For my first ever tutorial, I have a special craft to share with you! I'm really excited because this a "Melissa Original."
Maybe someone, somewhere has thought of this, but I’ve never seen anything like it and it’s not all over Pinterest, so I’m going out on a limb and calling dibs.
I’m going to teach you how to make these unique paper torches!
I have made them twice now, once for my oldest daughter Katie’s "Wolf Party" and once for my youngest daughter Maddie’s upcoming "Princess Party". I even reused the styrofoam cone part from the first time because I hate wasting.
The inspiration came from those hanging flower topiary balls. I knew I needed something to hang over the center of the food table, but I didn’t want to make pom poms for the billionth time and I didn’t want to use flowers because that didn’t really fit the wolf theme.
As I was thinking and searching Pinterest for inspiration I happened to look over at my craft storage shelf and saw those three foam cones that I never got around to crafting into trees with the kids last Christmas. Boom! My brain went into crafter overdrive. In less than 3 minutes of looking through my paper stash I had a vision. And I got to work.
These can be easily adapted to any party theme simply by using colors from your color scheme. I like the flame (tissue paper) to be the accent color and the torch handle (a foam cone covered in craft paper) to be the base or neutral color(s). The princess color scheme I decided on is dark and light pinks, dark and light purples, with gold as the accent color.
These are the materials I used:
I chose to make two of the handles pink and one (the lowest) purple for interest, but that is purely a matter of preference.
A note about the craft paper: Any scrapbook paper will do, although regular weight paper is easier to wrap than cardstock because it’s thinner. I highly recommend a small, repetitive print that has no orientation (ie: up/down, side to side) or a solid color because the orientation of the paper shifts as you wrap it around the cone. I LOVE using the small dot paper for this reason.
A quick summary of instructions is just below in The Short and Sweet section. If you would like more detailed instructions and pictures then continue on to All the Details.
The Short and Sweet:
Measure out length of twine and pin it to both sides of each cone.
Wrap the cone in scrapbook paper, pinning in place as you go.
Cut tissue paper into 3 different sizes. You’ll need 3 of each size per torch.
Gather and pin the tissue paper starting with the largest first, working your way from the center out.
Hang and admire!
All the Details:
Attach Baker’s Twine to Cones
1. I started by deciding where these were going to hang for the party so I could figure out how low they needed to hang. Then I held up a tape measure to get the length for the twine and doubled it, and added 1 inch where it will overlap the sides of the cone. This was the twine of my middle height torch. For the low level torch I did the same and added 6 +1 inches (for the overlap on the sides), for the high level torch I subtracted 6 inches, then added an inch (again, for the overlap on the sides). My three pieces of baker’s twine ended up being 38’, 44”, and 32’.
2. When all three pieces were cut I tied a small double knot around a straight pin on each end.
3. Then I pushed each pin onto the sides of the cones, about half an inch down.
Make the Handle
4. Take a piece of scrapbook paper and remove the label.
5. Tun the paper face down and place your cone on the upper left hand side, at a diagonal.
6. Tuck that upper left corner under the cone and start rolling. (I don't recommend pinning it in place because you may need to shift the paper around later.)
7. Keep rolling it until you get to the end.
8. I like for the bottom of the torch (the small end of the cone) to have an opening no wider than about an inch. If your opening is too wide or too narrow, try unrolling the cone and adjusting the angle of the foam piece more vertically or more horizontally.
9. Now go ahead and pin that corner down. (You can also add another one or two pins along the edge of the paper as needed.)
10. Here's what it looks like from the top.
11. Now we cut off the excess along the top of the torch. Lay the torch on it's side, make sure the twine is sticking out of the top and not in between your scissor blades.
12. Cut around, about half to a quarter of an inch above the top of the cone, making sure to keep an eye out for the twine.
13. If you do accidentally cut the twine just grab a piece of clear tape and roll it around the ends of the twine.
14. There we go. One torch handle, all ready for flames.
Make The Tissue Paper Flames
15. Most tissue paper comes packaged in a trifold, in the shape of a rectangle.
16. If the trifold appears to be pretty even (as it was for this gold paper) just stack the 3 pieces together and refold them to make it easy on yourself. You’ll only have to measure once that way. If it’s not, refold until it is an even trifold and use your finger to make a deep crease. (You’ll be cutting along this line later so you want it to be different from the factory fold.)
17. Time to make the large square pieces for the center of the torch. They’ll be 7x7. Take your trifolded, stack of 3 sheets of tissue paper, now in a rectangle and fold up one corner. Use your ruler to measure the folded up side to 7 inches. Trace along where the folded up edge touches the paper laying below it.
18. Cut along that line.
19. Unfold and you should have a stack squares.
20. One sheet at a time, unfold your square into a rectangle.
21. Cut along the trifold (the vertical creases), making three even squares. (You will have a leftover rectangle.)
22. Cut the other two squares in the same way. (You should have a stack of 9 squares and 3 leftover rectangles.)
23. Time to make the medium sized pieces of the torch. They’ll be 5x5. Take what’s left of that triple stacked, trifold rectangle of tissue paper and measure a 5" side for this square.
24. Cut them in the same way you cut the larger squares.
25. Unfold and cut along trifold lines, makeing a total of 9 medium squares and 3 leftover triangles.
26. Take what’s left of your trifold tissue paper stack and make approximately a 3x3 square.
27. You should end up with a stack of 9 small squares.
Attach the Flames to the Torch
28. So you've got 3 stacks of squares; large, medium, and small.
29. Here’s a little visual aide to help you know where to place them. For each torch, three large (7"x7”) squares go in the center of the cone, which is the gray section in this top-view diagram, labeled with “7”s. The three medium (5"x5”) squares are spaced evenly from each other in the mid-section of the circle, which is pink and labeled with “5”s in the diagram. The three small (3"x3”) squares are placed in the outer ring of the circle, which is teal and labeled with “3”s.
This is the fun part- this is where it all comes together! It is the equivalent of placing the last piece of painter’s tape and dipping your roller in the paint tray. I love it. It’s easily the fastest part of the project, too.
30. Take one of your large tissue paper squares, find the center, and loosely gather it into a point similar to the way you might gather a full sized sheet of tissue paper to put in a gift bag. The other end will look like peaks.
31. Insert a straight pin at the center where you gathered the square.
32. Place near the center of the cone.
33. Pin the other two large squares as well. Don't worry about it looking too poofy- we'll address that in a bit.
34. Gather and pin the medium sized tissue paper squares in the same manner, in the mid circle area.
35. Gather and pin the small sized tissue paper squares in the same manner, near the outer edge of the circle area. Basically, just fill in the holes.
36. Now squish and squeeze the paper together to make it a little less pointy and perfect.
There ya go. Looking good!
Do the same for the other two torches and you’re finished. And you have a set of beautiful, custom, and unique party decorations!
And all for less than $12!
*Regarding the price breakdown: I try never to pay full price for materials. I got all three styrofoam cones, the pins, and the scrapbook paper at between 30 and 50% off with coupons from Jo-Ann, AKA my home away from home. I got the tissue paper at Target because Dollar Tree (my tissue paper go-to) didn’t have gold.
I hope you have as much fun making these as I did. If you make these please, please, please post a picture in the comments or tag me on your Instagram posts for us all to admire. That would just make my day.
Until next time, friends… Happy crafting. And whatever you make, make it yours!
Have a look at these related posts: