Flower Artists’ Gift Guide for Christmas 2017

Flower Artists’ Gift Guide for Christmas 2017

Our Flower Artist’s Gift Guide for Christmas 2017 has landed!

Feast your eyes on PresentPerfect Creations Studio gift selection for flower artists.  Treat yourself to a new tool, tutorial or supply and create something amazing today. Because you deserve a gift, too.

FREE DELIVERY coupon code inside. Hurry, the offer is time sensitive.

Happy gift hunting! ☺

To turn the pages of the gift guide, click on the arrow found next to the pages of the guide.

SUBSCRIPTION 2018 FLOWER TUTORIALS: cast your vote now

SUBSCRIPTION 2018 FLOWER TUTORIALS: cast your vote now

It’s not long now. In less than a month we’ll be launching Subscription 2018, our yearly package of flower making tutorials.
As always we’d like to offer you comprehensive step-by-step tutorials on a wide range of fabric and leather flower pieces at an attractive price.
Here are some of the benefits of our YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION:

❀ 12 new and unique flower making tutorial designs
❀ +1 BONUS tutorial for yearly subscribers
❀ Value for money
❀ Variety of flowers
❀ Leather and fabric flowers covered
❀ Discounts on DIY kits
❀ Bonus tutorials included
❀ Lowest price guaranteed when purchased at launch
❀ NEW dedicated Facebook group for the members (if needed)
❀ NEW special offers for in-person workshops

 

If you are interested in either leather or fabric, fear not: special packages will be offered taking into account your preferences.
At the moment we are finalising the list of flowers we’d like to offer in our Subscription 2018. So we thought we’d ask your opinion to find out what themes/ flowers you like more than others. You can propose yours too, should you wish.
The list of provisional themes is shown below in the survey that we are asking you to fill out.
If you could spare a couple of minutes and tell us what you think about the themes and the idea of a dedicated Facebook group, we would really appreciate that.
(Please note that you can scroll down the survey).

How to dye silk for leaves in bulk

How to dye silk for leaves in bulk

As you know making flowers is a lengthy process with a number of steps involved like cutting out parts, dyeing, shaping, assembling etc.
Although there is not a great deal we can do about speeding this lengthy process up, however there are a few shortcuts that allow us, makers, save a bit of time creating beautiful hand made flower masterpieces.

When it comes to dyeing, one thing you can and should do is to dye your petals in small piles (usually it is 2 or 4 depending on the thickness and stiffness of your chosen fabric). But what about foliage? Similarly, leaves can be dyed in piles, too if the fabric allows you.

Alternatively, you can use the method I am describing below, which is dyeing larger pieces of fabric to be cut up for leaves, calyxes, stems etc later on.

This method comes particularly handy when:
1. you've got a lot of foliage to make for your project
2. the leaves etc are of a small size
3. you want to dye some fabric for future projects in advance
 
This method is also useful when you want to dye some fabric for fantasy flowers (see the very end of the video).
In this video I am using 3 different shades of green from paler lime one through to dark olive green.
You will see that I also add a little purple colour to my fabric. This is done to tie the foliage with the petals of your flower and is often a very good idea to bring the whole flower piece together, but can be omitted.
I am dyeing a rectangular piece (about 20 cm by 30 cm) of factory stiffened rayon satin (see at the end of the post) which is known for its beautiful soft shine and is easy to dye. If you have not got any, feel free to use pure silk satin or dupioni silk, or other fabric that suits your project (like cotton velvet etc).
Here are a couple of points I'd like to draw your attention to before you watch the video:
 
❀ Work on old newspapers or use some drawing paper
❀ Wet the whole piece of fabric with your brush and some clean water before dyeing
❀ Apply dyes in random misshapen spots similar to the camouflage fabric and blend their edges together
❀ Avoid clearly visible stripes or circles of dyes on your fabric
❀ Repeat the process of applying the dyes for more intensely coloured fabric as shown in the video
❀ Take into account that when dry the fabric will look paler than wet
❀ Whilst drying the dyes will blend even better with each other to provide a subtle gradation of colour
❀ Use already stiffened fabric for dyeing to avoid losing any colours in the stiffening process
❀ After the fabric has dried completely use it to trace and cut out all the leaves and other parts required for your project as normal
 

Below are the links to some ready stiffened fabrics and special fabric brushes available from my online shop.
Have fun dyeing your fabrics!
 

