Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making Nylon Flowers, Part 3: Making Plumerias

Making Nylon Flower Series:  Part 1 |  Part 2  |  Part 3

This is the last post to our Making Nylon Flowers series.  In this post, I'm going to show you how to make nylon plumerias.  I, personally, like the delicate, yet simple look of a plumeria, and the fragrance of one is out of this world fantastic. Although we can't quite replicate the fragrance, we can try to replicate a long lasting version of the plumeria flower. :)  I apologize in advance for being too wordy, there's a lot of information to explain and cover.  So, let's get started.


- Yellow /white variegated nylon (plumerias exist in a few other colors so this may be different)
- #24 white wire for making petals
- #2 stem wire
- #3 ring from the ring set
- nylon thread
- cotton balls
- light green floral tape

Making the Petals
First, we'll make the petal's wire frames.  Each plumeria flower has 5 petals, and there are usually more than one flower in a branch with a mix of open and closed flowers.

1. To make a single petal wire frame, use your #3 ring, and wrap the white wire around and twist ends together leaving a 1" - 1.5" handle.  Remove wire frame from ring, and shape wire (as shown) into a petal.  Make a total of 2 of these.

Here, we introduce making twin petal wire frames, which just means that we're gonna make a wire frame with two petals.  The advantage of doing it this way versus 2 single petal wire frames is that it's easier to assemble the flower as a whole when you have less pieces to assemble.

2.  To make a twin petal frame, start with a 2" white wire, held on the ring like shown in the picture.  Next, use more white wire, and starting about 1" - 1.5"  from the end, hold this wire perpendicular to the middle of the 2" wire.  Wrap the long white wire around the ring and 2" wire for two full rotations and cut 1" - 1.5" past the two rotations.

3.  Here's where it gets a bit tricky, it may help to use pliers.  While continuing to hold the wire that is wrapped around the ring, pull up both ends of the 2" wire and twist together.  Now, you should have two wire ends from the wire that was wrapped around the ring.  Pull those up along with the 2" wire ends, and twist all wires together (use pliers for a tighter twist).

4.  Remove wire frame from ring, and shape wire (as shown) into a petal.  Separate the petals and the put wire frame aside. Make a total of 4 twin petal frames. (2 twin and 1 single per flower, and 2 flowers, 2 buds for each plumeria branch).

At this point we should have the wire frames for all the petals for our branch.  Next we need to wrap them with nylon.   Because the petals of plumerias are generally more opaque, we are going to double wrap them with nylon.  The simpliest way to do this, is not to wrap the frames twice, but rather to use the nylon tube unopened.

5.  Wrap each petal frame (single or twin) with nylon.  The single wire frames will be easier to wrap, stretch the nylons over the frame.  Gather the nylon near the base of the petal and tie down with the nylon thread.  The nylon thread does not need to be knotted, just simply wrap it around the handle (as close to the base of the flower as you can), pull tightly and wrap around again (repeat several times till you feel its secure; around 5-10 times for me).  It helps to hold down the top half of your petal and nylon with one hand while the other hand stretches down and bunches the nylon around the base and handle.

The twin wire frames will be a bit tougher.  You have to give the nylon a bit of slack because when you close off with the nylon thread you also need to floss the nylon thread in between the petals so they look like two distinct petals.  This will probably need more rotations of the nylon thread to feel secure.

6.  Cut the excess nylon near the base of the flower leaving a quarter inch to a half inch of loose nylon. Continue wrapping all petal wire frames.

You should now have all your petals wrapped.  Let's assemble the individual flowers.  Each flower will use 2 of the twin petal frames and 1 of the single for a total of 5 petals.

