How To Make Veined Wafer Paper Peony Petals

Wafer paper peonies have so many options for customization… Whether opting for veined or unveined petals, wired or unwired centers, and with or without visible stamens, each variation is going to give you a nice result.

With so many peony types and various techniques for making them, discovering a style that is both pretty and easy to make should be easy.

how to make veined wafer paper petals

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wafer paper peony

Enhancing the peony’s realism can be achieved by veining its petals. However, you need to make sure that the petals stay flexible if you want the most realistic flower for your peonies cake.

For tips on how to make wafer paper flowers, read this article

How to make a wafer paper peony with veined petals.

To make this specific style of peony, you’ll need the following:

  • White or solid colored wafer paper that can be conditioned on one or both sides.
  • Wafer paper conditioner (made from water and glycerin.)
  • A template for the peony petals or cutters to trace to use for the shapes.
  • Scissors to cut out the petals.
  • A drying mat or flower former for the petals.
  • 1″ to 1.5″ styrofoam ball for the wired version.
  • 18 gauge floral wire for the wired version.
  • Vodka, water or wafer paper glue to stick the petals on.
  • Silicone flower veiner.
  • Shaped scissors to shape the petal edges (optional.)
  • Petal dusts to color the peony (optional.)

Shop for materials to make wafer paper flowers on Amazon:

wafer paper peony template

Start by cutting out the petals.

Get yourself a paper peonies template or trace around some peony petal cutters you have. If you’re feeling adventurous, cut them out freehand. Prep the petals in advance and stash them away until you’re ready to make the flower.

Make more petals than you think you’ll need. That way, if you make a mistake or decide to go big, you’ve got some extras.

Peonies thrive on petals, and having a bunch of them will give your flower that wow factor, even if you’re not sweating every little botanical detail.

The frilly, ruffled petals with the jagged edges are the most identifiable feature of the peony. Focus on capturing that, and people will easily recognize them as peonies, even if you take a few creative liberties.

Having a bunch of petals ready to go is your first step to nailing the peony look.

shaped scissors

cut out petals

Notch the petals with scissors if necessary.

Give those petal tips some character by using shaped scissors for a playful, uneven edge. You can get this effect while cutting them out initially, but I find it easier to do it afterward.

Grab a bunch of petals, cut them out quickly, and then shape them individually.

I went for the Bat Wings-shaped Fiskars scissors, but any design that adds little notches or curves to the petals will do the trick.

The key is finding scissors that let you notch out those irregular shapes for a unique touch.

cut out petals

veined petals

Use wafer paper conditioner to make some petals that are more flexible. (optional)

I like to prep some petals in advance with a bit more wafer paper conditioner.

It keeps them flexible for a longer time, but there’s a trade-off. They take longer to dry, and the veiner impression might not hold as well.

This formulation of glycerin wafer paper conditioner is potent stuff. Using it full strength is a bit bold, especially for flower petals. It’s fantastic for super-flexible petals, as the glycerin prevents them from drying out, but be cautious not to overdo it – too much can make them floppy.

For regular use, definitely dilute it!

If you decide to go full strength, coat just one side of the wafer paper and give it a good 24 hours to dry, maybe even more if you’ve laid it on thick.

These conditioned petals come in handy when you need them to be really flexible, shaping and manipulating them around each other.

wafer paper conditioner

veining the petals

dry individual petals

Using diluted conditioner, vein the petals and dry on a flower former or drying mat.

To vein the petals, dilute the full-strength conditioner, or make some from scratch using 1/8 tsp glycerin to 4 tsp water. You can adjust the glycerin amount up or down a little based on how humid it is in your area. 

Glycerin attracts moisture from the air, so the more humid it is, the longer it will take the petals to dry out and be ready for use.

Spray the petals gently on the top and midsection of the petal, while trying to avoid the little base area. Rub the glycerin in a little, and allow the moisture to sink into the paper. 

You’ll be able to see the paper bend a little as it softens, and it will develop teeny blistery-looking bumps that will be noticeable if you wait and watch it. When that happens you’ll be able to vein the paper using a silicone petal veiner.

If you try to press the paper too soon, the paper will tear, which is okay but not preferable. Give it a little time to soak in the conditioner and it will be easier to vein the petals. You can also put conditioner on 4-5 petals at a time and give the first ones time to soften as you’re spraying the last ones. 

By the time you’re done with the last ones the first one should be ready to press.

After pressing the petals in the veiner, place them on a petal drying mat, or in a curved apple crate with foil on it. 

The petals will take 10-20 minutes to dry out, depending on how heavily they were sprayed, and when they’re dry you can put them in a container to store before using them.

You’ll probably need 40-50 petals, depending on how ruffly you want the DIY wafer paper flower to be.

wiring a styrofoam ball

covering the ball with wafer paper

For the wired center, attach a wire to the center ball and cover with wafer paper.

The wired version of the flower is built on a round styrofoam bell center. I used a 1.5″ styrofoam ball and 18 gauge floral wire. 

