When you think of paper crafts, you probably imagine projects for little kids involving construction paper, tissue paper, glue sticks, papermache, double-sided tape, paint, and safety scissors. The truth is there are a lot of sophisticated paper craft ideas out there that any adult with an interest in crafting will love.
Some of these projects are pretty simple and require only minimal supplies while others are a little more involved. We rounded up some of the most creative projects we could find including simple sachets to delicate handmade flowers and everything in between.
The best part about these projects is that they can all be customized. All you have to do it use the right kind of paper. So, whether you’re looking for spring-themed decorations for your home, the perfect end-of-the-year teacher gift, or a unique way to decorate for a holiday party, you’ll find a dozen great ideas here.
Rolled Paper Roses
We love this rolled paper rose idea from Creations by Kara. It’s so simple and one of the best things about it is you can adapt it to any season or decor by using different color paper.
All you need is cardstock, scissors, a hot glue gun, and glue sticks. Simply cut a wavy circle out of the cardstock, make a spiral cut toward the center, and roll, gluing as you go along. If you want a bigger flower, use a larger piece of stiff crafting paper.
You can use these little florets in so many ways: embellish gift wrap, make a garland, glue dozens of them together to form a wreath, or add stems and create a whole arrangement. For more detail, you can even add some glitter to the edges or use patterned paper.
Scroll Paper Garland
Scrolled paper garland is a beautiful paper craft that anyone can make. You can make it as detailed as the ombre design that Christine made on Bird Party or keep it as simple as you want. Pick a color that matches your décor or make one to match the theme of a party or special event.
All you need is cardstock, large paper clips, a paper cutter, stapler, and a glue stick. Start by cutting the cardstock into 1 ½” strips. You can go a little thinner for more delicate garland. Make a center loop and staple. Continue to add more loops, stapling as you go.
For a finished look, glue small squares of cardstock over the staples to keep them hidden. This is a great project that looks much more difficult than it really is. Keep experimenting to create your own detailed look or add crystals, stickers, or glitter to embellish.
Paper kites might sound like a craft for kids but when you see the way Martha Stewart does them on her site, you’ll get all kinds of ideas for how to turn a classic toy into a gorgeous piece of décor with only a few materials.
You’ll need large sheets of decorative paper, a 36” dowel with 3/16” diameter cut into a 19” and 16” piece, twine, white glue, a small brush, and crepe paper. Cut out kite shapes from the paper, cross the dowels and lash them together with the twine, and glue them to the paper.
Make a tail out of twine with crepe paper bows, let the glue dry, and they’re ready to hang. You can string them together to make a garland or place them around tree branches in your yard to make a festive atmosphere for a backyard barbecue.
3D Paper Butterflies
These paper butterflies by Marie are simply beautiful and can be used in so many ways and they’re really simple to make. You only need a few supplies: your favorite decorative paper, twine, extra fine glitter, a glue pen, and a glue gun.
Cut butterfly shapes by hand or you can use a stencil or pattern. You can make them all the same size or mix it up a bit but don’t go too small—anything less than 3” wide gets a little hard to work with.
Use a glue pen to apply a thin outline around the perimeter of the wings then shake on your favorite glitter. Add twine for antenna and apply a layer of hot glue right where the body would be. Layer on the wings until you get the look you’re going for.
The paper lanterns Nora shows you how to create on The Spruce Crafts are a fun, easy way to decorate for a party and look great outside on a warm summer night. For this project, you need decorative craft paper, glue dots, scissors, a stapler, ribbon, and one toilet paper roll per lantern.
Cover the toilet paper roll in colorful paper and affix with glue dots or glue. Next, cut the outer paper to size so that it’s a little longer than the roll and wraps around once. Fold in half lengthwise and cut slits across the fold leaving about an inch of paper and bottom.
Wrap the paper around the roll, lining up the bottom edges. Next, line up the top edges, pushing the outer paper down so the slits open slightly. Add some ribbon for a handle and you’re done!
Paper Bag Party Lights
We Hang Christmas Lights showcases a great way to re-use your Christmas lights well after the holiday season is over. All you need are outdoor string lights, a utility knife, colorful flat bottom paper bags, ribbon, and paper tape.
Cut a slit through both sides of each bag, about 2” from the top edge. Open up the bottom of the bag and cut a small X. Insert the lights through the X and tape in place. Next, feed a piece of colorful ribbon through the slits and tie a knot, letting the edges hang.
Hang the lights outside and you have the perfect addition to a late night party or summer barbecue. (Be careful not to leave the lights unattended and make sure to turn them off after about 8 hours.)
