How to Fake a Flower Garland

Faux Flower Garlands at Drift Gallery, photo via Grazier Photography

So, I may or may not have mentioned that I design events? Perhaps that’s a conversation we haven’t yet had. But I do. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I get to walk into someone else’s fantasy, take their ideas and then translate them into reality. Not bad for a day’s work. Sometimes, when I’m very lucky and working with people I adore, they even let me design the whole thing from start to finish. Blank slate to dreamland. Hello, best thing ever.

This summer, I’ve designed three events for my dear friend Ali Goodwin, a powerhouse photographer in her own right and owner of Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, NH. Ali has curated some of the most spectacular art shows I’ve ever been fortunate enough to see in person, and I (little old me!) was the lucky girl who got to dream up the design for the opening receptions. All kidding aside, this kind of creative freedom is bonkers.

For the July opening of Portraits in Contemporary Photography at Drift, I had a clear vision of the feel I wanted — crisp, clean, contemporary — and knew I wanted to start with a blank white canvas and bold pops of red. I’m a huge fan of the design work of Bash, Please (event designers extraordinaire) and happened to catch an Instagram pic they posted back in June from a wedding they designed. This is the photo from the wedding, as seen on “Style Me Pretty.” See those red flower garlands? I wanted them. Bad. But my budget didn’t allow for that many fresh blossoms.

So I put my DIY skills to work and came up with a reasonably good way to fake a flower garland using tissue paper. You already know how much I love tissue paper, so this should come as no big surprise. (Note: Bash, Please are legends in my book. I sincerely hope they don’t mind that I used their gorgeous picture as my inspiration.)


Step 1

 Open GalleryI had a pretty good idea of how I might be able to make a reasonable faux flower garland, but it took a little playing around with the materials to make it work and look right. I settled on some smooth twine I had in my supply basket, grabbed a heavy duty needle, and cut tissue paper into 3-inch by 3-inch squares.

Step 2

 Open GalleryI threaded my twine through the needle, leaving a 6-inch overhang so that it wouldn’t slip out, but knowing the garland would be a single strand, rather than doubled up. I knotted the end of the twine without the needle, to keep the tissue “flowers” from slipping off the end. Then I strung the tissue paper squares on directly through the center of the square. Bonus? I was able to pierce and thread small stacks of tissue squares at once, which made life ever so much easier.

Step 3

 Open GalleryNext, I pinched the tissue square at the center, right where the twine went through, and made two small, but tight, twists to the square, leaving the edges loose.

Step 4

 Open GalleryNow the tissue square is starting to look like a flower blossom.

Step 5

 Open GalleryAfter doing my twist action on each square, I slipped the tissue “flower” to the end of the twine, which created a growing stack of tissue blossoms and the garland started to look how I’d hoped it would. (Huge relief: It worked!)

Step 6

 Open GalleryFrom then on, it was just repeat, repeat, repeat, until I had enough garlands to swag across the old carriage house doors on the gallery. I’m not going to lie — it was time consuming and I ended up with blisters on my thumb and finger from twisting tissue paper over and over and over. But the finished product was pretty, inexpensive and got a LOT of compliments. Totally worth the blisters.


  • Twine
  • Needle
  • Tissue Paper


  • Scissors or paper cutter
About Ellen Foord 


A tight budget has never stopped Ellen Foord from creating a beautiful, modern, creative home and treating every day as one of life's smaller celebrations. A freelance writer and ...

More About Ellen Foord

2 Responses

  1. Madolyn says:

    I'm planning a luau theme for a Relay For Life Survivor Dinner, think this would be a perfect and easy and cheap way to hang a swag of colorful faux flowers. Great idea.

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