Cotton Velvet

cotton velvet fabric

Horse Hair Brushes

silk painting brushes

Rayon Satin

More on flower shaping aka millinery tools

More on flower shaping aka millinery tools

Flower shaping or otherwise known as millinery tools… We use millinery tools to shape fabric in order to create realistic or artistic petals and leaves which we then assemble into flower pieces. They are essential for the craft (and ART) and yet they cause more questions than any other aspect of flower making.

In our previous articles we have discussed how one could shape petals and leaves without the use of tools ( Shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools ). Yes it is possible, but really rather limiting. Owning a set of tools gives you many more possibilities when it comes to flower making, in particular if you are interested in our yearly SUBSCRIPTION programme (learn more and register your interest for 2018 here). To make the most of the tutorial Subscription one must have a set of flower shaping tools.

Today I will try and answer 5 hottest questions about flower shaping tools that I hear most often.
❀ 1 ❀ Which is a better set: the one on separate handles or the one that comes with an electric iron?
This could possibly be down to personal preferences but I believe that the electric iron set allows to work quicker. It is advisable to have 2 or 3 flower irons so that when shaping a flower you could have 2-3 tools, that are required for shaping it, heated at the same time. Sets on separate handles come from the times when there was no electricity, why not use the achievements of the civilization to our advantage? If you have inherited a set of tools on separate handles or you have already got one of those, you can of course continue using it. For those of you who are thinking about purchasing a new set I would recommend to go for an electric flower iron with a set of interchangeable tips (see the photo of the tips above).
❀ 2 ❀ Do I have to have a whole set? How many tools will I really need?

millinery tools

 

There are a lot of different flower shaping tools. Some are used very often and are a part of any basic set, others are more rare and specialist. So how many of them will
one flower maker need?
Each tool has been designed for a particular purpose whether it scoring a line, creating a concave or curling up fabric. Some tools are interchangeable and differ only by the design, but are really meant to do the same job. I would say if you are thinking about making flowers seriously, it is good to have a starter or basic set which consists of a number of round tips of different diameters from about 3 mm to 30 mm, two knives to score lines, two chrysanthemum tools to create softer lines, a tube making attachment and a hook. Later you can add  such tools as lily-of-the-valley attachment or forget-me-not tool, or 35mm and 40mm round tools as optional extras.
The main thing to understand is that the more tools you have the more options there are at your disposal to shape fabric. Start with a basic one and build up your set by adding other invaluable tips to it ad you go along. In love with flower making? Then do not hesitate, get the whole lot straightaway and start creating.
If you own a set of tools but you believe you could do with some additional tools, consider our special offer on 2 extra narrow millinery tools which are indispensable for shaping leaves as well as petals. They are used in most of our tutorials.
❀ 3 ❀ What metal should the tools be made of?
Some tools are made of brass, hence the yellow-golden colour. This metal heats up well and does not rust which makes it a good choice for flower shaping tips. On the other hand, steel tools are available for sale as well.  Steel takes a bit longer to heat up but otherwise is an excellent choice too. Some Japanese tools are made of brass, mainly round tips (because it heats quicker), and others are made of steel (knives, chrysanthemum tools etc), there are some that are even made of a combination of both (a forget-me-not tip).In any case let not the metal stop you when choosing millinery tools, you should be alright using a set made of either brass or steel.
❀ 4 ❀ Where to buy a good set of millinery tools?
Suppose you have not got any, where do you go to get one?
Flower shaping tool set is a highly specialised item that can not be picked up at your local craft shop and only sold by very few. The easiest way is of course to buy online and have the set shipped to where you live. Places to check out is ebay and Etsy. You can also pick up some antique flower making tools at your local antiques shop or again online. Another option is to buy a set of tools of your flower teacher.At the moment you can place an order for a flower shaping tool sets here. These are the exact same sets I have used myself for the last 6 years for making flowers, teaching and filming my tutorials.
❀ 5 ❀ Why are millinery tools so expensive? Can I find them anywhere cheap?
Are the millinery tools expensive? I guess they are. And they are not. No more than hat blocks or other tools that we use for creating our handmade masterpieces. Regard the purchase of a set of flower shaping tools as an investment in yourself and in your ability to create countless gorgeous flowers with their help. I would steer clear of very cheap sets as the quality might not be there and you will end up throwing money to the wind. Better start with a smaller good quality reliable set and then just add more tools to it as you go along.
flower making tools full set

I am pleased to offer  the exact same full 22 piece set of flower shaping tools that I use for making all of my designs, film my tutorials and teach,

These sets of flower shaping millinery tools can be ordered HERE.
So if you are considering subscribing to our monthly flower making tutorials in 2018 make sure you have all the necessary tools to work with during the learning process.
Why buy flower making kits?

