Back to the Basics Part 1: How to Create with Cartotecnica Rossi Italian Crepe Paper

back to the basics crepe paper May 14, 2023
Pink and Posey: Back to the Basics Series

Discover the art of paper flower making with my new blog series: Back to the Basics. Over the past eight years, I've immersed myself in the world of paper flowers, exploring various techniques and materials. From mastering the manipulation of different types of crepe papers to achieving lifelike colors through coloring mediums, I've experienced the trials and errors firsthand. In the upcoming weeks, I'll be sharing my valuable insights and knowledge to help you embark on your own paper flower journey. Join me as we delve into the enchanting world of paper flowers and unlock the secrets of this beautiful craft.

As part of my Back to the Basics focus, I’m delving into the medium that I create my paper flowers with, which is crepe paper. We’re kicking things off with one of my favorite staples: Cartotecnica Rossi Italian crepe paper. 

One of the best things about Italian crepe paper is the wide range of colors and weights that are available. The paper comes in a variety of shades, from soft pastels to bold brights, and it can be purchased in different thicknesses or weights. This versatility makes it a perfect choice for many different projects and applications.

I love the texture. The paper has a slight stretch to it, which makes it ideal for creating realistic-looking petals and other flower parts like the stamens and sepals. It can be manipulated and molded into many different shapes, which allows for a great deal of creativity and flexibility as a paper flower artist.

Cartotecnica Rossi is a family-owned company based in Italy that has been producing high-quality crepe paper since 1873. My favorite place to purchase here in the U.S. is Carte Fini. This company was founded by Mike Benson, who was inspired to create his company after experiencing frustration with the limited options that were available on the market. We’ve chatted with Mike and Martina Polelli of Cartotecnica Rossi on Paper Talk, which you can check out for more info on how Italian crepe paper is manufactured and distributed.

Let’s delve more into the artistry side of using Italian crepe paper. 

Choosing Italian Crepe Paper Weight

When it comes to making paper flowers, choosing the right weight of Italian crepe paper is essential to achieving the desired look and feel of your flowers. Cartotecnica Rossi offers a range of weights to make both larger than life and small tiny flowers. 

  • 180 gsm: This heavyweight option ensures durability and structure. Usually large flowers are made from this crepe paper weight but don’t be afraid to use this crepe paper for smaller flowers!
  • 140 gsm: Water-resistant and color-bleed proof, this weight is an excellent choice when exposed to moisture. This weight was originally made to wrap fresh flower bouquets.
  • 90 gsm: Striking a balance between sturdiness and delicacy, this mid-weight paper possesses incredible stretch capabilities, allowing you to add beautiful fluttering to your petals.
  • 60 and 40 gsm: These lightweight and delicate papers are perfect for lamination and creating sturdy crepe paper.

Tips for Choosing the Ideal Weight for Your Paper Flower Projects

To guide you in selecting the appropriate weight for your paper flower projects, consider the following factors:

  1. Flower Type: Delicate blossoms like cherry blossoms or daisies may require lighter weight paper, while fuller flowers such as roses or peonies benefit from a heavier weight paper to provide structural support.
  2. Flower Size: Larger flowers demand a sturdier weight to maintain their shape and withstand their weight, while smaller flowers can thrive with lighter weight paper.
  3. Level of Detail: Heavier weight paper may be more challenging to mold into intricate petal designs, while lighter weight paper offers greater maneuverability for shaping intricate shapes.

Remember, the choice of paper weight ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific flower design. Don't hesitate to experiment with different weights to find the perfect fit. With Cartotecnica Rossi's extensive range of paper weights, you're sure to discover the ideal option for your paper flower-making.

Choosing Italian Crepe Paper Colors

Choosing the right color of Italian crepe paper is an important step in creating beautiful paper flowers. Cartotecnica Rossi offers a wide range of colors to choose from, making it easy to find the perfect shade for any project. Here is my advice for how to choose the right color of Italian crepe when creating paper flowers.

  1. Consider the type of flower you want to create. Some flowers, such as roses and peonies, come in a range of colors, while others like cherry blossoms and daisies may only have one or two color options. Choose a color that closely matches the real flower, or experiment with different shades to create a unique and personalized flower.
  2. Think about the overall theme or color scheme of your project. If you are creating flowers for a wedding or event, choose colors that complement the event's color scheme. If the flowers are for home decor, consider the color of the room they will be displayed in.
  3. Also consider the season or occasion. Bright and bold colors may be more appropriate for spring and summer, while warmer and richer hues may be more suited for fall and winter.
  4. Finally, personal preference is definitely a valid factor to consider. Choose a color that you love and that brings you joy. Don't be afraid to experiment with different colors and color combinations to find what works best for you. Finding your favorites is what will make your style and brand shine through!

You can also read more about using color theory as a paper artist in my previous blog post.

Creating with Italian Crepe Paper

Techniques don’t vary much from different types of crepe paper, but do think about these tips.

As always when cutting your crepe paper, it is important to use sharp scissors. Dull scissors can cause the paper to tear or create jagged edges, which can make it difficult to create clean, smooth petals. If you are looking for a good pair of scissors, my favorite to use is Kai Scissors. If you are looking for a detailed scissor, their 6 ½” is my go to. When I need to cut into multiple layers or cut the 180 gsm crepe, the 8” Kai Scissors are amazing.

Stretching is another essential technique that allows for more natural and lifelike curves and shapes to be created. Keep in mind which weight of crepe you are working with as you stretch. Heavier weights of Italian crepe, like 180gsm, will have much more stretch than thinner weights, like 60gsm. 

When you begin stretching, be gentle. Start with a light pull and gradually increase the tension until the paper has been stretched to the desired length. Go slow. You can always stretch more if needed; you can’t unstretch if the paper tears or becomes too thin. It may be helpful to practice on a small piece of paper first to get a feel for the amount of tension needed.

Above all, remember to have fun and be creative with your paper flower making. Italian crepe paper is a high-quality, beautiful paper that allows for endless possibilities in your paper art. So let your imagination run wild and create something beautiful with this wonderful paper.

In conclusion, Italian crepe paper by Cartotecnica Rossi is a versatile, high-quality paper that is perfect for a variety of paper art projects. The range of colors and weights available have sparked my creativity and increased my ability to create lifelike and detailed flowers. With Italian crepe paper, the possibilities for beautiful and unique paper art are endless. I’ve absolutely loved experimenting with it and pushing the limits of my artistry.

TIP: Through one of my experiments I accidentally found out that you can put the crepe back into the paper after stretching. Take 90 gsm and stretch it about 80% and then cut your petals extra wide, like if you would to make a poppy petal. Then crumble and twist the paper, then untwist it. Next, apply tacky glue toward the middle lower thirds of the petal. Use your fingers to smooth out the glue so that it gets into the crevices of the crepe paper. Once the glue dries, the glue will magically pull the crepe back together. I have only had this to work well with the 90 gsm and not with the other weights.

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