My neighbor was just about to chop down his first sunflower plant last year, when I asked him why he wasn't saving it for the seeds. He was surprised when I showed him where they were hiding. He gave me a bag after they were dried, but actually they were kind of too small to bother eating. I thought it would be intriguing to make a paper sunflower from those seeds.
I first glued about 4 of them side by side and waited until they dried. Then I stuck them on top of an adhesive backed foam dot (used for holding CDs in place). Row by row, I layered the glue and another set of seeds. It's key to step away and do some other task before gluing the next row (yes, I'm talking to myself here). The foam dot is really just to mound the center so it gets a bit of height.
As I got near the rim, I placed it on a yogurt lid and slid seeds in below. The glue does not stick to plastic and using a flat surface for the last rows ensured I would have a flat item to glue to my final surface.
I made the petals from crêpe paper ribbon from a dollar store. After wadding up a few layers, I freehand cut some petals out.
The crêpe color was a bit too lemony yellow for my taste and luckily I have markers from my college days. Holding the petal base with my finger tip, I lightly dragged the marker across the petal, lifting it off partway – more of a flicking motion.
The markers are slightly dried out, which is perfect because it allowed for a streakier, lighter coverage of the translucent wrinkly petals. I think the two tones helps add more depth to the petals. Then I cupped the petals by pulling in the middle slightly. Crêpe paper is well known to take on that subtle sculpting nicely.
For the backing of the petals, I cut a circle of paper smaller than the seed circle so it ensured the backing would be covered completely. The petals are quite transparent and I didn't want anyone to see how they all got stuck together – which was simply using glue stick, one row at a time, one petal at a time.
I covered all the seeds with more white glue and stuck it on top of the petals, completing the flower. To ensure all the seeds are extremely secure, I used a fine tip glue bottle and squeezed deep within the mound, just to be sure nothing ever dropped out over time.
This is being placed into a shadow box as a memento gift to someone special. If you give this paper sunflower a try, I'd love to hear about it!