Why buy flower making kits?

If you have follower our recent tutorial releases you have probably noticed that with every new tutorial we try and offer you to buy flower making kits as well.

leather poppy kit BROOCH
Leather Poppy Brooch KIT

Now, you might prefer to source your own materials, if you know well what you are looking for. However, if you have not had much experience in flower making as we offer it, hunting down the right materials can be more complicated than it seems. That’s why when making your first silk or leather flowers you might want to try one of our flower making kits.
Although having a kit is just a part of success, you will get a very good understanding of what materials I use myself when I make my flower pieces as well as develop tutorials for you Friend. Next time when you source your own materials you will know exactly what you need. Say, leather for leather flowers has to be rather thin, soft and pliable, with as little sealant or coating as possible, to give the required result. If you make a leather poppy from our latest tutorial using a kit, you will get the feel of the suitable leather you want to source for your future projects.

Silk Dandelion kit
Silk Dandelion Clock KIT

 

Some flowers may require specialist fabrics because of their nature. One of such flowers is the Silk Dandelion Clock made with finest pure silk organza.
Luckily, the silk dandelion clock can be made without the use of flower shaping tools. All you need is one of our Silk Dandelion Clock kits, some silk dyes, good quality thick PVA glue and lots of patience to create this jaw dropping design.

Due to popular demand, we are now developing flower making kits for of our older tutorials, like this one on the Wild Leather Rose Corsage. That’s another great flower that can be made without the use of flower shaping/ millinery tools. All the parts of this open leather rose design are hand shaped, the petals being finished with a pair of tweezers. A limited quantity of the Wild Leather Rose Corsage kits is now available on our website.

 

 

Remember that our kits are flat packed and therefore can not contain any dyes, glue or tools.
If you have a question regarding any of these, please get in touch with us via enquiries@presentperfectcreations.com to receive a recommendation or advice on what sort of dyes, tools or glue are the best to use and where to obtain them.
A lot of basic information of this kind can be found in my introductory ebooks on Silk and Leather flower making, designed specifically for beginners, as well as at the beginning of each tutorial.

 

Colouring stamens for flowers

Colouring stamens for flowers

colouring stamensAlthough ready made stamens come in a variety of colours and sizes is is often difficult to find ones in suitable colour for a project in question. That’s why I find it easier to colour white stamens myself. This way I make sure that the stamens match my flower in colour and size.

For dyeing stamens we’ll need:
– non porous surface (plastic or glass)
– some vodka (or even better spirit)
– Procion (acid) dyes in chosen colours
– a receptacle (a porcelain dish)
– a pair of tweezers
– a bunch of stamens
Vodka evaporates quicker than water which means the dye will dry before the stamen heads dissolve in the licolouring stamensquid. Water is not as good for this task and even with vodka one should act really quickly.

Pour a small quantity of vodka (10-15 ml) into the dish and dissolve some powder dye in it. I find intense colours work better, that’s why I put a generous amount of powder dye into the dish. colouring stamens
Using a brush dissolve the dye well in vodka. It will take a bit longer than dissolving the dye in water, so make sure all the dye grains are dissolved.

Now using a pair of tweezers ( and possibly disposable gloves) dip several stamens at a time into the prepared dye and dye them evenly. Do not try to put all of the stamens at once. This will only dissolve all the stamen heads and ruin the stamens.
colouring stamensHaving dyed a small bunch of stamens put them onto a prepared non porous surface like glass or plastic and leave to dry. It is important that the stamens are separated (see the photo). Otherwise they will stick together as they are drying.
In this way, portion by porting a small bunch at a time dye all the stamens and lay them out tocolouring stamens dry on the non porous surface. Please do not use paper as the wet stamens stick to it.
I hope this information was useful for you and you’ll be confident to dye white stamens for your project now.

