Wednesday, June 16, 2010
This is the first part of a series of 3 posts talking about nylon flowers.
In this post we are going to discuss tools of the trade. What they are, what they're used for, and where to get them. I will be plugging my favorite nylon flower store, New Sheer Creations, a lot on this post and hope you check it out. They have everything you need to start out, and really good prices.
These are just your typical stocking fabric to the colors of your choosing. In the past, I have attempted to buy cheap ones and dye them myself, but I actually found that it's cheaper to just buy them, not to mention you have more range and consistency in the colors. Tho, if you already have some around with runs, it would be a great way to recycle them into something pretty. They come in many solid colors as well as aggregated colors that make your flowers look even more realistic.
Rings are a set of different sized PVC piping that allow you to form petals with consistent sizes. For this you can use anything that's round, where you can slide the petal form off from. Tiny spice jars, or sauce bottles work really well, and are available around the house in many sizes. I like having the rings because it's convenient to use, and keep. But it definitely works just fine using bottles and jars.
The wires are used to create the form of petals or even branches and leaves. They come in different gauges. Usually the larger the gauge the thinner the wire and the smaller the petal/leave it should be used on. Along with that, the opposite is true. The smaller the gauge, the thicker the wire, and the larger the petals/leaves can be. Smaller gauge wires tend to be stronger because they're thicker, allowing it to keep forms of larger petals and leaves much better. These come in different colors that can only enhance your flowers. There's something about seeing that shiny edge of a petal that just beautifies your work.
Stem wires are used for... well, stems and branches. They usually come in green, and on occasion are wire wrapped with green paper. They are often sturdy wires, not meant to be bent a whole lot.
IMO, this is the real magic of the craft. Nylon threading is this weird sheer like threading that has very elastic-y properties. The nylon threading is used to tie the nylon ends together, and attach the petals and leaves to the stems. Their properties are so that, you just have to wrap them around what you want to tie together several times, all the while pulling, and once it feels secure, you just pull the thread to cut. The pieces stay together. Because of the sheer elastic properties, pulling actually seems to make the fabric and thread almost grip together. Anyway, this stuff is great, and a little goes a long way.
I like to think of floral tape as stuff that can hide all the mistakes (not that I make any... a hem). Floral tape is a waxy type of tape that you would typically use to cover the parts of the flower where the nylon petals are attached to the stems, and so forth. It's also pretty cool in that when you press the tape together, it adheres to each other. Floral tape is available in several colors and can be used to make special stamens wrap wire to make branches or conceal joins.
Tho, you can easily make your own stamens, sometimes it's quicker to just buy ready made stamens. They add another special touch to make your flowers look more realistic. Stamens come in different sizes and different colors. Tho I haven't tried, you can make different stamens by gluing and cutting strips of nylon or, as mentioned above, wrapping wires together to make them look like the specially shaped stamens of the flower you are mimicking. There are some ready made stamens that are not as easy to replicate, party due to the materials used, such as the beaded stamens that have really really small beads attached regular baton looking stamens that make it look almost like water molecules.
On occasion, dowels can be used for shaping purposes. Wrapping a wire around a dowel gives it a wavy look that works well for some petals.
Pliers and Scissors
Some typical tools that you can use for this craft are probably available in your toolboxes. Pliers and scissors are used to tighten the wire forms and cut the excess nylon.
Another Youtube video for you:
Hope you enjoyed the tour of the tools. Next week we'll cover some of the techniques that I've mentioned in this post. See ya then. :)