blue velvet butterfly brooch

Flower shaping tools, part 1: Extra narrow flower shaping tools

For 2019 I have planned a series of short videos demonstrating how to works with different types of flower tools. extra narrow flower shaping tools
I believe this will help you understand your tools better and use them to their full potential achieving great shapes and lines on your petals and leaves.
For this week I have prepared the first one of these videos. For the first video I have chosen one of my favourite tools and probably one of the most used ones, the EXTRA NARROW  FLOWER SHAPING TOOLS.

Here are a couple of points I’d like to draw your attention to before you watch the video:

❀ The extra narrow tools are very versatile and can be used on either leaves, petals or other parts of flowers
❀ Using extra narrow tools you can shape most leaves for your unique designs in the fabrics, the colours and sizes you require
❀ These tools have been used in a number of our tutorials, both leather as well as fabric, Leather Butterfly TutorialSilk Orchid TutorialVelvet Lily Tutorial and Silk Iris Tutorial to name a few.
❀ You can use these tools to give your silk butterfly wings a crisp edge (see Silk and Lace Butterfly Tutorial)
❀ When working with these tools use the medium pad and check the temperature often as they get overheated easily due to the small size.
❀ When ordering the extra narrow tools online make sure you have chosen properly made really extra narrow tools that can perform difficult tasks when doing shaping. A lot of tools sold online are of mediocre quality and will not deliver the results I am showing in the video.
❀ Check below the video (on YouTube) for the links to different supplies and tutorials mentioned or shown in the video.
❀ Enjoy using your tools, experiment as much as you can and watch other videos on my channel that demonstrate alternative uses of these and other tools
To watch the video click on the photo below.

 

Below are the links to the extra narrow tools available from my website (limited quantity in stock).
millinery tools
how to choose a flower iron

How to choose a flower iron?

How to choose a flower iron?

IMPORTANT    –    JANUARY 2023 UPDATE

Dear All,

Weller have discontinued the trusty model of a soldering iron I have been using (and recommending!) for the last decade to my students all over the globe.
I have been in touch with multiple retail tool stores as well as with the manufacturer themselves and this is what they say:
The 40W SP irons are no longer available, but we do have replacements.

The 25W were upgraded to 30W, and the 40W were upgraded to 60W versions, we have also improved the tip choice as well as upgrading the LED lighting on the handpieces.

 It is available in 2 options, basic iron

https://www.weller-tools.com/bigbang/EUR/en/WLIR6023G

and mini kit with additional tips.

https://www.weller-tools.com/bigbang/EUR/en/WLIRK6023G

 If you internet search with these part numbers you should be able to find a number of UK distributors supporting the product. (RS/Farnell/Amazon etc)

WLIR6023G   IRON, W/LED RING, 60W/230V, UK

I am yet to try the new model they’ve recommended. There is also a version with a dimmer, but it is more expensive and there is no evidence it will work any better:

We do have a variant, that actually uses the same iron, but is wired into a basic power supply.

It has a rotary dial that allows regulation of power, though the temperature remains fixed.

It’s a little more expensive but does have a built in safety rest.

Link to product.

https://www.weller-tools.com/bigbang/EUR/en/WLSK8023G

So to sum up, I would get a new 60W version that is the correct width for the flower making tools and work with it. You will need to switch it off regularly to let the tools cool slightly so that they do not burn the materials. The previous model was presented in the US as well as EU markets with the corresponding plugs, so I suppose the new 60W should do as well.  Alternatively,try visiting a large hardware store in your area, where you could go in person with the flower tools and ask the stuff there to show you what they’ve got in the right spec.

Which tools to choose?

To make the most of the flower making tutorials I and other tutors offer one must have a set of flower shaping tools.
Flower shaping or otherwise known as millinery tools… We use millinery tools to shape fabric or leather 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. flower shaping millinery tools

Traditionally millinery tools have always been on separate handles and required heating over an open flame or using other sources of heat.  The famous Atelier Legeron which supply Parisian fashion houses with silk flowers still use traditional tools like these.
However there is another option available to us, flower artists, now. I am talking about an electric iron and millinery tools that are inserted inside it to be heated.
To use a traditional set or a more modern electric flower iron may be down to personal preferences. But I do 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 and ready to be used at the same time.
Sets on separate handles come from the times when there was no electricity. So why not use the achievements of the civilization to our advantage? If you have inherited a set of tools on separate handle
s 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).

Which flower iron to choose?

I am often asked by students about how to choose and flower iron and what iron to use.

