to get the ribbon to lie fairly flat and look nice.
5. When you reach the pen’s top, cut the ribbon free from the spool, leaving an inch or so extra. Melt the exposed end, turn it under, wrap the remaining ribbon around the pen, and glue the ribbon in place.
6. Now that your pen is prepared, it’s time to make the flower! All you need for the time being is your 6″ square of paper and your scissors. Simply cut the paper in a large spiral. About three loops usually looks best – any more and the flower tends to look small and strange. If you make the edges slightly wavy, as shown, the flower will look more interesting and natural. You can trace the spiral with a pencil first, if you’d like, but it’s ultimately easier just to cut once you get the hang of it.
8. As you roll, try to keep the ends roughly even, rather than letting the it telescope out like this. Don’t do what’s in this photo!
Do make it look this photo:
9. Arrange the coils until you’re satisfied with how they look.
10. Fold the tail end of the coil to form a flat base and use your glue to glue a few of the coils down to help the flower hold its form. You’ll probably want to gently hold the flower in place until the glue is dry/cool.
11. Place a ring of glue around the top end of your pen.
12. Place your prepared flower on the glue and hold in place until the glue has set.
13. Enjoy your awesome new pen!
Of course, you don’t have to turn these flowers into decorative pens – you can just make them for table decoratoins.
Or, if you want to wrap a pen but use a silk flower, simply snip the flower off its stem near the flower’s base and glue it in place as you would the paper flower in step #12. Of course, you can add extra embellishments like more ribbons, lace, feathers, or rhinestones. It’s your pen, so do what you want!
If you’re looking for some nice paper, this Neenah cardstock is my new favorite. My paper flowers plans aren’t limited to pens – I’m actually working in a paper lei garland wedding arch. I had to find high-quality cardstock that wouldn’t break the bank, and this is where my experiments lead me:
What’s your favorite way to use paper flowers?