Finally, back to the conservatory.
|Almost everything here, was made using card, and some jewellery findings. About a year ago, I would have been considering making these out of metal, clay, etc. I have now decided, you can't beat card! :D Easy, cheap and fast.|
|This is a Chinese Evergreen plant, with leaf patterns from a real one, I have put the leaves for this onto a free printable sheet here. Seal the ink before cutting out, either with hairspray or an appropriate sealer. There are enough leaves to make a few of the size shown here.|
I only found out this plant's name last week, after spending a long time searching for it online, despite having had this plant for many years..... It turns out it likes damp, dark corners, which is lucky, because that is where it was living in real life.
I photographed a few of the leaves, holding white paper behind each one.
I uploaded each photo to MS paint, and used the white paint bucket tool on the white page part, so that the leaf, would hopefully, be isolated from the page, then I could resize them. Though I only did that so they would be clearer to cut around, it probably wasn't necessary. I had about four good photos, and each image was flipped using Ms Paint, to give the illusion of having eight different leaf patterns.
I cut them out with nail scissors, and lightly scored down the middle of each leaf. I overdid the stylus tool cupping.... the leaves should be flatter than these ones....then each leaf was glued onto short lengths of pre-painted silk wrapped wire, and to add sheen, I painted slightly watery PVA glue onto each leaf. I put the wires into bundles of 12 - 14 leaves, wrapped some pre-glued tissue paper around the base of the bundle, and then used tweezers to manipulate the leaves into shape.
My real Chinese Evergreen, doesn't follow natures tradition of newest leaves smallest and oldest largest, and just seems to send them out in all sizes, whatever it feels like. I hope it's alright. Following its plan, which is so convenient, I just bundled all the sizes together randomly.
|All of these were made using 220gsm card. I used the cone making generator from this great site, Template Maker, to make the various patterns for each object, which I was then able to print onto card. The wire handles are thread, and the funnel spouts are tubing, the watering can "arm" is a piece of plastic tubing from a cotton bud. I painted all of them with Humbrol silver paint, then before they were fully dry, I painted over them with watercolour paint, to give them a slightly rusty, old finish.|
|A very verdigris copper watering can, and three pitchers, again, made using 220gsm card. The watering can has a spout made using brass tubing, which also makes it topple, I had to use tacky wax to hold it in this position. It didn't even occur to me that the tubing would be too heavy for it.... I had some copper leaf which I covered it with, and it was ridiculously shiny, and it was a bit messy, so I dabbed white primer paint over most of it, and used a wet paint brush on a verdigris green chalk pastel, and painted over the white.|
The three pitchers, are made from a pattern and tutorial from the blog Bricolages and Compagnie. If you click on the first photograph there, that will take you to the PDF file. I made mine rather small.. I didn't realise pitchers were quite big in real life until afterwards :D
|I am so pleased with the brackets. They were made using wire and brass strip. I copied these from some that I saw on Pinterest, here.|
|The brackets were painted with white primer paint, and then I used a fine paint brush, to dab spots of reddish brown watercolour paint to create little rust patches.|
|Making miniature brackets. The finished one here, is a fluke, and neither of these are the finished ones. Originally, I tried using the ends of paper fasteners to create the bracket, but I couldn't get a good 90 degree angle, so maybe these ones not working out was a good thing.|
I ended up using a thin strip of brass, bent into a perfect angle. The wires for the scrolling had to be bent into shape, individually, using needle nosed tweezers and thumbs and fingers. It was boring and more than a few of those curly, whirly bits went into the bin. I had drawn up an actual scale template (not shown here) to work from.
Before cutting and bending the wire, I took the long length of wire to be used and ran wire wool up and down it a few times, which helps the solder "grip" onto it later. After the pieces were formed I washed them in hot soapy water, dried them, and handled with tweezers from then on, and painted them with a light coat of flux.
I arranged them as shown onto something metal, I think this is aluminium, with a 90 degree angle. I painted a bit of flux onto the surface first to help hold the pieces in place. After carefully using tweezers to place each piece so that they were touching each other, or as close as possible, I used a scalpel to cut tiny pieces of solder which were then placed onto the "join" of each piece.
Then the fun bit.
Switch the gas blow torch on, and torch it. I started off heating it slowly from a distance, before moving the flame in, I saw someone in a fine jewellery making video do it like that. To be honest, I don't really know what I am doing, I think I might have overtorched it, I am sure the wires were close to burning, but since they were being painted, I didn't worry so much. To attach the ornate swirly piece to the bracket, I did something slightly unconventional.... I used masking tape to hold the bracket onto the edge of this metal corner thing in the photo, positioned so that this ornate section would be attached right down the centre of the bracket. I lightly sanded the inside of the bracket, and washed etc. as for the swirly bits. I again used tiny bits of solder anywhere where the wires would be touching the bracket. Then torched it. The cellotape does burn. But it holds out long enough to get the job done, and open a window and keep a glass of water nearby :D Everything must be supported in some way or another when using this method of soldering, otherwise, you will end up with a mangled mess, as the torch melts all the joins made previously. I had been using pliers to hold the ornate section in place, the first one worked, the second one crumbled....the brackets that worked where the ones that were supported at all times.
I also used the back of a baking tin as a working surface, this one is stainless steel. It does heat up a bit, wherever you are working the flame, but it is a cheaper and easier alternative to obtaining a fire brick.
Many thanks to Pepper of Mitchy Moo Miniatures for her advice about getting one of these gas powered soldering irons and her video tutorial for using it as a torch. I still CANNOT SOLDER via soldering tips, I have killed many soldering tips.... However, I can torch things! Believe me, if you can't solder, you can torch. And it is fun and I can think of so many things I can now make with it. An iron bench, is my big project for it.