Paper Flowers 101 & How to Choose Colors – Part 6

Hi, there and welcome to Paper Flowers 101 & How to Choose Colors. I hope you followed along with my Paper Flowers 101 Series if you haven’t make sure to browse through the blog to catch up.

Today, I like to introduce the gorgeous and talented Donna Tran from Paper Ave.

Donna is an inspiring paper florist, she is keeping my Instagram feed beautiful, colorful and romantic. Believe me, she is one to follow check her Instagram out! So, let’s get started with her bio, followed by tips on “How to Choose Colors for each bouquet.

donna-tran via Paper AveAbout Paper Ave:

Hi! My name is Donna Tran and I am the creator and business owner behind Paper Ave.  I’m honored and thrilled to be able to share my story with all of you today.

I have always had an appreciation for paper products and related projects, especially during the holidays with all the opportunities for gift wrapping!

I started Paper Ave on Instagram back in August 2014 as a place to share my packaging and paper craft projects. I then discovered Samantha Dunne from

I then discovered Samantha Dunne from Dunne with Style and The Creative Exchange.

Where you were given a new friend to “insta-stalk” on Instagram so that you could send them 4-8 gifts that were wrapped as creatively as possible.

I started discovering the use of paper flowers (craft paper form) to embellish gifts and used that as my main theme.  Fast forward a few months later, I found out that I was selected as one of the two winners for the creative wrapping!

Paper Ave - Donna Tran

The rest of spring and summer I spent exploring the realm of paper flowers through tutorials found on Pinterest, and the inspirational book “Paper to Petal” by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell.

As I realized how much I loved the creativity and the process behind the craft, I decided to start up a small side business. Focusing on the gift wrap embellishments and a small selection of crepe paper flowers.

Paper Ave - Donna Tran

Creating a brand and giving Paper Ave an identity was important to me prior to launching the business.

It was through social media that I found Jess Kasteler from Blush Creative Studio. I’m thankful for her help in bringing Paper Ave to life.

Now that the business has been going on for almost a full year, it has also shifted its focus from gift wrap embellishments to crepe paper flowers (bouquets, garlands, floral crowns and custom projects of all sorts).

The florals through Paper Ave are a whimsical and colorful take on the inspiration behind mother nature.

Each petal is individually cut, shaped and glued to form the blooms.

A whole lot of heart and soul goes into my work, sent out only when the project becomes something that I have a hard time parting with.

Paper Ave - Donna Tran

I find a lot of joy in this craft by exploring various techniques, papers, and colors.

Even more rewarding is when I get to see the reactions from others who realize that the flowers they are seeing and touching are made of paper.

The tremendous amount of support from the local Tuesday Together chapter, fellow paper florists, and paper flower enthusiasts.

Paper Ave - Donna Tran

Wedding Projects

This past August was my first large-scale wedding project in which I was able to make a full-sized cascade bouquet for the bride and four additional bouquets for the bridesmaids.

Paper Ave - Donna Tran - WeddingHearing and seeing the reactions of everyone filled my heart in such a way that I never imagined. I felt so honored that the bride was willing to trust me for her special day.

It is by far something that I am most proud of accomplishing with Paper Ave.

I look forward to growing and evolving Paper Ave as a business even further over the next few months.

A small hint of it includes showcasing my products and teaching a workshop at a local studio in San Diego called Mint Studio. Working on a piece for a museum in Huntington Beach and diving more into the wedding industry this upcoming year.

When I work on my paper flowers, these are the essentials in my paper florist tool box:

Paper Flowers 101 & How to Choose Colors

For those who may not know, I am a kitchen and bath designer by day and a paper florist by night and weekends (and perhaps other odd hours throughout).  I have always had a strong attachment to colors and as a designer, it is an important element to understand in order to pick out a harmonious color palette for my clients.  Knowing what works well together within the color wheel, seeking color inspiration from a variety of resources, trusting in the process and sometimes just experimenting!

Part of what I love most about being a paper florist is that we are never limited to using the same colors as present in mother nature, nor are we limited to specific colors during certain seasons.  I love that color can be used as an element to create a form of expression and always enjoy scrolling through my portfolio to see the usage of vibrant colors in my work.  I hope that with these tips, you’ll feel inspired to experiment with various colors to create something whimsical and fun as well!

  • Mother Nature always has a way of having a balanced use of colors.  Take a walk around a garden, take in the scenery at the beach (especially during the sunsets!) and you’ll see that the colors always naturally go together.
  • Seeking inspiration through what is on the runway and through interior design (furniture, tile work, and fabric samples, just to name a few!)
  • A few of my favorite sites/IG feeds for color inspiration: Design Seeds, A Beautiful Mess, Oh Joy!, BRIT + CO
  • My favorite books for color inspiration: The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes and Paper to Petal by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell.
  • Translate what you feel into certain colors.  For example, if you listen to a particular song or study the plating of your dinner for the evening, do particular colors come to mind?
  • Things that I’ve discovered while experimenting with colors –
  • Ombrés or gradients work well and transition from one to the other smoothly
  • Sometimes I’ll mix multiple colors that can be grouped together into the same flower.  You can start with the inner layers being lighter and go darker on the outer layers or vice versa
  • Another good method is to start off with a more neutral palette and bring in the pop of colors as accents (I find that this works really well in my design projects as well)

Paper Flowers 101 & How to Choose Colors

Above all, the most important thing about working with paper flowers is to enjoy the process and to have fun with it! Experiment with colors and techniques and even come up with your own design of what you’d like a flower to look like!  The possibilities are endless.

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