The Definitive Guide to Paper Rosettes

Spring is in the air!  Ok, well, at least the Christmas merchandise has been cleared from store shelves!  And, as promised, I’ve got a great craft for you to banish those winter blues and brighten your space a little.  

First, some background!  At Christmas I saw some lovely paper rosettes (some of you may call these pinwheels or fans) while out shopping.  I mean LOVELY!  And expensive.  They were similar to these:  Vintage Paper Rosettes.  But, I, as a general rule, do not purchase rosettes sold in stores for a multitude of reasons.  

  1. They are expensive for only a few.
  2. They are often made of tissue or wrapping paper and will not withstand the holiday/celebration, making them unusable more than once.
  3. They are often glued together and come apart, leaving a half hanging rosette on your wall.  
  4. They are usually too small for my purposes.  I don’t want to hang scrapbooking sized rosettes on my wall!
  5. And lastly, they are usually made in solid colors or drab patterns.  Now we wouldn’t be called the Colourful Teacup if we were interested in drab color schemes!  

For these reasons I purchased a paper fan and set about deconstructing it!  

Now, rosettes are usually made 1 of 2 ways.  Either they are folded like this:  


… a string tied around the middle, folded again in half, and then glued as so:  



Such a method is inadequate as it is nearly impossible to get that sucker tightly folded, which means you end up with gapping holes near the middle.  And, need I point out, it is glued and not likely to stay together for very long.  This is fine if you are working with tissue paper or wrapping paper, which, don’t get me wrong, could be gorgeous- but I’ve a 9 and 6 year old here! Wrapping paper is just not going to cut it!  No, I needed another method.  A more substantial method.

The second way a rosette is made is by sewing. Most expensive ones are sewed  by machines.  This is the method that I settled upon, although we are going to sew them by hand!  

Here’s the supplies you are going to need:  


  • Embroidery floss (you could also use fishing line)
  • 12 x 12 scrapbooking paper (I choose Imaginisce Welcome Spring by American Crafts)
  • a pair of scissors
  • tacky glue ( I used Allen’s Tacky Glue, which can be found everywhere)
  • Glue N’ Seal (I was introduced to this stuff by my friend Katy over at I like to Cut and Paste and it is phenomenal! You can buy it here:  Ranger Glue N Seal.  It’s like mod podge on steroids!  
  • a fan paintbrush to apply the glue and seal with 
  • a strong needle- none of those pansy needles here!  
  • optional:  clothespins
  • optional: embellishments 

Got them?  Are you ready for step 1?  

Step 1:  Pick your colors!!!  

Here’s mine!  (Pardon the poor lighting!)


Fun, colorful, and spring-ish!

Step 2:  Cut each 12 x 12 paper into three 4in sections.  When complete this will make a rosette that is approximately 8in across.

Step 3: Fold those puppies like an accordion!  Come on, you did this in grade school!  The paper is difficult to fold evenly, but use your finger tips and thumbs to help standardize your folds as much as possible, creasing as you go along.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t all line up!  It doesn’t need to be perfect to look good.


Once all three are folded move on to…

Step 4:  Glue your fans end to end.  No, the patterns don’t have to line up.  Yes, it’s perfectly ok if one is slightly bigger than the other.  Use clothespins to hold the sections together to save time and aching fingers!  

Don’t forget to glue the ends together!


Step 5:  Allow to dry completely!  Don’t rush this step!  They have to be nice and strong before you can proceed.  I let mine set 24 hours before continuing.  

Step 6:  The sewing!!!  Using your needle, pierce through the middle of each fold like so:

If it’s too hard to push the needle through your paper, try using a thimble or pushing the needle upside down on a table or floor.  Continue sewing through the middle of each fold all the way around.  Be careful to sew with the gaps”, so to speak, rather than with the fold (otherwise your rosette will not fold correctly).  

Do not tie the string!  

When you are complete your string should look like this: 

Step 6:  Tighten the string while gently forming the rosette.  Don’t tie the string yet!  To form the rosette, cup your hand over the top and, while pulling the string, gently press down or pull out the bottom with your free hand, like so:

Make sure the the side with the pattern you want is facing down as you tighten the string and flatten your rosette, otherwise it will hang out in the front.  A lot of scrapbooking paper is printed on both sides.    

When you have pulled the string as tightly as possible, tie it off.  It is helpful to have someone hold the middle together.  The tighter the string the better, as this will be what determines if your rosette tries to fold up on itself.  You will have to try this multiple times to probably get it tight enough.  Be mindful of the fact that your knot has to go into the folds, and can sometimes get caught on a corner of one.  Even if your rosette does not lie flat, don’t throw it out!  I have a solution for that…

Step 7:  The Finishing Touches!

By the time you get to this point your fingers are probably hurting, there’s probably a gapping hole in the middle of your pinwheel, and no matter how much you beg and cry your rosette refuses to lie flat.  Yes, you could cut the string and try all over again, OR you can cover it up!  

Adding embellishments do more than just hide our mistakes.  They also help shore up the stability of the pinwheel, and give it a little more character.  You can use anything from buttons, to cardstock or chipboard stickers!  I have a wonderful supply of chipboard stickers which I desperately wanted to use on this project, but my little ones found some stickers at the dollar tree that they had to have and, let’s be honest here, they are probably going to end up “acquiring” all these rosettes in the end anyway.  

***We call it “acquiring” in our house when the girls end up with items that we’ve never told them they can have and yet one day, there they are!  Hidden under the pillow (candy)! Shoved under the bed (mommy’s craft supplies)!  Around the dog’s tummy (mommy’s scarves… ahem… fashion accessories, as the littlest calls them) ! ***

So who am I to pass up a cheaper alternative to my craft plans?  Plus they are pretty cute!  

I applied some Glue N’ Seal to the back of the stickers (cause they were not sticky enough) and to the rosettes with the fan brush, taking the opportunity to apply a little glue to the inside of the middle part of the folds.  I even made some extra rosettes so that my little ones could apply some stickers of their own.  

After your embellishments are applied, you can then hang your creation.  To do this you can either use the string you used to sew (applying a little bit of tape to the top of the pinwheel to keep it from spinning) or can go a little more elaborate with satin ribbon, which would hang beautifully.  Some have even gone as far as to actually attach wall decor hooks to the backs!  Those people don’t have children who “acquire” things, I’m sure!  🙂


This post ended up being much longer than I anticipated!  

Are you ready to see the final product?  


I hope I have inspired you to create your own fabulous, spring inspired rosettes!


the Colourful Teacup 


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