Before I taught Spanish, I taught two years of English as a Second Language and loved every minute of it. I worked closely with a small group of students from all around the world and they made my world a million times brighter. They made me laugh every day, like when my wonderful Nigerian student Rasheed asked me what “nipple” means because he’d heard it in the hallway. Try explaining that one without pictures or gestures! My ESL students taught me how to make a delicious pozolé (a Mexican soup), how to be resilient in the midst of incredibly hard circumstances, and how to see the world around me with curious eyes. One of those students, a sweet girl from rural Mexico named Lucía, also taught me a more practical skill: how to make Mexican tissue paper flowers the way her mamá in Mexico had taught her.
These tissue paper flowers are a traditional decoration at Mexican celebrations of all sorts, and Lucía and I made bunches of them that day while other students finished their standardized testing. Since then, I have made about a thousand of these for our house, for baby showers or other parties, or to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with all my students. These are beautiful in a vase, strung on a string like a garland, or tied together to make big puffy decorations for parties or bridal/baby showers!
The process below is what I’ve refined after teaching a couple hundred unruly middle schoolers how to make these. I will say it is an art form, not a science, so feel free to play around with these until you find a style that works for you! All you need is tissue paper, scissors, and some sort of wire/pipe cleaner to tie the middle and you’ll be good to go.