Friday, 20 November 2015

Yep, still Making Trees But What Have I Learnt?

I was feeling a little down a few days ago with the general progress of this project and the usual dis-gruntlement of not having the right tools or equipment. Luckily one of my favourite plant miniaturists, Tallulah Belle, sent me a lovely message full of encouragement and excellent tips. 
Jayne's wonderfully humble advice gave me the kick up the back side I needed, how arrogant am I to believe I an learn in a month techniques and skills acquired by skilled artisans over many years? And then to sulk when things aren't perfect!! Definitely time to get over myself and back to grafting and learning!!
 I have made quite a few wire trees which because of their shape and style will require lots of very small leaves. I have found it very difficult to obtain mini craft punches in England but I found a few on Ebay including this rose leaf punch. As you can see it provides six small leaves with every punch in graduating sizes. so I sliced them all off and simply cupped them on my mice mat ready to glue on the branches.
 The gloss medium finish works much better on the smaller leaves as they don't look so glossy. As you san imagine this is quite a tedious process so following the adverts advice, "When the Fun Stops, Stop!", I completed this small tree over three sessions, two branches at a time.
 Breaking the sessions down proved really sensible and it is now completed. I decided to tissue cover the trunk of the tree and leave the lower branches bare.
The branches are a bit spindly and I am not too keen on how they come out of the trunk but........remember they are background and move on!!
 I moved on to rice paper. This is the type of paper most flower and plant artisans recommend but for some reason is incredibly hard to source in the UK. There are lots of specialist paper sites but I found the lists of rice and silk linen  papers quite incomprehensible so I ended up buying a set of paper on Ebay
I read somewhere that this paper is quite fine and can be very difficult to work with but can be stabilised with paints and mediums. I started by scrunching the paper up to add further texture. This time instead of adding the medium after painting I mixed it in with my acrylic colour. I used the gloss medium that when mixed directly with the acrylic paint added a more silk satin finish than a shiny gloss, much nicer. Adding the gloss medium to the paint made it much easier to apply too, another bonus. This rice paper is very delicate and can tear very easily. I painted mine on a glass baking mat and kept lifting it very careful to avoid it sticking, then hung it up to dry on my paper 'washing lines' with plastic household pegs that I knew wouldn't stick to the paper.
Once both sides had dried I added a contrasting, dry-brushed colour. This paper has it's own texture but as I had also crumpled it the dry-brushing also brought out the crumple creases.
So far I like the way this paper has dried out and it is definitely far easier to punch. I have tested a couple of leaves and they look like they will keep their shape quite nicely.
This tree was the pineapple tree that I covered in tissue and PVA. Much happier with this finish and it is now fully dressed. 
 I simply scored these larger fern type leaves down the middle and glued them on.
This is a larger punch I bought in the UK but after no luck in tracking down mini leaf punches I had to resort to purchasing them from the US. 
Luckily I found The Crafter's Toy Box who stock a very large range of Punch Bunch leaves and flower punches. They were incredibly helpful and friendly in arranging my overseas order which arrived in record time.
I am not sure why these punches are so hard to find in the UK, I am sure lots of miniaturists would buy a who;e range of them if they were readily available. 
 This is another wire tree I have covered up and then added a sprinkling of leaves.
 Lastly, I have dressed the last of the tall trunks with a garland of leaves that will have some flowers added to it for a bit of extra colour.
Feeling like I have made quite a bit of progress this week after my little hissy fit, thank you Jayne, and I hope to have a little play with the rice paper tomorrow. It seems we might get snow here in the morning but I will believe it when I see it!!
Have a wonderfully crafty weekend.


  1. Not sure if you have already tried.....I'm in Canada and had some trouble finding afordable leaf punches. I grabbed a bunch on eBay direct from China. Search "craft punches" and/or "leaf craft punches" and select it to list the lowest price results first. The punch in your first picture is there a few pages in when searching for leaf punches. Hope this helps!

  2. Stick with it! It's a ton of work, but so worth it. :D

  3. They look great! I know what you mean about finding decent craft punches though, I always end up spending way more than I intend 'cos I get the 'next best thing' in the UK then end up having to buy it from the States anyway...

  4. I can totally relate to the deflated feeling you get when things aren't going as planned. I don't think it's so much sulking as feeling frustrated with our own abilities (or lack of them). You're doing a fabulous job and the end result will be stunning, I'm sure =0)

  5. I keep wanting great results without the practice or expecting more than I can for my current level of experience. Well done for not giving up. Love your photos, looking great :)

  6. I'm the same - I sit down and expect great things to appear on the table after only having read through the process! Good work with your latest project - it's tree-mendous and I applaud your patience.


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