I inserted the wire through the ball, then made a hook that was pulled into the top, then was bent at the bottom to anchor it against the ball. That way the wire won’t move and you don’t need to use hot glue or anything else to attach it, so they’re quick to make.

Wrap the ball in wafer paper and use vodka to attach it to itself to cover the ball and create a surface for the petal to stick to. You can use water if you don’t want to use the alcohol, but the vodka evaporates faster.

making the peony center

Starting at the top of the center, attach the petals.

Starting at the top and using the smallest petals, attach them to the top of the ball to cover the top. Continue wrapping the petals around the ball, making sure that the petals have the curved part facing into the ball so that the petals create a tight flower center. 

Start with the smallest petals, and attach them using vodka or water by painting the base of the petal and pressing them onto the center. Do a couple of rows with the smallest petals, then do a couple of rows with the second smallest. 

Increase the size of the petals as you continue around the flower center, always facing the petals curved side in toward the flower center.

adding petals to the peony

Keep attaching more petals, using larger ones as you go out.

As you start adding the larger petals, continue adding them with the curved side of the petals facing into the center so that they follow the shape of the blossom. 

The petals might not be super curved, but just choose whichever side of the petal seems to fit the flower the best.

Overlap the petals to fill in spaces and avoid visual gaps between rows of petals. If you do see a gap it’s fine to add a smaller petal into the mix to fill it in. 

Peonies are very ruffly and the petals aren’t perfect, so you can put one in that’s a different size to fill in gaps if you need to, don’t limit yourself to the larger ones.

adding petals to the peony

Attach the largest ones facing out.

When you get to the largest petals for the outer layer of the flower, you should attach these with the curve facing away from the flower. When the petals of a peony open up, they fall away from the flower, giving it a larger appearance. That’s what you’re trying to mimic with this layer.

Attach the petals by painting the base with vodka and holding the petal onto the flower until it sticks. If you have a petal that wants to stick out at a weird angle, or is too stiff to attach easily, you can always apply a little more conditioner, or dampen the problem section with vodka to make pieces of it flexible. 

Bend them into shape until the flower looks the way that you want it to.

trimming the petals

Adjust the petals if needed to keep the flower fairly symmetrical.

If any of the petals are too long, you can cut them with scissors to make the flower look more even. 

The finished flower can be placed on a cake, but don’t insert the wire stem directly into the cake. insert it into a coffee stirrer or a plastic straw to protect the cake from the wire!

wet the center piece

For the unwired flower, start with a wafer paper circle.

The unwired flower starts with a circle of wafer paper that will be used to build the layers of petals. Use a 2″ wafer paper circle and lightly spray it with vodka or water to make it sticky, then press a round of the largest petals onto the circle to make the base layer.

Vein the petals using the conditioning and veining method above before starting, to give them time to dry. 

You’ll need about 6 or 7 petals per layer, and smaller ones for the top of the flower, so plan on making about 50-60 petals to have a lot to use.

You may need to brush the petals with vodka on the base before pressing them if they’re stiff from drying after being conditioned. Make sure that the petals are securely attached to the disc. Add more vodka to the circle if needed.

adding first layer of petals

Start attaching petals to the circle using water or vodka.

The first row can be attached with any number of petals or size of wafer paper disc, depending on how big you want the finished flower to be. 

The larger it is, the more petals you’ll need, so make sure that you have enough. 

adding more petals

adding more petals

Keep layering petals working toward the inside of the flower.

As you create layers of petals, keep pressing them onto the center of the flower.  Move from the largest petals to the smaller sizes as you work your way up. 

As you add them, moisten the bases of the petals and press them onto the center part of the circle. This will start to form a little bowl shape as you work your way up.

adding more petals

adding more petals

Fill in the flower until it looks full enough.

The flower will form a little bowl shape as you get to the smallest petals. At that point, start filling in the center with the smallest petals by painting both sides of the petal bases and pressing them against the center section of the flower.

When the flower is completely filled in, you can either leave it as-is, or add a yellow stamen section to give it some color.

cutting the yellow wafer paper for the center of the flower

making the center

attaching the center to the flower

If you want to add a yellow center for the appearance, create and attach one.

For this flower you can leave it without a stamen showing, or you can add a small amount of stamen to give it a little bit of yellow peeking out. This adds a little realism, but it’s not 100% necessary!

If you want to add a stamen, you can make a wafer paper version by cutting a small strip of yellow wafer paper and making a little fringe, then rolling it up. 

Paint the base with vodka to attach it to itself, then press it onto the center of the flower and nestle it between the petals. add more petals is you want it to be covered by the petals and a little less obvious.

Trim the flower petals if you need to.

If you need to adjust the length of any petals that seem too long, just trim the with a regular pair of scissors, or with the shaped scissors to give them an irregular appearance.

wired and unwired wafer paper peonies

Veining the petals for wafer paper peonies is pretty easy, and it allows you to make a quick flower that will look really nice on a cake. 

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