soldering flower iron

How to choose a flower iron?

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 separeate 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 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).

Which flower iron to choose?

I am often asked by students about what flower 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 soldering flower iron is 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

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

Not so long ago we started discussing whether a flower making artist can or can not economise on tools and supplies without compromising the quality of a finished piece.

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

millinery toolsAs we saw there was no definite “yes” or “no” answer. Rather, one has to approach and estimate every aspect separately in order to make a decision.
Thus, I recommended to try and choose a really good quality set when it comes to flower making TOOLS.
Low quality tools will not last you. They will be uncomfortable to use and will leave you dissatisfied with your work and a finished item. Why go through all of this when you can have a much easier and more productive life with a decent (but probably more expensive) set of tools?
Occasionally I offer basic sets of tools for sale. If you are interested in one please let me know so that I can put one aside for you Friend when they are next available.
 On the other hand when it comes to DYES and BRUSHES there is a choice here.
I do think that liquid dyes, like water based Javana silk paints  are easier to use, especially if you are a beginner. However, they are more expensive than powder dry dyes, like Dytek Procion Dye by ColourCraft, which I mostly use myself. Powder dyes are very economic and will last you a long time. If you wish you could get several plastic dropper bottles of Amazon and prepare some liquid dyes by simply diluting the powder dyes in water. These dyes should keep reasonably well. I often store the leftovers of my dyes in tiny jam jars and have never experienced any problem with them.
As for the brushes, normal flat synthetic ones in a variety of widths will do you fine. However, if you’d like to splash out, there are specially made fur brushes for painting on fabric. Made with deer or horse hair, they come in different sizes and can be rather pricey. If you have ever attended any of my workshops you might have had a chance to see them in the flesh  and use them.
leather poppy kit

The last but not the least thing I wanted to talk about is the KNOWLEDGE.

Yes, you get it right, the knowledge of the craft. Do not try and save here, at least not before you have acquired some solid foundations of flower making, tried a variety of techniques and approaches, made a number of flowers. Then you can go on and experiment yourself, develop your style and invent new techniques. That of course if you are serious about flower making and wish to master it, enjoy the process as well as the result.
The good news is, there are so many flowers in the world, we can not possibly get bored making them, do you agree with me? The bad news is, once you’ve mastered one flower, that’s it, you’ve mastered just one flower. The knowledge of how to make a rose will be pretty useless if you need to create a chrysanthemum or a sunflower. Flowers differ a lot and so do the techniques and patterns. Have a look at pictures of real roses, they are soooo different. To make them look as different when made of fabric or leather you will need to use different patterns and techniques too.
 Are you overwhelmed by this or excited to learn new things?
If the latter is the case, then hopefully you’ll be glad to know that we have worked hard and prepared an ever growing library of downloadable detailed step-by-step tutorials on a wide range of flowers so you can start enjoying flower making right now. Explore the current range of our flower making tutorials HERE
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.

flower making tools

My flower making tools

millinery tools
SET OF 2 EXTRA NARROW MILLINERY TOOLS

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!

LIMITED OFFER ON SETS OF EXTRA NARROW FLOWER SHAPING TOOLS
If you are interested please click here to find out more  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Those of you who admire handmade silk flowers might have thought about making them yourselves and wondered what magical equipment is required to do the job. So today I would like to give you an insight into the tools I am using for making my flowers.
My set consists of flower making tools which belong to both the European and the Japanese flower making schools. They have been acquired over a couple of years through different makers. The best flower making tools are thought to be made of brass as it holds the heat better than stainless steel that is why my tools look yellowish brown in the picture.
Here is my set:

A soldering iron is needed to work with these brass heads. There are a number of round heads of different diameter, several knives, a rat-tail tool, a tool for making hollow tubes and another one for making lily-of-the-valley tiny flowers, as well as a number of curved both smooth and grooved Japanese tools.

All of them are used to achieve a certain effect on different sized petals and leaves and the choice usually depends on the particular job to be done. For a more impressive result the flower making tools are used on rubber pads which vary in thickness and density.

Here is my collection of pads:

Not only do they allow to achieve different effects when used with tool heads but they also protect the work surface and are a must to have.
The tool set might seem to be an expensive investment but without them it is impossible to create any pure silk flowers from a humble daisy to the most sophisticated rose. Some free tips and how-tos on the subject can be found here on my blog.

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

 

I now offer range of flower making tutorials in video and photo format for your millinery and accessory projects. For more information on the tutorials please go to my Tutition section 
For the fresh news from the exciting world of handmade fabric flowers, new releases and discounts on tutorials please subscribe to our newsletter if you haven’t done this just yet. Should you wish to learn how to make silk flowers I am happy to share my know-how, knowledge and skills through individual Skype classes. Please contact me via this site or e-mail me at enquiries@presentperfectcreations.com to discuss the details
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