Japanese Folding Fans
If you’re up for something a little more difficult, take a look at this gorgeous Japanese folding fan by Jonathan Fong. This is one of the more complicated projects we found but one look at the end result and you’ll want to try it for yourself.
You’ll need decorative paper, white paper, wooden sticks (11” long, ½” wide) a 2-inch head pin, push pin, compass, scissors, needle nose pliers, paintbrush, pencil, and glue. Start by piercing a hole in each wooden stick with the pin then attach them together using the head pin and pliers.
Cut an arc in the white paper, fan out the sticks, and glue in place. Do the same with the decorative paper on the opposite side. Line up the wooden sticks to fold the fan. To add even more detail, add a button and tassel to the handle.
Giant Paper Flowers
This giant paper flower wall display that Rachel over at Maison de Pax designed is so gorgeous that, once you see it, you’re going to want one for yourself. Rachel’s design is done in a light cream-colored paper which gives it a sophisticated look but you should feel free to use whatever colors match your décor.
You only need a few supplies for this project. You need large pieces of cardstock or thick paper, pencils, scissors, a glue gun, and a long thin rod to curl the edges. A wooden dowel works great and you can even get by with a knitting needle if you have one.
All you have to do is cut petals in various shapes and sizes from the paper. Roll the edges to add texture and glue the petals together, one by one, to build the flowers you want. You can make them as large or small as you want but it’s a good idea to mix sizes for added interest.
Paper Envelope Sachets
Another great idea from Martha Stewart are these paper envelope sachets. You can buy envelopes or make your own. Any color will work, too, but it’s a good idea to make sure the paper is thick enough that you can’t see through it.
Other than envelopes, you’ll need a T-pin or push pin and potpourri. That’s it! Use the pin to poke designs in the envelope. You can use templates for things like flowers and butterflies or freehand your own designs.
For an easy twist, use envelopes with designs like polka dots or stripes and simply follow along with the lines with your pin. This is a really easy way to get a sophisticated looking design with little fuss.
Paper Christmas Cactus
The Zygocactus is commonly called a “Christmas cactus” but this project is definitely not holiday specific. You’ll love seeing this little paper plant on your mantle and the bright red and green colors add a little pop of color to any room.
This amazing project on The House that Lars Built is a little more difficult than some of the other projects in our list but if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll definitely be rewarded in the end. You can find the supplies you need here and follow along to create your own little potted paper plant.
Don’t fell that you have to stick with a green plant with red flowers! Use whatever paper you want. This would be a cool project using patterned paper or even pastels.
Paper Flower Wreath
We love this paper flower wreath project that Kat put together on Just Crafty Enough. It was inspired by a wreath she saw in the window of a shop and she really went with it and made it her own. You can, too, by using colors and patterned papers that match your décor.
You’ll need cardstock, scrapbooking paper, scissors, glue, a dowel or knitting needle to roll the edges, and a floral ring to form the wreath. Flower petals can be cut up using your own design or use a template if you want more uniformity.
The key to this project is to mix up the flowers and leaves to create depth and texture. Start with a base of leaves of different lengths and sizes then add flowers. This is a great project for any time of year. You can even adapt it for the holidays by adding in some pinecones!
Whether or not you’re looking for a cute photo prop or just want to add a bit of fun to your style when the weather gets warm, this pretty paper flower crown from The House That Lars Built is a beautiful project. This is one of the most complicated projects on our list but it’s definitely doable if you break it down into steps.
You don’t need that many supplies: stem wire, 26-gauge floral wire, wire cutters, ruler, crepe paper, scissors, hot glue gun, and cotton balls. You’ll use floral wire and green crepe paper to make the base of your crown. Then, you’ll add leaves and flower to build the look you want.
Tightly cover the cotton balls in brightly colored paper to create buds and flower centers and use the floral wire as stems for each individual flower. One key to making this crown look good is to use a lot of colors, including multiple shades of green.
Paper Crafts: Not Just for Kids Anymore
Now that you know how amazing paper crafts for adults can be, we know you want to make your way through the list and try them all. We don’t blame you! These projects are all so different, it’s hard to choose where to start.
Start by picking a few of your favorites to get a feel for what it’s like to work with paper, hot glue guns, floral wire, and more. Then try to tackle some of the more difficult projects we covered.
Remember, it’s so easy to tailor these projects to ant special occasion. Use your favorite colors, holiday patterns, or add in extra stickers, glitter, or ribbon to make any of these projects uniquely yours.