Whilst I offer flower tools on my website, I do not sell flower irons. This happens for several reasons. First of all, soldering irons are not a particularly specialist piece of kit and can be easily obtained (although you will need to know which one to buy!).

Another thing how to choose a flower ironis that my students live all over the world, which means your sockets and plugs might be very different from mine.
Luckily I can recommend the flower iron I have been using myself for 5+ years. It  seems to be a popular global model and sells in different countries with the right socket that suits each country.
This flower iron is compatible with different tools I have seen, used and owned myself. However, in case if your tools are wider than 6 mm at the part which is inserted into an iron, this model is not for you.
You can easily pick up the right soldering iron on Amazon in your country. You need this Weller SP40N 40 Watt High Performance Soldering Iron (see the photo on the right).
For France and other European counties please use this link to find out more about the iron.
For the US and Canada please use this link to find out more about the iron.

japanese style flower shaping tools

flower making tools full setflower making tools

combination flower shaping tool

tools and supplies for making flowers

To economise or not on tools and supplies for making flowers? Part I

flower shaping millinery toolsWhether you are relatively new to flower making or you have been creating blooms for a while you know that tools and supplies for making flowers can get rather pricey. In case if you ever wondered whether there is something you could spend less on without compromising the quality of a finished item, this article would be of interest to you.

Let’s talk about bare necessities for a flower making artist and find out where it makes sense to save some money, and where it is advisable to invest in the best possible tools or supplies for making flowers.

There are certain things that you should not economise on. The first one is a set of millinery or flower shaping tools. Make sure you invest in a good quality basic set of tools, that you can expand later on as you develop your skills in flower making. A basic one must include a range of balls from tiny 2 mm to 30 mm or so, knives for scoring veins (with or without groves), tools for scoring softer lines, a hook and possibly some other tools depending on the manufacturer.
Pictured is  the extended set of tools I use for making my flowers and flower pieces..Rubber pads for millinery tools
Tools can be made of brass or other metals, this is not that important.
To heat up the tools you will require a soldering iron. I would not try and cut costs here. I tried working with a number of cheap soldering irons before and I all I can say that not only do they burn out really quickly, but they might be very dangerous for you, too. To be on the safe side get yourself one of the tried and tested ones from  Amazon or your local hardware shop. I am very pleased withthis Weller one available of Amazon.

 

To shape petals and leaves you’ll need some rubber and foam pads. Here you can get creative. As long as your pads deliver the right results you can use rubber or foam you have sourced yourself. I do offer professional flower shaping pads on my websiteif you do not have time to source your own. Should you want to make your own flower shaping pads, remember that the medium one is about 15 to 20 mm thick and is rather resistant. You can make one yourself out of old style mouse pads by cutting one in half, stacking 2 halves one on top of the other and covering them with a piece of plain thin cotton fabric. The soft one, however, is a much softer foam type pad about 30 mm thick and can be substituted by a suitable foam from a supermarket or a hardware shop. Do not forget to cover it with a piece of plain thin cotton fabric as well.

taster fabric packThen naturally you will need fabric (or leather) to make petals and leaves out of. This is a vast subject. But what ever you choose, be it natural silks that you stiffen yourself, some vintage re-purposed fabrics or professional factory made flower making materials go for the best quality you can.

There is nothing wrong in stiffening your own fabrics. Quite frankly sometimes it is the only choice, when for example you are asked to incorporate a customers fabric into their flower piece. Just make sure you use the best stiffener for the fabric in question, stiffen it flat to ensure no creases spoil the look of your petals and go for it.
However, if you wish to try something different or if you do not have time to stiffen your own fabrics, factory stiffened fabrics can be a great solution for you. Some professional flower making fabrics only exist in this prestiffened ready to use form and you won’t be able to find them anywhere at an ordinary haberdashery department. Some of these wonderful fabrics are currently for sale in my online shop. I am in love with the cotton velvet with its short pile and and the sparkly lame fabrics that are great for festive and fantasy designs.
Fabrics are offered by fat quarter but larger quantities (from 1m) can be available by request at a reduced price.
There’s more to the art of flower making that meets the eye. There are a lot of other tools and supplies for making flowers that are involved in the process of turning a flat white piece of material into a stunning colourful flower piece. To achieve a realistic or fantasy look for your flowers you will need to paint the fabric of your choice with some fabric dyes. Which ones? To stay tuned subscribe to our newsletter HERE
To read To economise or not on tools and supplies for making flowers? Part II click here
Christmas gift guide for flower maker artist crafter

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 and valid only until 24 December 2017.

Happy gift hunting! ☺

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