Paper Flower Fans in Vases

Now here’s a little coordinating set to make your tablescape stand out.

It’s very budget friendly because it reuses aluminum cans. And can easily be customized with paper patterns or modified in the way the edges of the fan are trimmed. I have made three different sets of these. One for my son Ethan’s Mighty Robot Party, one for my daughter Katie’s Wolf Party, and now once for my daughter Maddie’s Princess Party. I am a big fan of using the “bones” of a project and changing up the “skin” to suit the next party. The more I make something the less time it takes me. It’s a no brainer, really.

The last two times I made these the fans were just your standard fan. I was inspired after I saw this Pin.  But this time I wanted the fans to look a little more flowery, so I just made a quick snip to round the corners. Super easy. And festive. In fact, I’d say easier than the standard way because with these I could get away with stapling the edges of the fan together, whereas in the past I had to carefully tape the standard fans together.

Here are the supplies I used. There were... too many to fit in my little staging area? (It totally wasn’t that I forgot about the tissue paper and shredded paper. Really. I’m so much more together than that.)


Here are all the tools I used to craft these beauties. Really, you could get away with just using scissors if you are not particular about perfectly straight edges and round circles. Most people probably wouldn’t ever notice. But I am not most people. So I use them. Maybe that makes me a failure as a creative type, but so be it. I just like things to be perfect!


So, if you have made something similar before or are just super skilled at figuring things out, the “Short and Sweet” directions are for you. Continue on to "All the Details" for the specifics as well as little tips I figured out.

Short and Sweet:

1.       Fold (3)pieces of 12x12 scrapbook paper accordion style. Fold in half. Round the edges. Staple edges together. Add a 3” circle piece in the center of the flower.

2.       Fold (2) pieces of 9x9 scrapbook paper accordion style. Fold in half. Round the edges. Staple edges together. Add a 2” circle piece in the center of the flower.

3.       Cover 3 differently sized aluminum cans in 3 different, but coordinating scrapbook papers, using a hot glue gun to secure.

4.       Glue balloon cups to bottom of small and large cans. Cover balloon sticks in decorative straws, glue to the backside of fans, and insert into glued cups (inside cans).

5.       Place tissue paper around the stick (inside the can).

6.       Place utensils in medium sized can and place the set out on your food table.

7.   Admire!


All the Details:

1.       Make the Vases

For reference, I used a 46oz can of tomato juice for the large vase, a 28oz can of tomato puree for the medium vase, and a 15oz tomato paste can for the small vase. (Can you guess what dinner was? Yup, homemade spaghetti sauce. That’s a recipe I’ll be sharing for sure!)

Hot glue the balloon cups to the bottom of the large and small cans.


By the way, I purchased my pack of balloon sticks and cups eons ago and they don’t carry them at that store (I think it was Michael’s?) anymore. You can get them on Amazon, though. 

Place the large can on the piece of scrapbook paper you want to cover it in. Use it to roughly measure the height you will need. Mine measured about 6 ¾ ’’ tall.


Cut along that line. Save the extra piece for later. (That’s the top piece in this picture.)


Use hot glue on the low setting to attach and wrap the paper around the can.


You will have a gap you’ll need to patch. Here’s where that extra piece comes in. I just laid my can on the paper again to figure out what sized I would need. (I added about a ½’’ to the width so the paper would overlap and I could avoid any aluminum showing through.


Glue the patch on. If you are lucky you might be able to match up your pattern pretty well.


Do the same thing with the small can. Mine measured about 4’’ tall.


Cut and save the extra piece for later. Because this can is not as big as the first you won’t have to patch. Wahoo!


Glue and wrap around…


and glue.


Take the medium can and place it on the paper to measure size just as you did for the large and small cans. Mine measured about 4 ½’’ tall.


Cut along the line you measured. Save the extra, you’ll need to patch this one.


Wrap and glue the paper in place. Measure out a patch piece, same as you did for the large can.


Glue in place.


And now you have a set of 3 vases! With some extra scraps that you can use for the center of the flower later. Yay!


2.       Make the Paper Flower Fans

Let’s start with the large fan. Take your 3 matching pieces of 12x12 scrapbook paper. Fold 1 in half vertically. Or if you were one of my kindergarteners, the tall way.


Open it up and fold the edges in to the center fold you just made.


Now fold the center edge back to the crease you just made on each side.


Don’t get worried if I just lost you. Here’s a side view of what it should look like so far:


Now flip it over so you are looking at the back side. Take each folded edges and fold them back to the center line.


