How to make Wooden Flowers


Tom Hight
Northwest Oklahoma Woodturners

Wooden flowers make great gifts for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and many other occasions.  They are easy to make and are very appreciated by the recipient.  They look nice in bunches or as a single flower.  They can be all one size or many sizes.  They also look nice displayed in a vase. Let’s get started and make some flowers.

1.  Start with a dowel about 4 to 4½” inches in length.  Use the skew chisel to true the dowel, so the flowers don’t come out lopsided.  For larger flowers use 5/8”, 3/4” or 7/8” dowels.  For smaller flowers use 5/8” or 1/2” dowels.  I normally use Poplar dowels because they are softer and turn easily.  


2.  Use permanent markers to color the end of the dowel.  When coloring, hold the tip of the marker slightly downward.  Orange will be the color of the underside of the petals, and yellow will be the color of the top of the outer petals.  Green will eventually become the color of the bud.




3.  Use the short end of the skew chisel on the end grain of the dowel.  Get a cut about 1/16” started and push the cut back on the dowel about 1/2”.   This will create the outer petal ring.





4.  With the lathe running, color the outside petals yellow.  It will look best if you color all the wood leaving no bare wood showing.  After coloring the outside petals, color the rest of the dowel orange.  This will become the primary color for the rest of the flower.




5.  Again, using the short end of the skew, get a 1/16” cut started at the end of the dowel and form the next row of petals.  Color the petals and tip of the dowel as you go.   Continue this process until the whole flower is covered with petals.




6.  After the petals have been formed, color the center of the flower yellow (the same color as the outside petal ring).


7.  After completing the top of the flower, use a small detail or spindle gouge and form the bud portion of the flower to an ogee shape.  Leave the portion that will become the stem about one-quarter inch in diameter.


8.  Texture and color the bud portion of the flower green at this time.


9.  After parting off the flower, use a push pin and create a center point in the bud.  Then drill a 1/16” hole about ¼” deep for the 14-gauge wire that will form the stem for smaller flowers.    For larger flowers use this 1/16” hole as a pilot hole for a 5/32” drill bit.  This will accept the Dand-o-line wire (from Ace hard ware) wire that becomes the stem. 


10.  After making all the flowers for the bouquet, spray a finish on them.  I used a water-based polyurethane finish.  Apply at least three coats of finish to the flowers.  This will help strengthen the petals.


11.  After the flowers have dried, cut and epoxy the wire that forms the stem onto the flower.  I use a five minute epoxy.


12.  I found some leaves at Hobby Lobby.  They were a little too big for the flowers I was making, so I trimmed them down to size.




13.  Cut off about 10” to 12” of wrapping tape and wrap that around the stem adding in the leaves about one inch below the flower.


14.  After all the stems have been wrapped with tape, form them into a bouquet, leaving some higher and some lower.  A plastic wire tie can hold them together.


15.  I turned a bud vase about 6” to 8” high and drilled a ¾” hole in the top to accept the bouquet of flowers.  I don’t add leaves to the smaller flowers because there isn’t enough room.



For more information, you can watch “Turning Wooden Flowers on the Lathe” by Stuart King, or “Flowers for Mother’s Day” by “Tiny Trailer Workshop”, on Youtube.

Supplies Needed:

·         Dowels from ½” to 1¼” or small tree limbs from 4” to 5” long
·         Permanent markers
·         Water based spry polyurethane
·         5-minute epoxy
·         Dand-o-Line Wire (from Ace)

Tools Needed:

·         Skew chisel
·         3/8” spindle gouge
·         Thin parting tool