Backing of handmade flower petals and leaves

silk camelliasTo back or not to back [ handmade flower petals and leaves with fabric ]? If you have not yet decided on this one, I hope this article will help you make up your mind.
So let’s see why, how and with what we back flower petals and leaves. If you have been following PresentPerfect Creations for a while and had a chance to see our tutorials you might have noticed that I always back foliage with a layer of fabric and quite often (depending on the project though) I do the same with flower petals.

On one hand, flower petals should look thin and delicate, but on the othcamellia japonica comp screen JPEGer hand since we make wearable flower pieces they need to be durable and robust enough to withstand wear, pressure and possible damage to some extent at least. Reinforcing handmade flower petals and leaves with another layer of fabric really helps achieve certain durability. Have a look at the camellia flowers above. Would you be able to guess that they are actually cardboard hard? They certainly do not look it and that’s the trick: whilst backing petals with another layer of fabric to give them a look of delicacy and fragility that we see in fresh flowers at the same time.

There are different ways of achieving this look and make your stiff durable flowers appear full of life. The techniqueoversized flower headpieces will vary from flower to flower but as a rule we use a flower iron and a pair of tweezers to shape parts. My SILK CAMELLIA JAPONICA CORSAGE video tutorial explains the process in detail.
If you happen to attend one of my workshops on an OVERSIZED ROSE HEADPIECE, you have experienced petal backing to full extent. Indeed this oversized rose is made of large satin petals that are all backed with a layer of thin silk. This job requires precision, speed, dexterity and neatness. The good news is, practice makes perfect. If you wish to join me for a workshop on this oversized silk rose please send your enquiry to enquiries@presentperfectcreations.comlace orchid headband 2

Although not all flower petals get backed, a certain range of materials would benefit from being backed on every occasion. Amongst those are lace, velvet, denimetc.
LACE ORCHID HAIR CIRCLET video tutorial teaches you how to work with lace and turn it into delicate ethereal flowers that are also robust. White lace flowers are perfect for bridal pieces but if you take coloured lace or dye white lace yourself you can make evening wear floral pieces and much more.
Another video course on a DENIM ROSE BUD shows how to work with denim.
So, leather rose spray corsagewhat fabric(s) to choose for backing?
The choice is more than you might think. For petals some thin fabrics like pongee or organza are used in most cases. But if your petals are made of heavier fabric (velvet, denim or similar), you can go for thin or thick satins, or decorative fabrics with metallic threads.
When backing leaves you can choose from an array of different fabrics ranging from very thin (think pongee, organza) to satins to decorative metallic fabrics to velvet should you blue silk hydrangeawish. There is no hard and fast rule about which fabric to use. Depending on your main fabric try to choose a backing fabric that will complement your design and give it a beautiful finish.

I personally love the durability and definition of backed flower parts be it petals, leaves or butterfly wings, that is why I use this method on a regular basis in my works. To learn more about how you can create handmade flower petals and leaves by backing them with a layer of fabric please have a look at some of the photo tutorials by PresentPerfect Creations studio below:

leather-baccara-tutorial-bonus-sq

A detailed BONUS photo tutorial on Leather Rose Brooch. Yes, you got it right, you can back leather petals and leaves with fabric too! And this bonus tutorial that comes as a freebie together with LEATHER ROSE BROOCH photo tutorial will teach you exactly how you can do that.

learn-more-button

 

fabric leaves tutorial

A step-by-step photo tutorial on how to create MILLINERY LEAVES that are just right for your project. Still looking for suitable leaves online and in shops? Look no further. A flower iron and this tutorial is everything you need to create any fabric leaves your project calls for.

learn-more-button

 

 

lace butterfly tutorial

A step-by-step photo tutorial on how to create our SIGNATURE SILK AND LACE BUTTERFLY ON A HEADBAND. As a bonus you will also get FREE tutorial on how to shape a velvet butterfly with a flower iron (details inside the main tutorial once you’ve got it)

learn-more-button

 

Should you wish to try and use some decorative fabric with metallic threads in your work (think Christmas ☺) please check this beautiful semitransparent rayon fabric with golden metallic thread. It will look great at the back of leaves as well as petals. The fabric comes prestiffened and is ready to be used in flower making.

button

`

`

fabric dyes

About fabric dyes I use to colour my flowers

Often I am asked what sort of dyes I use to colour fabrics for my pieces. And it is a very relevant question as not any fabric dyes could be used for our purposes. To start with I can say that acrylic fabric dyes are not suitable for a number of reasons. First, they are quite thick, they coat the fabric rather than just penetrate it thus changing the texture of it and they also stick to the millinery tools when we shape petals or leaves.
The right dyes to use when making silk flowers are so called aniline dyes, synthetic dyes that come in either liquid or powder form.
I started with these Russian made aniline dyes, which come in 11 rather strange completely artificial colours. They need careful mixing before one can come up with a suitable delicate colour to use on flowers.

