Friday, May 27, 2022



Two long-time friends and I gathered for lunch. I'd asked them for some help in assembling a bouquet of paper flowers. I had a stack of black and white paper too pretty to throw away. Mindful of trying to find creative uses for recyclable ephemera, I had tried to come up with an easy project that would use this pretty paper. Since it is almost June, I thought of young brides trying to prepare for their weddings. I remember my mom and I fast at work on the morning of my wedding stuffing small pastry shells with savory fillings. I remember assembling flowers in vases for a niece's wedding. We didn't make the wedding bouquets from paper, but I have attended weddings where the centerpieces and gift bags included handmade items.

The reason for asking for help from my friends, besides making sure that this project was easy, was a large cardboard box full of toilet paper made from bamboo instead of from trees. Each roll came wrapped in black and white paper to keep out moisture. The outside paper becomes much more recyclable than the plastic that usually comes wrapped around toilet paper. The TP comes from an Australian company, Who Gives A Crap, that makes TP from either bamboo or recycled TP. With half the profits from each order, the company funds clean water and toilets through group partners such as Water for People and SPLASH. The company's toilet paper is now available in the U.S., and they claim they are carbon neutral.

Once my order arrived, I was surprised by the paper-wrapped toilet paper. What could I do with all that paper? I came up with flowers, a fitting tribute, I think, to people who are encouraging the reuse and composting of things we use and need. I like Who Gives A Crap's attempt to solve a worldwide problem, but I still wonder about the cardboard box the TP came in. No matter how hard we try or how inventive we are, we almost never completely become waste-free.

For this project, I used some old wooden skewers for the stems that I have had for a long time and never used, and employed some red washi tape to attach the wrapped paper to the stem.

Here's what I and my long-suffering friends did to make the flowers:

Smooth out the paper.

Cut the paper into five sections like this.

Take the two larger pieces and fold them in half lengthwise.

Insert the blunt end of the skewer inside the fold at one end. 
Use a piece of washi tape to secure the paper to the skewer.

Gather the paper around the skewer, pleating the paper as you go 
so the flower opens up at the other end.

When you have wrapped the paper completely, 
use washi tape to secure the flower to the skewer.

Place about a dozen paper flowers in a vase. 
Tie a red ribbon around the vase.
Voila! You have a bouquet.

You can find this toilet paper at:

Learn about SPLASH and Water for People here:


  1. From Mary by email: That sounds like my kind of challenge. What a great way to spend an afternoon. The resulting bouquet is beautiful!!!

    1. Thanks, Mary. You would make this challenge a beautiful one!

  2. Beautiful bouquet! Fun company name, too!

    1. The company name makes me laugh. It's a fun project and another way to reuse.


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