Roses Made From Brown Paper Bags
I love artificial flowers made from paper. They are so stylized, they are more of an art piece than just fake flowers. The fact that they are obviously not real makes them glorious. One of my favorite flowers to make are giant cabbage roses made from brown paper bags. They are so dramatic, and they’re really fun to make. And no one would believe they’re actually made from lunch bags.
Start with some lunch-sized brown paper bags. They’re sold in packs at the grocery store.
And grab some bottles of Rit Dye. You don’t have to color your roses, but the dye gives them a gorgeous quality. For these roses I chose red for the roses and green for the sepals. I’ve also used yellow and purple in the past, and both colors turned out beautifully.
Place the paper bags one at a time in the dye bath. I just estimated the amount of dye to water — about 1 part dye and 2 parts water. The bags at first resist taking on the color. The key is to break down the fibers of the paper. I do that by scrunching the bags over and over again. I saturate each bag in the dye, squeeze, soak it again, squeeze, soak it again and squeeze. All that squeezing breaks down the paper and relaxes it, and the dye takes. (Oh, rubber gloves are your best friend here.)
Lay the paper bags out on plastic covering to dry overnight. When the bags are wet with dye, the color will not look very good. Green and purple look like black when they are wet. But when they’re dry, the color looks like it should. (Yeah, I know those bags look like meat from the butcher’s shop.)
For each rose, you’ll need 4 bags of the color of your choice, and 1 bag that’s green. You’ve heard of double bagging. You will be “quintuple” bagging, with the green bag on the outside and the four red bags on the inside.
Twist the bags together tightly so you have what looks like a handle. It’s starting to look like a rose, or at least the torch that the Statue of Liberty holds. Peel back the green bag. Tear it in a few places, and it looks like the sepals of the rose.
Then peel back the red bags one at a time starting from the outside in.You can leave the layers as is or tear them to create petals. And just as the inner petals of real roses are more closed, keep the innermost red bag scrunched up. You’ll also notice as you’re unpeeling the bags that sometimes there are spots on the bags that did not get thoroughly dyed. That’s okay. The roses look kind of cool with variegated petals.
Make several roses, and put them in a vase for an impressive display.
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