Nope, those aren’t flowers on a poinsettia. They’re leaves (or more accurately, bracts). Top your table with crafted faux versions, the real deal—or both!

By Gary Thompson
October 14, 2020
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No need for origami skills. These beautiful poinsettias are made of paper cocktail napkins. Use them as napkin rings or to decorate wine bottles or wrapped gifts.

Poinsettia Craft by Kim Hutchison
| Credit: Adam Albright

How to Make Paper Cocktail Napkin Poinsettias

Poinsettia Craft by Kim Hutchison
| Credit: Adam Albright

STEP 1 Fold a red paper cocktail napkin from corner to corner, creating a triangle. Repeat twice.

STEP 2 Use scissors to round the short sides of the triangle, leaving the corners intact, so it looks like half a bract. (This might take a trial run or two.)

STEP 3 Open and cut apart the four layers.

 STEP 4 Stack and fan the layers.

STEP 5 Fold the layers in half.

STEP 6 Use a hole punch to make an opening in the bottom center of the stack.

STEP 7 Thread 6 inches of string through the hole, leaving equal-length tails; knot to secure.

STEP 8 Pinch and lightly twist the knotted area, then open plant.

STEP 9 With a hot glue gun, dab glue in the open center and sprinkle with glitter; let dry.

STEP 10 Tie your paper poinsettia around a dinner napkin.

Pro Tips for Real Poinsettias

Credit: Adam Albright

Poinsettia leaves become real showstoppers when cut for petite displays. Place them in little glasses, but first dab away sap and burn the ends with a lighter; this keeps the water clear and makes bracts last longer (about two or three days). To glam up your containers, brush glue onto small vases or votive holders, then sprinkle with fine glitter.

POINSETTIA CARE

It doesn’t take a whole lot to keep poinsettias happy. Just watch the water and temperature levels.

BUNDLE THEM UP Poinsettias are considered tropical plants, first brought from their native Mexico to Washington, D.C., in 1825 by diplomat Joel Roberts Poinsett. Transport them in a box or plastic sleeve if the temperature dips below 55 degrees.

BRIGHTEN THEIR DAY Once you get the plants home, keep them at room temperature and in a spot where they’ll get plenty of indirect sunlight—but don’t let them touch cold windows. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch. Don’t let the water pool, though.

WATCH THEIR FEET In keeping with the holiday spirit, poinsettia plants are pretty forgiving. The main reasons they might look weak are standing water and too-cool room temps. Healthy leaves should face up (not curl inward), and healthy roots should be white.

HANDLE WITH CARE Contrary to popular belief, poinsettia leaves are merely irritating, not fatal, if eaten by curious pets or kids—expect a mild tummy ache. However, the milky white sap can cause a skin rash, so wear protective gloves if you’re sensitive.

COLOR IDEAS

Credit: Adam Albright

Crimson may say Christmas, but a coral or yellow poinsettia looks right from fall through New Year’s Day. Try these varieties: ‘Majestic Pink’, ‘Gold Rush’, ‘Love U Hot Pink’, ‘Peppermint Ruffles’, ‘Classic White’ and ‘Envy’.