Fashion designer Mabina Alaka believes a simple brooch can completely change the look of any outfit.

Here she demonstrates how to create a Kanzashi Flower, called Tsumami-Zaiku in Japanese.

Mabina said the traditional technique can be used to provide different looks to your outfit, and show off your personality.

“The accessories can speak for you.”

Read more: Mabina Alaka shares her style tips

Mabina Alaka demonstrates how to make this Kanzashi Flower.

The technique used to create the petals in this lovely floral piece is similar to origami, and requires perfect folds.

To make these flowers Mabina prefers to use Chirimen crepe fabric, a traditional Japanese fabric used to make Kimonos.

The fabric has unique features as it drapes well and doesn’t crease, but don’t get it wet as it does shrink.

You can also use cotton although it is harder to work with.

Japanese fabric is cute and colourful.


  • Glue (tacky or PVA glue)
  • Tweezers (longer handles work best)
  • Fabric (Chirimen or cotton squares)
  • Brooch clip
  • Cardboard circle base
  • Material circle for backing
  • Single bead
  • Tray for glue
  • It is best to get everything ready before you get started, including fabric cut to size and glue on a tray.
Get everything set up before you get started.


  1. Make sure hands are clean.
  2. Glue the backing piece of material onto the board and fold around the edges, removing any air bubbles.
  3. Take one piece of square fabric.
  4. Fold in half, in half again, fold back and shape.
  5. Dip edge in glue and place onto front of brooch.
  6. Repeat step until all areas are covered going around the brooch.
  7. Glue coloured bead into the middle.
  8. Glue brooch clip on back, taking note of which way you want to be the top.
  9. Wait a day before wearing to ensure it dries well.


  • Use good tools. It will make your life a lot easier if you have tweezers with strong grip and good material to work with.
  • You need patience. While it took Mabina about five minutes to make the brooch for a demonstration it can easily take half an hour or more, even with all the materials pre-prepared.
  • Be creative. Try a few different things like adding a contrast colour for a different effect.
The finished result.

The Brisbane based designer offers a variety of workshops, and also has a range of her designs for sale.

Do you make your own jewellery or accessories?