The advantage of any aniline dyes is that they are completely intermixable and diluted with water. The disadvantage is there is no white in the palette so the only way to create a tint is to add more water which sometimes does not give the desirable result.

I could not keep ordering liquid dyes from Russia, so I was on a hunt for local, British made aniline dyes. And at a craft exhibition in Birmingham I came across a stand with lots of different dyes, including the ones in the photo below:

It does not say anywhere on them what sort of dyes they are but they are just what the doctor ordered! And yes, these are dry powdered dyes. They last for ages, really economical but probably slightly more difficult to use than the liquid ones. The palette has 20+ colours, I just have 10 here, but mainly use Golden Yellow, Turquoise, Scarlet, Olive Green, Leaf Green and Green Lemon. Again, all intermixable and diluted with just water.

Another set of dyes I have come from Japan. They are liquid and come in little bottles with a pipette on top for measuring drops. They are called drop dyes.

The drop dyes allow to recreate a complex colour every time you want to do it which is not really possible with powder dyes. All you need to do is to measure a certain about of water into a container and add a certain amount of 1-2-3-4 or how many required dyes into it. The amount of dyes is measured simply with drops. In some Japanese books on silk flower making there are charts which tell you how to mix dyes to get the particular colour for the flowers shown.
These dyes are the most expensive of all and unfortunately do not last that long, that is finish quite quickly.
The brushes you see in the picture come from Japan as well. They are designed to paint fabric flowers and are made of deer fur.

Although Japanese artists use little white plastic dishes to prepare colours for dyeing fabrics, I discovered that small portion sized jam jars work pretty well for me. Not only they are big enough, but also if any dye is left you can always cover the jar with a lid and save the precious dye from evaporating!

And lastly, as with any chemicals, one has to take precautions using aniline dyes. Please do not swallow or inhale the dry particles when working with them. Common sense above all!

Explore these tutorials to learn more about colouring fabrics for making fabric flowers

Silk dandelion tutorial

 

 

<<<<<<<<  SILK DANDELION CLOCK TUTORIAL 

 

 

 

 

SILK SWEET PEA TUTORIAL >>>>>>>>>>  

 

fabric clover flower corsage

 

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<FABRIC CLOVER TUTORIAL

Bridal garland headpiece

A bridal halo with double cherry blossom

Well, you have probably noticed that recently I have created quite a number of wedding designs. Although, I love to create bridal accessories as much as flowers for other occasions and even for every day, the reason I am concentrating on the wedding theme is because in a month (exactly a month from today!) I am taking part in a large Wedding fair in this new for me area. The Drayton Old Lodge Wedding Fair is held on 17 March at this elegant Edwardian manor house just 10 minutes drive from central Norwich. I have been placed in the Vintage room, which is another reason to concentrate on bridal floral accessories with a vintage feel to them.
Here is the creation of the last week: an open bridal wreath with double cherry blossom in soft pinks and mellow yellows. I used habotai for flowers and pongee for twigs (all 100% pure silk). As always I hand painted all the elements using colours for silk. The size of the wreath can be regulated with a silk ribbon at the back which is useful because you can wear it higher or lower depending on how you like it.

A similar wreath can be made with just white flowers or maybe only pink depending on the colour scheme of a wedding. The bridal wreath can be purchased from my Etsy shop.
I do find this floral garland very romantic i must say. And what is your opinion?

A bunch of grapes

I truly believe that a really great silk flower artist should be able to create diverse things. Yes, everybody loves roses. Yes, bridal accessories are always in demand. But one can not just make roses or white bridal flowers although I am not saying they have to be taken of the list. No way! But sometimes I want to take a break from popular designs and make something wacky, unconventional, but cute 🙂
For a long time I was planning to make a brooch with grapes. I saw it in several books of mine as an interior  arrangement of a grape vine in a vase. But I wanted a brooch. So this week I finished my grapes brooch. It is a bunch of blue and purple grapes surrounded by 3 shiny leaves. It is finished with a brooch pin for easy attaching. The grapes brooch is currently available for purchase via my Etsy shop. It will make a perfect gift for any woman who appreciates unique handmade accessories.
Here are the pictures of the grapes brooch:

Mint and turquoise butterfly headband

It is time to present one of my last creations here which I am rather proud about. First, I like the colours, very summery brights and at the same time cooling mint and turquoise shades. Second,  virtually nobody is indifferent to butterflies! And we have 3 mounted onto this headband, all of them in different colours, textures and shapes. I have used lace, 3 kinds of silk fabrics (satin, pongee, organza), seed beads in a lovely mix of colours and, of course, my paints for silk. What not to love about them? Me thinks it is an ideal hair accessory to wear with a dress in similar colours. It would look elegant at a wedding party, prom or in fact for any occasion when you want to add a splash of colour 🙂

The mint and turquoise butterfly headband is a unnique creation of myself.