Saturday, 23 February 2019

Ivy Leaf Geraniums -tutorial


is famous for many things,
with one of them being
its flowered covered balconies, 
and so, 
since I am patiently awaiting some products for the Villa's bathroom,
and since I am STUCK once again in a miniature limbo,
I thought that I would try and make some flowers 
to fill up a long planter box 
which I'd also made,    
to eventually sit on the wide ledge 
directly outside the Villa's 3rd floor bathroom window.

The length of the planter box is 6.5 inches/16.5cm
which is unrealistically long 
but since I didn't want to make 2 planter boxes, 
I'm okay with it. 

 I decided to fill the box with 

Having previously made regular geraniums from kits, 
I felt I already had a good idea of how to do it. 
 And having collected A LOT of paper punches from thrift stores and on-line vendors,
I thought I could do it from scratch and hopefully well enough to give me the look I was aiming for; 

There are a total of SEVEN individual plants in the planter box.
4 pink & white ones 
3 solid red ones. 

It took me about 3 days to completely assemble all of the plants. 

I'm pretty happy with the way they look 
and so I'm going to pass on what I did,
 which is neither special or unique,
 I thought you might like to see the entire process 
from beginning to end. 

To any "professional"mini flower maker looking at these 
be forewarned- 
they ARE NOT "anatomically correct"
because I'm far too lazy to be that precise

 what I'm showing you here
is how I've chosen to make them 
using a style I'm very fond of 
and like to call:
"Close Enough!"

with that said-
On With The Show! 

The pink geraniums are made using both plain 
and acrylic painted 
photocopy paper. 
Some of the red ones 
were also made using the painted photocopy paper.  

After making 2 of the red plants with the photocopy paper,
I switched over to Japanese writing paper
which I'd originally found at the thrift store.  
I later found the same packs of paper at a local mall retailer which sells DAISO Japanese products.  
It was $2.00 for 80 sheets.
The weight of the Japanese #19 writing paper is similar to old cigarette or tracing paper. 

For the pink geraniums 
I used a 5 petal paper punch 
 for both the blossoms AND for the leaves .

The smallest of the flowers was what I used for the flower heads and
the medium and the large punches 
were what I used for their leaves. 
Here's what I punched out

sorting through the 3 sizes was a bit of a pain 
since they all looked the same! 

I used all 3 sizes in green for their leaves 

For the red geranium plant I switched to using the painted Japanese writing paper.
The reason was that it was not only thinner,
but the blossoms held their shape better.

I'll elaborate more on this a little further down.

Here's how I built the plants:

I began with 3-4 lengths of 30 gage paper covered florist's wire

I folded the ends up about a third 

Using a pair of pliers
I twisted the folded ends together to a length of about 
1 and 1/2 inches.
This stem gave me plant base as well as a handle to hang onto 
as they were being constructed. 

 I fanned out the stems and cut them down 
into irregular lengths.  
The upright ones would be the taller plants 
and the bent wires; the cascading ones.

I  then cut  pieces of the leftover wire 
into short lengths 
of less than an inch 
The short lengths were bent into a 
"V" shape

The "V's" were then wrapped around each of the stems. 
 To secure them into position, 
 I pulled both ends tightly by using my pliers

Each sub-stem will support flower heads and/or leaves.

This is what it looked like when the armature was done
The only glue I used throughout this project was 
Carpenter's Wood Glue. 

To stabilized all the connections and add strength to the armature,
I coated everything with a thin layer of the wood glue. 
I used a metal ball tool to apply the glue 
a toothpick would've worked equally as well. 

I made sure to completely coat the joints of each of the sub-stems
so they wouldn't move about when the flowers were attached.

The glue blobs which you can see below
where smoothed out using the ball tool.

Everything dried quite quickly!

Once the glue had set
I prepared to add the flower heads.

I found some fake plant parts in my stash
 which had tiny styrofoam balls glued to it.  
I carefully picked the little balls off.

Once the styrofoam balls were removed
I pierced them through with a corsage pin, 
 Glue was added to the ends of the stems and the tiny balls were slipped onto the ends through the hole I'd made.
( I am showing a straight pin in the photo below
however the corsage pin was better
since it made a hole which was the right size for the wire

The petals will be applied to all of the little balls
The balls were given a coat of Wood glue 
right before the petals were attached.

The petals for the pink/white geraniums
 were first cupped using a ball tool 
which helped to break the tension of the paper, 
 for the red ones
I changed my technique to what I show below. 

Using a sharp pair of scissors
I cut each of  the paper flowers towards its center.

using fine pointed tweezers
I gripped the flower on one side of the cut
 and wrapped the rest of the paper around
the tweezers forming a cone-shape

I dipped the end of the flower cone into the wood glue 

and then onto the styrofoam ball

I continued this process until the entire ball was covered.
After I began building the red geraniums,
I noticed that the stiffness of the paper
 was causing the flower to unfurl as they dried. 

So it was at this point, that I stopped using the photocopy paper and switched to using the Japanese Writing paper, which continued to hold its shape as the blossoms were glued to the balls. 

To make the pink/white geraniums more interesting,
I coloured the flower heads
with felt pens. 

 I cut into the petals of each flower head with very sharpe scissors, to help separate their petals.
The leaves for the pink plants were also coloured 
with felt pens.  

To make a clear distinction between the foliage of the pink plants and the red ones,
I decided to use this shamrock paper punch which I'd purchased from the Japanese $2.00 store.

For their leaves,
 I used painted Origami paper 
rather than the photocopy paper, just to try it out. 
There wasn't any significant difference between them.

I used the same method of application for the leaves of both the red and the pink plants. 

here's how

The shamrocks punches came in two different sizes.
Using a ball tool
I pressed along the outer edges of the leaf shapes
which cupped them.

Then I flipped them over and using the same ball tool
I pressed them down in the middle of the paper.
This gave the paper an undulation.
This technique is found in Pepperwood Miniatures booklet of 


To apply the leaves
I dipped the tiny stems in the
Wood glue and attached a leaf at the joint of the sub-stems.

I used my tweezers to compress the paper stems around the wire armature of the geranium
eventually working my way up and down the length of the plant

The photos above illustrate how I applied the leaves
for each stem of the geraniums
HOWEVER  in reality
I finished ALL the flower heads FIRST
and THEN
I applied all of the leaves.
as shown in the red plant below

Once all the leaves had been glued on,
I finished around their edges with a red felt pen.
I also used a green felt pen to fill in the white undersides 
of each of the flower-head balls.

When that was done,
I clipped off some of the length of the handle 
leaving enough of a stem to be able to 'PLANT' into the styrofoam base of the planter box. 

I made a potting soil mixture of
 wood glue,
 dried coffee,

 and tea grounds. 
This thick dirt paste, 
was layered onto the top of the styrofoam inside the box.

Then the wire ends of each of the the geranium plants
was forced through the wet soil and into the foam base


a planter box
a la'Venetian Style
as we say in Canada,

not bad eh? 


One final observation: Since posting this tutorial, I've been making more of these plants using only the Japanese Writing Paper for the flower heads.  I've found that to get a really clean cut using the paper punches, I needed to paint ONE or BOTH sides of the paper with a nearly undiluted acrylic paint. Leaving the paper unpainted as I'd done with the photocopy paper, produced more tears in it than usable confetti and then when it was made wet by the glue, it became even more difficult to use.  
So: painting the paper with acrylics gives it more stability, cuts cleaner without requiring any paper backing, and doesn't compromise the weight of the paper or it's flexibility.  
Just so you know. 😉