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These instructions are for a single paper lotus measuring 5 inches in diameter and 2 inches high. Select papers in three colors, one each for the leaves, outer petals, and inner petals (we used green, blue, and pink, respectively). From each color of paper, cut four 2-1/2 X 5-inch strips. (You can make your flower larger by cutting larger strips; just make them twice as long as they are wide.)
Fold a strip in half so it forms a long rectangle. If there is a wrong side to the paper, fold so that the right side faces in.
Fold one corner back so the edge is flush with the crease. Repeat with the remaining corners.
Fold a long edge up to meet the crease. Repeat with the other long edge. Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 for all 12 paper strips.
Hold one inner petal strip (ours is pink) with the right side up, and nest an outer petal strip (blue) in the fold. Then nestle a leaf strip (green) in the outer petal strip. (It will look a bit like a paper taco when you're finished.) Tuck in all corners. Repeat for the rest of the strips until there are four sets of nested petals and leaves.
Create a lotus "heart" (center) by cutting several 2-inch-long pieces of yarn; tie them together at the midpoint with an 8-inch length of yarn. Sandwich the four nested sets with long sides are together and leaves up; secure in the center with a rubber band., Tie the yarn heart to the rubber band. Make a star out of the paper sandwich by separating the points and lightly creasing them into a star shape. Flip the flower over so that the right sides of the papers are facedown and the yarn heart is on top.
To make the lotus flower "bloom," gently pry the inner petals (ours are pink) from the outer petals, bending them up and toward the center.
Then pry the (blue) outer petals from the (green) leaves, also bending them up and toward the yarn heart, leaving the leaves flat. Adjust the petals and leaves as necessary.