Hi. So, for a variety of reasons, I've had to downsize--and simplify--my crafting operations. Which had actually turned out to be great, because it's led me to discovering something new that under other circumstances I never would've had the courage to try: plant making. At first, I was held back by a) the fact that paper crafts intimidate me and b) there really isn't a lot of readily available information out there. Unlike in the rest of the art world, where people pretty much have the confidence to share techniques, a lot of miniaturists seem to be a little...less into sharing. Which is unfortunate, but a subject for a different post.
There are some kits out there, and some leaf sheets and things that you can purchase from a variety of different suppliers, and I've tried them but with generally disappointing results. So this is my own technique that I've been developing--and am still perfecting, more posts to follow--that uses computer paper, a mouse pad (retro!), craft paint, a high quality printer, and some scissors.
First, as far as creating the leaves, there are a couple of things you can do. You can just paint paper and then cut or punch out some leaves (Hanky Panky makes some really nice leaf punches) or, if you're feeling ambitious, you can get crafty with some pictures of leaves and PhotoShop. Which is what we did. My better half is the computer savvy one. Whatever you do, before you paint, spray both sides of your paper with two fine coats of Matte spray. I use Krylon.
Then, if you're using a leaf sheet--someone else's or one you made yourself--paint both sides before you cut anything out! Paint the back an opaque color, or a mix of different colors, and then paint the front with a wash. Just enough to tint the paper, not enough to obscure the design. This will serve two purposes: soften the lines and make them more natural, and make the little white bits when you cut out your leaves less noticeable.
|Me, cutting out some peperomia leaves.|
The main tools here are a mouse pad, to shape the leaves on, and the same Kemper tools you use for polymer clay. I have a couple small/extra small double-ended ball styluses, here. I have a few other sizes as well, but these seem to work the best for me. Our local craft store, such as it is, carries virtually nothing anyone would want so I've gotten most of this stuff on Amazon--and gotten some very good deals, too!
|These leaves came out super blue in a lot of the pictures, I have no idea why.|
|Embossed versus non-embossed.|
What I did to shape the leaves was first press an intent in the part of the leaf where the stem attaches, score over the main veins and then flip it over and crimp the edge of the leaf on the reverse. I found it easiest to use both styluses at the same time, one in each hand.
|Some leaves that are done.|
Now I cut some stems. I didn't really know what I was doing the first few times, so I cut the stems way too long--about three inches each. Closer to two is more than sufficient, at least for such a short plant as this. Experiment!
|Green-coated floral wire.|
Then I dipped the tip of each "stem" first into some white tacky glue and then into some superglue. The brand I've been using, that I'm very happy with, is Vibra-Tite Instant Superglue. My better half purchased it and has generously donated it to the cause. After the stems were dry, I touched up the edges of the leaves with the same paint I used on the back.
|You can use Reynold's Wrap for anything.|
|My leaves, hanging out in some floral wire until I need them.|
|Then I took them outside into the fresh air...|
|Then my teenage, er, "decorating" skills came in handy. I used gloss spray, because these leaves in particular tend to be quite shiny in real life.|
|One of the finished products in a Clive Brooker mossy pot.|
Then, I made another peperomia, since I had a bunch of leftover leaves. Indeed, I have even more leaves but I'm planning on using them as ground cover in another project--stay tuned, more pictures (hopefully) to come in the next few days. This time, I used a larger pot and, after scouring the internet for inspiration pictures, decided to make it a little wider. I put some Paper Clay in the bottom and, about halfway through sticking in the stalks, realized that the white was going to be visible and so painted the top with burnt umber craft paint. So I recommend doing that before you start!
|Again, for some reason, this came out looking really blue--I blame my halogen work lamp.|
|Sometimes, once the plant was getting a little more "fluffy," I found it easiest to place the stems into the Paper Clay with tweezers.|
So that's it, to begin with! More is coming; I'm currently working on some potted trees, and on a few other smaller potted plants. I haven't really gotten into flowers yet, but as one of my projects is a dwarf lilac tree (we have one outside, near our screen porch, so I look at it a lot and always think how lovely it is) I'll have to!
Questions? Thoughts? Suggestions?