Assembly of the Flower

7.  There really isn't any particular order of which to put these together but I usually start with putting the 2 twin petals together, then adding the last single petal to fill the void.  To do this, take each of the twin petal frames and bend the petals down towards the handle a bit.  This just gives you some room when you place the other twin petals next to it.   Line up the base of the petals together as best as you can.  When you're happy with the placement, grab your nylon thread, wrap and pull around both petal frame's base/handle until it feels secure.  (Note:  try to wrap the thread around the same area where you wrapped the thread for the individual petal frames. )  You do not need to cut the thread before you put the last petal. When you are finished tying the two frames together, you should have a bit of freedom to position the petals to start looking like the plumeria flower. To put the last petal on, bend the petal down towards the handle, like before, and position it in the flower to fill the void that the 4 (2 twins) petals left.  When you're happy with placement, tie down with the nylon thread.  Since this is the last petal of the flower, you can secure the petal frames together by wrapping the nylon thread around a lot more times (I'm talking 15-20 or more).  You can also continue to wrap the nylon thread down the handle and back up for more security.

8.  Once you've securely attached all the petals, you can shape the flower more to look like a plumeria.  Arrange the petals evenly around and gently bend each petal down to mimic an open flower.  I think this is the toughest part, because it can be difficult to mimic the curves of a real flower.

9.  Use floral tape to hide your mistakes and finish up the flower.  Wrap the handle of the flower with floral tape, gently stretching the tape as you wrap to make it stickier, and hiding all of the nylon thread as you go.

Your flower is done.  You can stop there if you'd like, or you can continue on to make the whole branch. (Technically, since I mentioned for you to make enough for two flowers) you're pretty close to doing the whole branch.)

Making the Flower Bud

10. Take your cotton balls and unroll them. Seriously, if you look closely, the cotton ball is actually a strip of cotton rolled up into a ball. (at least mine are -- hopefully yours are too).

11.  Cut another piece of wire, maybe 4" or so and make a hook on one end.  Hook the end of the cotton ball strip and flatten the hook with some pliers.  It should hold the cotton in place as you roll the cotton strip around the wire to form a bud.  I created a bud that's about 1 - 1.25" in length and maybe 1/2" diamater.

12. Shape the cotton into a bud then wrap with nylon.  You'll want to double the nylon again when you wrap this.  You may actually consider a quadruple wrapping of the nylon, to give the bud a denser color, tho this might not be necessary (it's up to you).  Tie the nylon thread around the base of the bud to secure the bud together. (just like the single petal).

13.  Wrap some floral tape around the base and handle of the bud to cover up all the nylon thread.  :)

There you have it, now make another bud, if you'd like.

Assembly of the Plumeria Branch

Plumeria flowers tend to all be at the same general level with each other in a branch (it kind of shapes it's own bouquet).

14.  Start with one flower and a stem.  Affix the flower to the stem with nylon thread.  I like to wrap a bit of floral tape after I attach each flower/bud just to make sure everything is covered.  Continue attaching one flower and bud at a time, giving the flowers their own bit of space (don't attach to close to the flower's base).

15.  Once you're finished attaching all the flowers, cover the whole stem with more floral tape.  The stem can sometimes be a different color from the floral tape you're using.  This creates consistency throughout the whole branch.  Curve the stem to give it a more natural look.

That's it!  Now you can place these flowers in a vase, add it as a gift embellishment, etc, etc.  This is just one flower you can create with nylon flowers.  Really, skies the limit when you let your imagination run wild. Just don't forget to have fun in the process.

I also recommend this book, as it has many different nylon flower creations that you can try and the pictures just look amazing. :)


Ladyaero said...

Soooo pretty!

Fe said...

Thanks @Ladyaero. :)

Anonymous said...


Violet said...


zafran said...
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Amanda said...

I've put together a round up of pretty faux flower projects on Craft Gossip today and included your post. :) You can see it here

If you would like to share the Craft Gossip love and show your visitors you've been featured, you can grab a button here!

Fe said...

@Amanda -- Thanks very much for including my post. I've added the button to my sidebar. :D

Anonymous said...

From Where can I get the ring set in India

Annet said...

its soo beautiful :) definitely gonna try this :):)

Hindustanka said...

beautiful! thanks for a nice tutorial :)

Steve Coren said...

View these sweet deals for pvc coated weldable webbing http://www.rosemonttextiles.com/weldable-webbing

Tracy Howard said...

Thank you for the tutorial on making these different flowers

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