Give plain grocery bags a gorgeous floral treatment with this paper roses craft! It’s a perfect way to recycle trash into treasure for Earth Day, Mother’s Day, or any day! This is a sneak peek into the STEAM Explorers Recycle Ebook filled with tons of upcycled projects, printables, recipes, and more.
STEAM Secret: Roses are Filled with Math!!
The colorful and velvety petals of a rose follow a distinct pattern. They spiral outwards from the center of the rose. But not just in any old pattern. The spiral gets wider as it gets further from the center by approximately the factor phi every quarter turn. This Golden Spiral allows for the most compact arrangement of the flower and even sun exposure to each petal. They follow what’s called the Fibonacci sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34… where one number in the sequence is divided by the number before it approximates 1.61. The larger the numbers, the closer to the Golden Ratio of phi it gets.
In this paper rose craft, we’ll recreate the Golden Spiral with a cut spiral made from a paper grocery bag.
Paper Bag Roses Supplies Needed
This gorgeous craft uses supplies you probably already have! Don’t have paint? Markers work too.
- Brown paper grocery bags
- Large bowl or another round item
- Tempera or acrylic paint
- Paint brushes
- Paint palette
- Hot glue gun
- Ribbon, vase, or milk bottle (optional)
How to Prepare the Paper Bag for Paper Roses
- Cut open the paper bag down one of the side seams. Then partially cut the bottom off of the grocery bag by cutting one width and one length fold. Open the bag flat.
- Carefully remove the handles from the bag.
- Pick a large bowl to use as a circle template. The larger the bowl, the larger your final rose.
- Place the large bowl upside down on the paper bag. Try to maximize the number of roses you can make by staying close to the edge. Trace around the bowl with a pencil. Repeat for as many roses you would like to make, leaving at least one inch between each circle.
- Cut a 2” x 8” rectangle for the stem of the rose. Cut as many as you have cut circles.
- Squeeze and twist the stem paper rectangle so that you have a twisting stem. This makes the stem stronger.
Paint the Paper Bag for the Roses Petals and Stems
- Paint one side of each circle with a light coating of paint. Try patterns like ombré, splatter, and swirl for different rose effects.
- Paint the stem with a light coating of paint. Try mixing colors for an interesting effect.
- Wait until the circle paint is dry to the touch (approximately 30 minutes), then flip it over and paint the other side.
- Let the paint dry completely (at least one hour) before moving on to the assembly steps.
Need Printable Instructions for the Paper Roses?
You can find the paper roses and more fun activities for kids and adults in the STEAM Explorers Recycle Ebook!
How to Cut and Roll the Paper Roses
- Pick one circle and decide which side will be the top of the rose and which side will be the bottom.
- On the top, draw a spiral like shown in the photo. Start the spiral line from an edge and then circle towards the center, keeping the lines approximately 1” apart.
- Cut along the spiral line, making sure it stays in one piece.
- Preheat the hot glue gun so you’re ready to secure the rose when you’re done spiraling.
- Starting with the outside end of the spiral, roll it onto itself into a cylinder. Continue rolling until just before the other end of the spiral. IMPORTANT: Keep holding the rose so that it doesn’t unroll.
- Loosen the rose spiral until it is the size you want, making sure it isn’t larger than the width of the last bit of the cut spiral paper. IMPORTANT: Keep holding the rose so that it doesn’t unroll.
How to Glue the Paper Roses
Adult supervision is recommended for the following steps with a hot glue gun.
- Place the rose spiral, top-side down, on a table and top it with a dollop of hot glue. Press the rose spiral into it and hold until the glue has set, about one minute.
- Place a dollop of hot glue on the underside center of the rose and press one end of a stem into it. Hold until the glue is set, about one minute.
- Repeat the assembly until all of your roses are put together. Gather them into a bouquet and tie them with a ribbon or place the roses in a vase if desired.
- Repeat the assembly until all of your roses are put together.
- Gather the roses into a bouquet and tie them with a ribbon or place the roses in a vase if desired. Milk bottles make super cute vases for gifts!
More Crafts That Make Great Gifts
Turning creative time into gift-making time with these paper roses or these other fun crafts!
More Recycled Fun for Kids
Celebrate Earth Day all year round... Have fun as we reduce, reuse, renew, and recycle with the STEAM Explorers Recycle Ebook Unit Study!
Here are some of the unique things the kids can do with the Recycle Ebook Unit Study by STEAM Explorers:
- Learn about the plight of plastic and make a Bioplastic Suncatcher.
- Discover how our trash breaks down with a Detecting Decomposition Experiment.
- Reduce, reuse, renew, and recycle with a Zero Waste Challenge or a T-Shirt Tote Bag.
- Save one of the 1 billion toothbrushes thrown out every year by making a Litter Bug Bot.
- Craft some Math-Filled Paper Bag Roses that no one will believe came from trash. (Psstt... they're perfect for Mother's Day gifts!)
- Plus they can snack on Garbage Cookies, do some recycling-themed offline coding, and more!
Inside every STEAM Explorers ebook are:
- Projects: Hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math projects
- Printables: Fun printables for independent learning and fun
- Recipes: Delicious recipes that have a learning spin
- Learning: Interesting reading that helps kids learn about our planet on every page
- Activity Calendar: A helpful calendar to make adding STEAM to your day simple and fun.
- Supplies List: A handy supplies list for the month that makes prep easy.
- BONUS! A coupon to save 25% on a monthly STEAM Explorers subscription. That's where you'll find a kid-safe online portal filled with helpful activity videos, teacher lesson plans, and more.