Kanzashi Flower Tutorial | How to make Kanzashi flowers

Kanzashi Flower Tutorial | How to make Kanzashi flowers

Kanzashi are hair ornaments used in traditional Japanese hairstyles. One of their main features is the application of intricate little fabric flowers. With a step-by-step photo tutorial and video provided by uber-craftette Spangle, we show you how to make your own cute kanzashi flowers. These can go on brooches, bags, hairpins, fridge magnets… oh, how kawaii!

Kanzashi – hair ornaments used in traditional Japanese hairstyles – first appeared when women abandoned the traditional taregami hairstyle (where the hair was kept straight and long, and adopted beautiful-crazy and intricate coiffures. Nowadays, kanzashi are most often worn by brides and professional kimono wearers such as geisha, tayu and yujo or adepts in Japanese tea ceremony and ikebana.

Kanzashi flower-making video

In a minute, we’ll show you how to make kanzashi flowers yourself. First, watch this video tutorial to see exactly how it’s done!

Kanzashi are fabricated from a wide range of materials such as lacquered wood, gold and silver plated metal, tortoiseshell and silk, and recently, plastic. In fact, early bakelite kanzashi are extremely collectible.

We’re going to look at how to make kanzashi flowers for Hana kanzashi! With Hana kanzashi, the long fluttering flowers are created by Japanese artisans from squares of silk by a technique known as tsumami. Each square is multiply folded with the aid of pincers and cut into a single petal (we’ll show you how). These are attached to backings of metal to create whole flowers, or attached to silken threads to create strings of blossom. Butterflies and birds are also common in making Hana kanzashi. Additional detailing of stamens is created by the use of mizuhiki, which is a strong thin twine made from washi paper.

Kanzashi flower tutorial – How to make kanzashi flowers

kanzashi tutorial

Get some nice fabric off-cuts (shiny gothique satin or pretty pastels, it’s up to you). Fold them diagonally once, then twice. Now flap two corners of the triangle (the ones which join a folded side to a raw side) in to the centre point. Push up the fold in the middle to create a ‘nubbin’ surrounded by an outer wing. You’ve made a petal of your kanzashi flower! Now make some more. Make as many as you like – five is nice and simple, or for a detailed looking flower, especially a large one, you might need around 12-14 petals. Next take a needle and thread and sew through the raw edges of each petal you make, making sure that each petal has its nubbin pointing upwards as you attach it so all the petals face the same way. Cut off any excess raw edge on the longer flaps if you need to, and tie off your thread.

Finishing the kanzashi flower

You’ll need to disguise the hole in the middle of your kanzashi flower. There are so many ways to do this, but you could sew on a small piece of felt, or use a glue gun to glue on a little plastic bead or button.

You can now glue this charming little flower onto a hairpin or brooch pin or fridge magnet. Flowers! Kanzashi flowers everywhere! On your bags and in your hair! Oh, how cute and kawaai…

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  Japanese culture