How To: $20 DIY Paper Flower Wedding Backdrop

The super, super easy version

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I’ve developed a pattern for whenever I see something really cool online. First, I ogle. Then I obsess. Then I spend hours (and I mean hours) trying to figure out a way to replicate it at a fraction of the cost. I think it goes that way with a lot of wedding planning. So much of what you see on Pinterest and wedding blogs is stunning, but is either impossible to replicate (for lack of time or skill) or too cost prohibitive to be realistic. And while that can often be very frustrating, not being able to replicate something exactly also frees you up to be more creative in how you interpret an idea. (I mean, everyone knows the best challenge on Project Runway is the unconventional materials challenge.)

So when we had the opportunity to work with HP using their new all-in-one desktop, the Sprout by HP (which features an overhead camera that can scan 3D objects, and a touchmat that lets you move things around in real time with the power of your fingers), we wanted to use it to try and solve some of the problems that come up when you have a cool idea, but have basically zero dollars to bring it to life. Case in point: this amazing floral backdrop. As we’ve shown before, flowers, when used en masse, can make for really cool ceremony and reception backdrops. But even the cheap flowers cost money (and fake ones are always so much more expensive than you think). So armed with the HP Sprout and the help of designer Tabitha from Winston & Main, we set out to create a paper flower wedding backdrop that would as cool as the real thing in photos, but cost (almost) no money (the total for this bad boy is about $20, all in).

To start, we scanned some of the wedding industry’s more expensive flowers (cough, peonies.)

Since the Sprout makes it super easy to duplicate items and create patterns, Tabitha was able to scan a bunch of different flowers, from peonies to greenery, meaning you can copy our design exactly, or mix and match flowers for a backdrop featuring only your favorite flowers. For the complete set of flower scans, you’ll want to download our PDF here, which will look something like this:

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Here’s what you’ll need for the rest of the tutorial:

Total Cost: Around $20, assuming you have a pair of scissors at your house.

Time To Make: 3–5 Hours, but does not need to be done all at once, and can be done way in advance of your wedding.

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Directions:

1. Download and print the PDFs on heavy cardstock. You’ll need to print forty pages of flowers to cover an approximately five-by-seven foot space (I know that probably sounds like a lot, but most pages have only one-to-three flowers on them. If you want to keep things simple, stick with a backdrop of just one kind of flower, and forgo the dantier ones, which take more time cutting.)

2. Cut out the flowers while watching bad TV. For reference, it took Tabitha about three hours to cut the flowers for this tutorial, without any help. Add a friend and you could get it done in the span of Dirty Dancing.

3. Tape flowers to wall by rolling a little piece of blue painters tape and attaching to the back of the flower (Note: This is important. Washi tape is purely decorative, so give yourself something more substantial to work with when affixing your flowers or you’ll spend the whole night picking them up. If rolling painters tape feels like too much of a hassle, double-sided tape should work just as well. Just make sure whatever you’re using won’t affect the walls of your venue.)

4. Add a piece of gold washi tape to the stem for decoration.

Final Shot

Depending on how big you go with your backdrop, this project can be time-consuming (though it’s nothing that binge-watching an afternoon of The Mindy Project can’t fix). That said, the process itself is super easy. Pro tip: if you plan on putting your flowers on a white backdrop (like a white wall or painted plywood, for example), there’s no need to be meticulous in your cutting, since the white edges aren’t going to show. If you don’t have a wall you can hang these on, steal the idea from our hanging carnation backdrop and string the flowers from a ready-made arch. And you don’t have to limit yourself to a backdrop, either. Other uses for flower scans might include:

  • Escort Cards
  • Table-settings
  • Table Numbers (Decoupage a peony on a block of wood and you’ve got a cool, minimal centerpiece.)
  • Making your office look nice (At least, that’s what I’m planning on doing with this tutorial.)

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A few extra tips from Tabitha herself:

1. Don’t be a perfectionist. Flowers are organic shapes and it’s okay if they all turn out a little different. Be lazy and cut quickly.

2. Don’t be afraid to leave some white, especially on the smaller flowers—on the berries and greens I cut out what was easy and left the rest white.

3. This will go up (and come down) in a flash if you work with a friend. The first person can roll the painters tape and stick the flowers to the wall, and the second person can follow behind adding the washi tape to the stems.

4. Washi tape should come off easily without taking the paint with it. However if you leave this up in a sunny spot for a long time (weeks, months) that might not be the case.

Bonus: For the #lazygirls in the house who like the look of this project, but don’t want to be bothered with cutting and taping (or who can’t put things on the walls in their venue), we turned this pattern into fabric (or wallpaper!) on Spoonflower. I think it would make for a killer photobooth backdrop

Are there any cost-prohibitive materials you want to use for your wedding but can’t figure a way around? let us know and we might work them into a future tutorial!

This post was sponsored by the new Sprout by HP. Thanks HP for helping make the APW mission possible!

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