 

 

 

 

Video tutorials on flowers from £39
Video tutorials on flowers from £39

 

EXPLORE FLOWER MAKING PHOTO TUTORIALS

 

EXPLORE FLOWER MAKING VIDEO TUTORIALS
NO TOOL flower making tutorials for beginners

NO TOOL flower making tutorials for beginners

shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools 8I am well aware of the fact that not every flower making artist (especially a beginning one) has got a set of traditional millinery tools to shape flower petals and leaves. Although this does cause serious restrictions with regards to the techniques that can be used and the final results that can be obtained, there are several methods that could be successfully applied without the use of tools and help make certain flowers. There are no tool flower making tutorials for beginners too.
Here on my blog I am explaining how you can shape petals using a so called cold shaping method. This method works great for such flowers as peonies, poppies, irises etc.

 

Then of course there is a whole branch of flower making that uses artificial fabrics and their qualities. These fabrics can be singed
on the flame of a candle to be shaped into petals and leaves. This technique cannot be used for natural fabrics as they simply burn in the flame. To learn more about this technique and make a bright poppy brooch please check out our Fabric Poppy Brooch Tutorial here.

 

Silk dandelion tutorial

 

Luckily some fabric flowers do not require tools simply due to their nature and the way they are. This is the case with Silk Dandelion Clock Brooch. Yes, you've got it right, to make a dandelion clock out of pure silk you do not need any millinery tools. We do use tools to shape the foliage in the tutorial, so if you wish you can get those tools from our website (hurry as the offer is very limited). Otherwise feel free to omit the tooling.

 

 

leather corsage tutorial

 

If you have not yet invested into a set
of tools but would really like to have a go at making flowers why not try leather blooms? The thing is, leather is such a luxurious and beautiful material to work with that often you do not need to do much before you turn it into a lovely flower. Hand shaping combined with the use of a pair of tweezers can create beautiful as well as pretty realistic flowers.

 

We are happy to offer 3 leather flower making tutorials that require no millinery tools, on Wild Leather Rose Brooch , on Leather Sunflower Headband and on Leather Poppy Choker. They are a good point to start from if you want to explore leather flower making without the need to invest in a set of millinery tools.
 leather poppy flower tutorial
Feature on PresentPerfect Creations in a Japanese magazine

Feature on PresentPerfect Creations in a Japanese magazine

 

Yay! You’ve heard that right.

A couple of days ago I finally received a couple of copies of a Japanese publication where my flower pieces have been given a 2 page feature.

The feature on PresentPerfect Creations appeared in the latest issue of a Japanese floristry magazine called Flower Fashion, vol.10 http://www.nfd.or.jp/hana-fashion.
This issue is devoted to artificial flowers, so my pieces are just the right fit for it.
There are a number of Japanese artists who make artificial flowers too. What’s attracted the editor in chief in my work in particular is that the flower pieces that I create are perfectly wearable. You see, traditionally in Japan sophisticated handmade flowers have been created for flower arrangements to decorate houses, offices etc. Wearable flower accessories including hats and fascinators are not widespread but are currently gaining popularity.

What’s more is that one of my pieces, the White Clover Brooch, is amongst the readers’ presents of the magazine. That’s one more of my works to go to Japan.

Knowing how good the Japanese are in a huge variety of different crafts, how meticulous and attentive to every minute detail, I am feeling rather flattered by the fact that my work has been selected for the feature. If you’d like to have a better look at the pages with the feature on PresentPerfect Creations please press the button below.

 

As before, I am ready to share my knowledge, vision and expertise with you, be it via my downloadable tutorials or in-person workshops. If you wish to attend an in-person flower making workshop, you will find the current schedule below
Shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools

Shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools

Shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools: the cold method

shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools 10I am well aware of the fact that not everyone has got a set of traditional millinery tools to shape flower petals and leaves. Although this does cause certain restrictions with regards to the techniques that can be used and the final results, there are methods that can be successfully applied without the use of tools.

Below I am explaining how you can shape petals using a so called cold shaping method.
To be able to use this method you will require some fabric petals (silk, rayon or thin cotton) and a piece of thin preferably silk fabric about 40cm*40 cm or slightly larger larger( I am using a silk-cotton mixed fabric here).

shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools 9

 

 

First, moisten the cloth either by spraying it with water from a spray bottle or wetting it under the tap. Next, wring the cloth very well so it is only just about moist, almost dry. If the fabric is too wet it can ruin the dyes on your petals. It will not shape them either.
Now, fold the square of fabric diagonally as shown in the picture.

