Poppies to make

Making poppies to present at a commemorative service is a lovely way to involve children in a local ceremony.

Symbol of commemoration

The poppy is a strong symbol of commemoration. Commonwealth countries have used the poppy in Remembrance Day services since the early 1920s.

Poppies are often:

  • worn on clothing
  • placed beside names on honour boards
  • woven into wreaths on days of commemoration

During World War I, red poppies were among the first plants that sprouted on the battlefields and rear areas of Belgium and northern France. The vivid red of the poppies reminded many people of soil being drenched with soldiers' blood.

The poppy's popularity stems from a poem written by Canadian medic, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, in 1915. The poem recalls the red poppies on the war graves of soldiers who died on the Western Front.

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

A young American teacher, Moina Michael, wrote a poem after reading In Flanders Fields in 1918. Miss Michael's poem is called We Shall Keep the Faith. She is credited with being the first to wear a poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

Make a poppy

Follow these instructions to make your own poppy.

People laying poppies on a stone monument

Poppies being left on a memorial

If you would like to make your own poppy, follow these instructions.

You'll need:

  • thin cardboard
  • red crepe paper
  • green pipe cleaner
  • black paper
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • glue

What to do:

  1. Use scissors to cut out a poppy shape (see image) on cardboard to make a template.
  2. Place the poppy template on the red crepe paper and trace around it with a pencil.
  3. Cut out the poppy shape with scissors.
  4. To make the stalk, take a pipe cleaner and bend the end over twice at 1cm lengths (see image).
  5. Push the straight end of the pipe cleaner through the middle of the red poppy shape and continue to thread it through until the bent end sits against the middle of the poppy.
  6. Cut a small circle out of the black paper and glue it onto the centre of the poppy. The centre will secure the green pipe cleaner to the red crepe paper poppy.
  7. Bend and shape the pipe cleaner and poppy petals.

IDEA: Combine many poppies in a circle to make a wreath.

An outline of a flower shape
Poppy petal template


An outline of a stem shape
Poppy stem template

Last updated: 4 March 2020

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2020), Poppies to make, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 22 January 2021, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/commemoration/event-planning/poppies
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