Kanzashi Basic Flower

I first learned about tsunami kanzashi in 2011.  I believe I was on Etsy the first time I saw the flowers and fell in love with the idea of them.

So what is tsumami kanzashi?  Tsumami kanzashi is a centuries old technique from Japan. It is said they were first used during the Jomon Period. The technique was used to make accessories to adorn hair.  In essence, the technique is similar to origami in that you are taking a small square of fabric and fold it and pinch it to create a petal. After you have the desired number of petals, you join the petals together to create your flower. I generally use 6 petals for most of my flowers and 12 petals for sunflowers.  Of note, the more common term used today is kanzashi, which refers to not only the technique to make the flowers but to also the finished product as well.

As I always do when I find something that interests me, I did my research and found a few tutorials online.  After a few samples, I decided that while I liked the two original petal shapes, my own aesthetic level required that I find a new shape that looked just as aesthetically pleasing on the bottom as on the top. That got me thinking and experimenting. I finally came to a design I liked. With this design, I was able to create a “template” that allowed me to create flowers of varying difficulty and beauty.  For today, this tutorial is for the basic technique to create the most simple of my flowers. So check out the tutorial below.

Supplies: 6 2.5″ fabric squares, small self fabric circle about 1/2″ wide, thread the same color as the fabric, needle, scissors, 6 binder clips, Swarovski crystals: I used 3 different sizes; not shown tacky glue, hot glue (optional)

Place one of the fabric squares in front of you.

Fold the square diagonally to form a right triangle.

Fold the triangle in half again to create a smaller right triangle.  Place it in front of you so that the right angle is pointing away from you and the folded edge is on the left hand side.

Starting with the right side, fold to bring the right two edges to line up with the center of the triangle.

Repeat with the left side to have both edges meet in the middle.  You will have created an up side down kite shape.

Carefully pick up the piece keeping the kite shape and fold it in half so that the center where the edges met is now on top and what were the outer edges are now on the bottom of the new shape.  In the fold, you will have created a center fold that needs to line up with the outer edges.  Make any adjustments necessary to make sure that not only the top lines up but the bottom as well.  It needs to be symmetrical or the petals will not line up properly when you combine them.

This is what the new shape looks like from the side.

Use a binder clip to hold the petal in place (or in my case, a no teeth hair clip).

Repeat the process for the other 5 fabric pieces.

Time to trim the ends of the petals.  I use one of two methods to do that.  For this tutorial, open up the back end (the non pointy side) of the petal and you will see the center fold is shorter than the outer sides.

Line the scissors against the short middle end and cut the longer outer sides.  Repeat on the other side.

Now to make sure that all the petals are the same size, I use the first cut petal as a template for the rest of the petals.   Just line up the cut petal against the second petal making sure that the pointy edges line up.

Using my trusty hair clips (binder clips for you) to hold the petals in place, I snip off the ends of the second petal.  Repeat for the rest of the petals using binder clips to hold each cut petal.

Now to attach the petals together: Remove the binder clip from one of the petals.  Pierce the petal with a threaded needle, as in the photo. Make the pierce point about half between the top and bottom of the petal and about 1/8″ from the cut edge. Do  not pull the petal off the needle.

Using the first petal as a guide, pierce the second petal making sure to line up the pointy tips.  You want to make sure that you are lining up the pointy sides as well as the top edges.

Repeat with the rest of the petals.  Once all six petals are lined up on the needle, pull them off and onto the thread.

Cut the needle off the thread, pull tight and make a double knot.  Cut off the long thread end pieces.

Next you will shape the flower by pulling, pinching and fluffing the petals so that all the petals line up in a straight line to each opposing petal.

Place a dab of hot glue in-between the petals.  Then press them together to hold in place.

The base is all done.  Now is time for the fun part: Swarovski Crystals.

First, add a dab of glue to the fabric circle.

Place the circle on the flower to cover the open hole in the center.  Gently press down to adhere.

Dab some tacky glue to cover the circle.  Then place the bigger crystal in the center and the smaller ones around in a preferred pattern.  I recommend experimenting with different patterns as well as Swarovski crystal sizes prior to putting them on the flower.

All done.  At this point, you can almost do anything with the flower …

Make a headband …

Put it on a shoe …

Or as a necklace.

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