 

shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools 8

 

 

 

Then take a petal and fold it in half lengthwise. In the photo I am using pairs of poppy petals, connected with a staple, so I am going to be shaping two petals at a time.This can work for thin fabrics. For the petals made of thicker fabrics it is advisable to shape them one by one for the best results.

 

 

shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools 7

 

 

Place the folded petal in between the two layers of diagonally folded moistened cloth as shown in the picture. The folded side of the petal touches the folded side of the cloth (this is important).

 

 

shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools 5

 

 

 

Now it’s high time we shaped the petal. Place the palm of your left hand over the whole of the petal (which is sitting between the layers) and press firmly onto it, especially the very bottom (the base) of the petal. With your right hand pull the right corner of the the cloth away from the left hand that is pressing down the petal.

 

shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools 4

 

 

Pressing  the petal firmly (particularly at the very base) with your left palm pull the cloth with an effort with your right hand clockwise following the black arrows. Having done a semi-circle with the right hand ease off and let the cloth gradually go.

 

 

shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools 3

 

 

 

 

The cloth should form a network of very fine wrinkles under your palm and in turn it will wrinkle the petal that has been placed between the layers of the cloth. The finer the lines of the shaping the better the result.

 

 

shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools 1
You might want to practice on a spare petal first to get an idea of how to shape petals using this method. If you are not happy with the result you can return the same petal back into the cloth and shape again. But try not to do this too many times as it will make the petal creased more than shaped.

         This cold method of shaping fabric flower petals without the use of tools works particularly well with such flowers like peonies, irises and poppies. The top edge or the petal can be curled with a pair of heated tweezers or by hand, which does make  this method totally millnery tool free ☺
I hope you find this information useful and applicable to the flowers you make. If you wish to attend a flower making workshop to practice this method, please consider taking part in SILK POPPY HAIRPIECE WORKSHOP (click on the photo below for more information).
Rabbit fur pillbox hat with leather rowan berries for 2016 Hatalk hat making competition

Rabbit fur pillbox hat with leather rowan berries for 2016 Hatalk hat making competition

rabbit fur pillbox hatI created this white rabbit fur pillbox hat decorated with a cluster of leather rowan berries for the 2016 Hatalk hat making competition, where the theme was Connections.

My fantasy rabbit fur pillbox hat for a millinery competition: the why

The theme Connections is very broad; however the first connection I immediately thought of was a cultural connection, connection with my roots and traditions.

I live and create in the UK now, but I grew up in a small town in the Far North of Russia, lost somewhere between permafrost and the Northern lights. The climate is so harsh and cold locals have to wear clothes and boots made of fur in order to survive severe frosts and snow storms. I chose white rabbit fur for my hat thinking that it would represent snow of my childhood so very well.
Rowan is a meaningful symbol in the Russian culture. Numerous proverbs and poems, paintings and even recipes are dedicated to this symbolic tree that is so dear to the hearts of Russians. Touched by the first frosts rowan berries unlock their potential and become sweet and delicious to eat. They can be used in a variety of dishes and drinks. It is not uncommon to see clusters of rowan berries covered with heaps of fresh snow as part of winter scenery throughout Russia. Those snowy clusters of bright red berries were the vision I had in mind when I was working on my First Snow Fur Pillbox hat.

rabbit fur pillbox hat

My fantasy rabbit fur pillbox hat for a millinery competition: the how

To make First Snow Fur Pillbox hat I blocked 2 layers of buckram, rabbit fur pelt and silk satin over a pillbox block (each material at a time). Then I wired the buckram base, put the blocked fur on top of it and stitched the two together around the bottom edge. After that I sewed in the lining and the petersham ribbon.

The cluster of rowan berries and leaves are made of genuine leather or several colours. All the leaves are backed with golden metallic lame fabric and shaped with millinery tools.I joined the berries in the cluster with hand dyed rayon pongee strips. The rowan berries and leaves are finished with a brooch pin. They can be removed and used as a separate brooch.

The result?

Alas, the white rabbit fur pillbox hat has not taken any prize in the competition, but with hope in my heart I am planning on taking part in other forthcoming hat making (and other!) competitions. Watch this space for more details.

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