Making Paper Poppies






25 April 2015 marks the centenary of the World War One ANZAC troops (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, at what is now known as ANZAC Cove.  Churchill had the idea to attack the Gallipoli Peninsula and a naval attack ensued, but after several battleships were sunk, they soon realised they needed a ground force to complete their attack. Lieutenant-General Sir Ian Hamilton of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force organised and planned the landing of the ground troops. The ANZAC soldiers were training in Egypt where they were preparing to go to the Western Front, but they were diverted for the task of invading Gallipoli instead. In the early hours of 25 April 1915 ANZAC troops came ashore on the Gallipoli Peninsula, but errors in navigation saw them landed several kilometers north of the intended site at the worst possible place on that stretch of coastline and they were faced with steep cliffs and rugged terrain full of gullies, ravines and ridges. Hamilton would not allow them to evacuate and the ANZACs fought a tough battle to secure their difficult position. Hamilton’s successor, Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Munro finally proposed evacuation in December 1915, and the Gallipoli campaign ended. The campaign may have been a failure, but it is seen as a defining battle that has been a significant part of the emerging national identity of New Zealand, commemorated every 25 April.




The following is a poppy design I created for an ANZAC Day display, which is made up of 8 individual heart shapes – 4 card-stock, and 4 crepe paper. They are about 15-16 cm in diameter when finished.

The inner petals are made of crepe paper so they are light and move in the breeze, to replicate the floppy petals of real poppies, and the separate pieces create a 3D look and add depth.

Make sure that the red colours you choose are different shades, so there is a clear definition between the outer petals and the inner petals to give the poppy a 3D effect. If the colours match, they blend in and the definition of the outer petals and the inner petals will be lost. I used a maroon shade for the base petals made out of card-stock, and a brighter red for the inner petals made out of crepe paper.

If you like, you can make the poppy out of the card stock only and leave off the crepe paper, but if you have time it is nice to add the additional petals.

And if you need lots and lots and lots of poppies, these also look nice colour photocopied.







Paper (to make the heart templates out of)

Red card stock

Red crepe paper

Black card stock (for the centre of the poppy)

Glue stick




Gold split pins

Metal die-cut, or hand-punch (to make the black centre of the poppy)

For the black flower in the centre of the poppy, I used a steel die-cut called “petal party” (style number 98304) made by Memory Box. I used the larger flower, which measures approximately 35mm (1.3 inches).





Below are instructions on how to create your own heart shapes, of course it would be easier to use heart-shaped die-cutters or hand punches. I didn’t have any the right size, so I used ‘old-school’ techniques and created my own templates. If you do have heart cutters, you are lucky, and can skip the first lot of instructions and if nothing else, at least this gives you an indication of the size of the hearts used for this poppy.




The following instructions guide you through making the lines and dots to create the large heart shape and they will look like this:



  1. Fold over the edge of a piece of paper. Along the folded edge, measure 12mm down and make a mark, and another mark at 80mm.


  1. Measure 20mm across the top edge and mark a small dot at that point.


  1. From the left folded edge, measure 42mm in and mark this with a dot, and make another 2 random dots, so you can connect the dots with a straight vertical ruler line.


  1. Down that same vertical line, mark a point 20mm down from the top edge.


  1. Draw a free-hand pencil line of a heart outline using the points as a guide, so it looks like this:







Do the same as above to create a smaller heart shape, but with dimensions of :

  • 10mm and 74mm along the left folded edge,
  • 17mm along the top edge,
  • a series of about 3 dots 38mm in from the left edge, connected vertically,
  • then a point 20mm down that vertical line from the top edge.
  • connect the dots to draw a heart outline, and cut out.





  1. On the cardstock, trace around the edge of the large heart shape, and cut out. You will need 4 of these for each poppy.


  1. Take 4 layers of crepe paper (because crepe paper is so thin, it saves time to cut four layers at once), and trace around the edge of the small heart shape, and cut out.


  1. At 5mm from the tip of each heart, poke a small hole (I used a very large sewing needle for this).


  1. Cut or punch flower shapes out of the black cardstock to make the centre of the poppy.


  1. Thread a black flower onto a gold split-pin, then thread on the 4 crepe paper hearts, adding them on in a clockwise direction, and spreading them out as you go. Then add on the 4 cardstock hearts, and arrange the petals so they look even. When happy with the arrangement, secure the pieces by turning the poppy over and spread the split pin, pressing down firmly.


  1. Use a glue-stick first on the cardstock hearts, and glue along the edges where the cardstock hearts touch to keep them in position. The crepe paper hearts are supposed to have some movement, so you may not need to glue these at all, unless they look too floppy.
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