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How to Make a Palm Rose for Palm Sunday

I love everything weird and colorful in this world and I try to live a life that will make the world a little better once I'm gone.

You can make a lovely palm rose like this by following this step-by-step guide!

You can make a lovely palm rose like this by following this step-by-step guide!

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° 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° 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° 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 them 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 of 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.

Marvel at your finished product!

Your finished product

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 of 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 making it more beautiful. You never know until you're done.

Learn to make your palm rose into a corsage.  Instructions on making the folded palm leaf are provided.

Learn to make your palm rose into a corsage. Instructions on making the folded palm leaf are provided.

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 below 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 people who live alone 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.

Questions & Answers

Question: How do I preserve a palm rose?

Answer: 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.


JoJo on November 23, 2019:

The first time I saw palm roses was in front of a gas station in South Carolina. They were being made by a young boy with an orange bicycle and selling them. He said I could watch and I found it amazing and bought a couple. I love seeing young people use their talents.

Kerri Bee (author) from Upstate, NY on June 17, 2017:

I don't see why not. Call your local florist.

Nona Rudianto on June 15, 2017:

I live in California, Los Angeles to be exact. Could I have these coconut fronds shipped to me? Please advise...

VioletteRose LM on April 18, 2014:

Palm leaves and coconut tree leaves are really great for craft works, very nice lens!

lionmom100 on May 14, 2013:

While I celebrate Passover rather than Palm Sunday, this doesn't prevent me from admiring the beauty of these palm roses. It would be nice to try doing something like this for the beauty.

Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on April 21, 2013:

Beautiful! I never thought of making them into a rose. Great idea!

Pat Goltz on March 27, 2013:

These are pretty! Palm Sunday is important to me. Thank you for showing us how to do this.

LadyDuck on March 25, 2013:

Nice lens and great tutorial. Thanks for sharing

ologsinquito2 on March 25, 2013:

These are beautiful. I always wondered how to make a palm cross, and now I've found instructions on how to make a palm rose.

hotsquid on March 25, 2013:

Ah, I will try to make one. Thanks for sharing the tips.

hlkljgk from Western Mass on March 23, 2013:

great tutorial, kab. happy easter!

anonymous on July 22, 2012:

What a great idea! I would never have thought of making ANYTHING from them, much less palm roses. Very creative, kab!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 08, 2012:

I used to see these folded palm leaves when I was growing up. Some are really beautiful and well crafted.

AJ from Australia on April 06, 2012:

There are some very elaborate creations here. Happy Easter and Easter Blessings to you.

Kerri Bee (author) from Upstate, NY on April 06, 2012:

@squid-pinkchic18: While it does have many folds, they are repetitive and once you get the swing of it, you can do it really fast.

squid-pinkchic18 on April 06, 2012:

This looks complicated! I don't think I'd have the patience to learn it, but it sure looks cool!

Cindy from Pittsburgh Pa on April 05, 2012:

What a great idea! Thanks, I'm going to try making a rose from my palms!

Mim Art on April 04, 2012:

Very creative! Great lens! Congrats on being Showcased in the Spring and Easter Crafts. Happy Easter!

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on April 04, 2012:

I learned something new to make a palm rose. All these variations are so beautiful!

anonymous on April 02, 2012:

I love this idea and just have not seen it before...congratulations on that lensrank!

nyclittleitaly on March 31, 2012:

This was great. I never thought of a Palm Rose before. I have always made crosses. Thank you for this lens.

K Bechand from NY on March 29, 2012:

I love to put them in my daughters hair on easter :O)

flycatcherrr on March 29, 2012:

How creative! So glad you decided on making a video, too - it always helps to see a craft in action.

Kirsti A. Dyer from Northern California on March 29, 2012:

A very crafty tradition. Looks a bit confusing, so it is good you've got the videos there to explain too.

Dianne Loomos on March 28, 2012:

I'd never seen the palm roses. Very pretty!