How to Make a Palm Rose for Palm Sunday
How to Fold a Flower From Your Palm Sunday Palms
Folding palms is a popular Palm Sunday tradition in cultures around the world. While the leaves are most commonly folded or weaved together to make a crucifix, many have let their creativity inspire them to make all sorts of complex designs. A simple one I love to make is a palm rose that I wear as a corsage on Palm Sunday.
Below, I will give you step-by-step instructions (with pictures) on how to make your own palm rose. Learning the technique can be tricky at first—especially if you are new to this—but after you've done it a few times, you'll find that even a child can master the technique.
Let's get started!
Step-by-Step Instructions for Making a Palm Rose
Before we begin, make sure you use fresh palm leaves—they're more malleable and less prone to cracking or fraying.
1. Choose Your Palm Fronds
For one rose, choose a pair of palm fronds that are still attached along the spine. The size of the fronds (both the length and the width) will decide the size of your rose. You want to choose one that tapers toward the end.
2. Partially Separate the Fronds Along the Spine
Separate the two fronds along the spine, leaving them attached at the base—just a few inches where it is too stiff to fold. If you remove the spine, the fronds will be easier to manipulate.
3. Fold One Frond Behind the Other at a 90 Degree Angle
Holding the base of the fronds in one hand, use your other hand to fold one of the fronds—let's call this frond A—behind the other one (frond B) at a 90° angle. This is the first fold and won't be visible in the end product, so just make it work—it doesn't have to look perfect.
4. Fold Frond B Behind Frond A at a 120 Degree Angle
Next, fold frond B behind frond A, this time at about 120°. You are looking to get the same angle as the corners of a hexagon. It's okay if it's not perfect—you'll get the swing of it. This is the angle you'll use on all subsequent folds.
5. Fold Frond A Behind Frond B at a 120 Degree Angle
Continue making the same folds—folding the top behind the one below it. As you work, it will form a hexagonal shape, and you will cross over the stem.
Tip: If you find it too difficult to hold the folds together, once you complete the first rotation, you can staple it together. You will likely only need this for that first circle. The staple will not be visible when you are done.
6. Continue Folding One Frond Behind the Other
Continue the same fold—top one behind the one below—until it is too difficult to go further because your circle has closed up. You will now have a coil of sorts.
It's okay if the rose is not centered. This is caused by one frond being a little wider than the other, or by your angles being a little bit off. I think it still looks great a little off-center, but you can also correct this when you're done.
You should now have a rose form with the ends sticking out from the middle. Fold them over each other a couple more times, even if you are just twisting them together.
Push the two ends down through the center of the rose—through the fold that goes down the middle of the coil. If you can only get it through two layers or so, that's okay. Just pull the ends around the coil like you are turning the hands of a clock. This will wrap it under the layers to the stem. They can really be anywhere, as long as they are tucked away.
8. Put On the Finishing Touches
This step isn't necessary—you could call yourself done right now.
However, if your flower is a bit too off center for your liking, you can staple through the bottom few (two to three) layers. This is usually enough to correct the problem. Just make sure to staple where it can't be seen.
9. Marvel at Your Finished Product!
Tips for Making a Great Palm Rose
1. Keep It Looking Fresh Longer
As the palm dries out, the shape will change. The rose will loosen up and not look quite as good as it did that first day. If you are making your flower ahead of time, submerge it in water with a couple drops of lemon juice. This will keep it hydrated for a few days and looking like new.
2. Strength in Numbers
Make several roses. Some just don't come out as nice as others simply because of the way that particular frond tapers off. Make several so you can pick out your best.
3. Leave the Frays for a More Natural Look
You can weave into your flower some of the thin strings that are hanging off your bud to make give it a wispy look.
4. Whatever Happens, Keep Going!
Don't be discouraged if a frond cracks or if something else happens that you weren't expecting. Just go with it until it's done. Sometimes weird bits sticking out end up giving the flower character and make it more beautiful. You never know until you're done.
Once You've Mastered This Rise, Learn How to Twist It from the Bottom to Make a Beautiful, More 3-Dimensional Palm Rose
Make a Corsage from Your Palm Rose
What Can You Do With Palm Roses?
Once you learn how to make a rose out of palm leaves, you can make beautiful displays to decorate your house, the church, or even to wear! The one shown here was used to decorate the entrance door to the chapel at my church.
Here are some more ideas for what to do with the palm roses you've made:
- Add a few leaves and maybe a sprig of baby's breath to make a beautiful corsage for a man or woman.
- Pin a palm rose in your hair with a bobby pin, or hot glue one (or a few small ones) to a barrette.
- Make a palm floral arrangement in a vase with roses. You may want to consider making some palm rose buds to really complete the arrangement. Use it to decorate your home or your worship space for Palm Sunday.
- Make a display for the pulpit.
- Decorate the table where the palms are being distributed.
- Deliver to shut-ins with their palms or a palm cross.
- Give it to a friend and invite them to church for Easter.
- Make a door display for Holy Week. You can add some roses to a few long palms or arrange them on a wreath base to make a beautiful Holy Week wreath.
Do You Fold Your Palms for Palm Sunday?
Questions & Answers
How do I preserve a palm rose?
To keep it green for a day or so keep it in your fridge. To preserve it longer, allow it to dry out (just keep in a dry place). It will loosen a bit as it dries, but should still hold the flower shape.