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Coffee-Filter Water-Lily How-To

To make varying colors, play around with different saturations and mixes of dye.

Photography: Kate Mathis

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2013


  • Coffee filters

  • Food coloring

  • Scissors

  • Glue


  1. Fill a pie plate with 1 inch of water; squeeze in a few drops of dye. To make a lily pad, dip a filter in and let it fully absorb dye (the moisture will flatten it). Dry on a flat surface covered with newspaper. For a flower, quickly dip either center or edges of a stack of filters about 1/4 inch thick into pie plate. Let dry, then separate stack into groups of 3.

  2. Fold each stack of 3 filters in half 3 times, into eighths. Trim rounded edge into a petal shape, as shown. Remove outer filter, and trim petal edge on stack of remaining two folded filters by 1/4 inch. Then remove next outer filter, and trim last petal edge by another 1/4 inch. Unfold all filters.

  3. Cut a radial slit along 1 fold in all 3 filters. From small filter, cut away 2 petals; from medium, cut away 1; leave large as is. Take 1 filter and lightly brush or squeeze glue all over 1 petal adjacent to slit; overlap opposite petal and press to adhere. Repeat with the rest, so you have a 5-, a 6-, and a 7-petal layer. Press a finger into centers to slightly flatten bottoms.

  4. Lightly brush or squeeze glue inside centers of medium and large filters, and nest each layer inside the next largest. (Stagger placement of glued seams so flower doesn't tilt.) To make a stamen, cut a strip of dyed filter. Accordion-fold and cut fringe with scissors, as shown, then glue and roll. Glue into lily center.

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