Not as tricky as it sounds. I promise. This is one of those projects that I plan to make a video tutorial for because the written directions make it a little trickier to follow. Thanks for hanging in there. Here’s a side view:


So when you flip it back over it will look like this:


That my friends, is an accordion style fold. Now go ahead and do the same thing with the other two pieces for the large fan.

Let’s get the babies looking like flower fans, shall we? One accordion at a time, hold the straight edges down.


Fold it in half so the edges line up.


Push down on the center fold really well to help it hold its shape.


Do the same for the other two accordion folds.


One edge at a time, hold the folded paper with the edges pointing down and trim the edge in a rounded fashion. (To make it easy for you to see, I am holding this paper with the edges on the right side.) If you are a little nervous about cutting freehand, go ahead and pencil in your curved line.


Use that first edge as a guide to cut all the other edges.


Each piece should look something like this:


Flip the three fan pieces over so you are looking at the back side. One at a t time, gather the inside edges of each piece, making sure to line them up. If your fold was slightly off before, here is where you can cheat it and make it line up.


Staple as close to the center fold as you can get, maybe about ¼’’ down from the straight edge.


And then again about ½’’ from the outside, rounded edge.


Quick reference for staple placement, if you are a little confused:


You can probably guess what’s coming next…


Staple all three pieces together in the same manner.


You just made a flower fan! It will look like this from the back:


And like this from the front:


For stability, I like to add some sort of adhesive to hold the center together really well. This time I used double sided adhesive circles.


For the bud of the flower, cut out a 3’’ circle. Here is where you can use your scraps from the vases. I wasn't loving these patterns cut out in circles so I used paper scraps from my paper stash.


Use some sort of double sided adhesive or glue to apply it. My favorite is Crafty Power tape. (Pictured here because I had planned to use the double sided adhesive circles here, too, but they turned out to be too thick.)


Place the circle in the center of the flower and admire for a moment. Looks pretty good, eh?


Now you are going to make your medium sized flower almost exactly the same way. It’ll go a lot faster. The major difference is that you are going to use only 2 pieces of matching 9x9 scrapbook paper.


Follow exactly the same steps to fold and staple as you did for the large flower.


For the Bud of this flower cut a 1 ½ ’’ circle.  


Glue or tape to the center.


3.       And Now, We Assemble!

Place the balloon sticks in the cups you previously glued inside the cans. Cut them to the desired height. My taller stick (for the large vase) was 16’’ and my shorter stick (for the small vase) was 12’’.


If you are so inclined you can cover the sticks with paper straws, but it’s not necessary. These particular straws were on the small side so I had to cut them vertically with scissors so they fit over the sticks.


Set fans on the sticks to check for height. (I have one facing front and one facing back just for reference.)


Time to glue. Again, because this is just paper, use the low setting on your hot glue gun. In my experience the fan will stand up straighter and sturdier if the straw is glued parallel, but not touching the paper itself. Except for the end of the straw. That should be placed as close to the center folds as possible.


Let those cool completely, propping something underneath them if you don’t want to wait around holding the stick in position. Insert sticks into cups in the bottom of the cans once more.

Take a coordinating piece of tissue paper and loosely fold it in half “the wide way.”


Place it in the large vase, behind the stick.


Grab another piece of the same tissue paper, fold it the same way, and place it in the large vase in front of the stick. Arrange the peaks until it looks right to you. Basically, no big uneven gaps or rouge peaks pointing off in weird directions.


Grab another piece of tissue paper that coordinates with your small vase. I chose a different color for interest, but you could use the same color as the large vase if you wish. Fold it in half the same as you did for the large vase, which is the wide way.


Place it all around the straw, arranging until it looks right to you.


Now you could stop here and probably be pretty pleased with your decorations, but I like to add ribbon for texture. And to break up the vertical-ness of the fans.

I placed a little crafty power tape to one end of ribbon…


And placed it on the backside of my large vase at an angle. I wrapped it around the front…


Around the back, back around the front, and finally around to the back to tape in place at my starting point.


For the medium sized vase I just tied a simple bow around it once and added shredded paper from the dollar store to help prop up the utensils, spilling almost as much as I poured. Rather than fight it, I just went with it.


Ta-dah!  A beautiful, custom set of paper fans and vases!


You may have noticed that this shredded paper is purple but the supplies picture shows pink shred. At the last minute I changed my mind which colors would be on each vase, throwing off my plan a little. Pink shred in the pink vase was a little too matchy- matchy for me. Luckily I had the purple shred leftover from my oldest daughter's Wolf Party.

Here’s the price breakdown:


That’s a grand total of $7.69! Not too shabby.

I would love to see how you make your paper fans. Be a good craft buddy and tag me in your Instagram posts!


Happy crafting, my friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!

Here are some other budget friendly crafts: