MODERN BOTANICAL DIY PRINTS

EASY DIY BOTANICAL PRINTS WITH A TWIST

This is a simple way to create your own botanical prints with a contemporary twist.  This weekend I picked up two very nice simple black chunky frames on offer for 2 for £10 at Homebase, with mounts inside already cut to fit A4 prints.  I then made the prints myself at home, using downloaded botanical and paper images, normal photocopier paper and a printer.  I have seen examples like this on sale for a lot of money in smart home decor shops, galleries and on Etsy, but you can make them yourself which is far more satisfying and far cheaper.

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HOW TO MAKE THEM:

Start off by finding large sized botanical prints on-line.  There are lots of places to find them for free:  The Graphics Fairy and Botanicus are great paces to browse, especially the latter for thousands of botanical themes.  Download the picture you want to use, in Botanicus it comes as a large pdf of a botanical collection of the book’s plates, whereas at The Graphics Fairy is it just one image as a pdf or jpeg.  You do not need to print them out, but the below are examples of ones to look for, they need strong colours and lines to show up in the finished piece.

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Enclosed here is a ready to print dictionary piece of paper, (but you could use old sheet music cut to A4 size, or other old text paper you may have available).  Print this out in colour onto a piece of A4 paper, and make it fit the whole page as much as possible on your printer by using the ‘scale to fit’ option..

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When it is dry, reload this printed paper into the printer, and then print out the botanical flower of your choice straight onto it.  You may need 2-3 runs to get your grade right for your own tastes, (and not to do it upside down which I am guilty of a lot!). You can tweak your grade in your photo browser directly if it is a jpeg, or if it is a pdf you will need to convert it to a large sized jpeg first.

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Then frame up your print, and hey presto… done in a jiffy….

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Have a go, it is really not that hard to do and the possibilities are endless for printing images.  Just make sure they are dense in colour and line.  You can even do a 3rd print run with text on to personalise it for someone.

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Plaster Workshops

Plaster Dipping and Plaster Sculptures

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Over the past two weekends I have been teaching some classes for The Workshop Cabin in Bath in the wonders of plaster, (cue large amounts of hand cream as it is pretty brutal on the poor mitts).  The Workshop Cabin put on really cool workshops, ranging from painting to photography to bookbinding and many more.  Definitely check out their site for inspirational activities… I have my eye on the Pyrography workshop already.

Anyhow, over two Saturdays we built, planned, mixed, dipped, wrapped, made a mess, painted and mounted various works.  The results are pretty great and I think that the participants were pleased with their results – the sculptures were especially amazing.  An added bonus was that it was just before Valentine’s day, so the plaster flowers were put to good use as gifts for some lucky recipients.

All Photos courtesy of Heidi @ The Workshop Cabin

Everyone beavering away with their plaster

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Plaster flowers drying

Happy Valentine pressies

Sculptures in progress

The final sculptures…

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Final sculptures with bronze paint effects, and some very happy punters…eat your heart out Alberto Giacometti….!

Easter Flower Ideas

These brilliant ideas come from Catriona Summerhill at Homes & Gardens.

DAINTY EGGCUP DISPLAYS

Hollowed-out eggshells make naturally beautiful containers for the smallest of flower arrangements. Selecting blue hen’s eggs adds a pretty touch to this simple idea, which requires just a few hallmarks of spring, such as delightfully scented lily of the valley and tiny sprigs of blossom. The diminutive displays can be used to brighten any corner or as a lovely addition to the place settings at your table. Choosing eggcups with an Easter theme will add to the charm.

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STATEMENT PIECE

For those looking to bring character to their Easter celebrations, experiment by filling a vintage wire cage with a bed of moss, speckled quail’s eggs and a floral arrangement displayed in a ceramic bowl. This design can be easily customised with flowers to suit your decorating scheme, while the eggs can be replaced by chocolate ones for guests of all ages to enjoy.

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POTTED EASTER BULBS

No special flower arranging skills are needed to create a display of fresh potted blooms, so children can be easily involved in the project. Planting up a selection of spring bulbs, such as muscari and anemones, in attractive pots is a great way to make the season come alive indoors. The pots can also be tied with ribbon and presented as Easter gifts.

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SCULPTURAL DESIGN

For an eye-catching seasonal arrangement with a contemporary edge, glue stems of pussy willow around a plant pot and fill with a tightly packed assortment of coloured tulips so they are just visible above the top of the pot. To complete the display add thin branches of blossom, which will be held in place by the tulips, to give the arrangement height and introduce a modern, sculptural feel.

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TABLE DECORATION

If you fancy bringing a touch of whimsy to the dining table, why not try this artful display using a selection of freshly cut garden flowers. Choose blooms in soft, complementary hues, such as pale pink roses, deep pink astrantia major, miniature white narcissi, vibrant green viburnum and black and white anemones. Trim the stalks so the flowers sit happily in a selection of pretty eggcups and tiny vases, then intersperse with stems of pussy willow and foil wrapped chocolate eggs. Water daily for a long-lasting centrepiece.

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DIY Plaster of Paris Dipped Flowers

IMG_8850Yesterday, my friend Claire and I spent a few hours dabbling in plaster with fabric flowers.  The process is really simple and they look like the most delicate bisque porcelain pieces when finished.  Claire has taken them off for framing in 3D Box frames, and the picture of the framed end result is at the bottom of the page.  They can also be made into tealight holders if you dry them flat and push out a space in the center for the tealight whilst they are still wet, or framed, or just left au naturel.  As the Plaster of Paris dries quite fast you only have a small window of time to make the flowers, so work in small batches and make new plaster as and when you need it.  In the meantime here is the process: Ingredients: Plaster of Paris Water Fabric Flowers (tighter full blooms like roses and peonies are best) Wire cutters Scissors Plastic container for the plaster of paris which is wide enough for dunking flower heads Greaseproof paper Mixing stick. How to:

  1. Prepare the flowers:  Cut off any internal plastic stamens.  Pull off leaves from stem, leaving the flower head and stem only.
  2. Prepare the plaster of paris by mixing it in the plastic container and adding water gradually whilst mixing until it reaches the consistency of thick cream.
  3. Take a flower, turn it upside down and submerge in the mixture.  Twizzle it about, and pull out to inspect. It might not be totally covered in plaster, but you do another dip in more plaster later when it is dry if this is the case.
  4. When it is fully covered (including the insides of the petals) let drips fall off by gentle shaking it in the container.  If you want just the flowerhead cut off the stem, but you can leave a length of stem and also dip that in plaster.  Cut off the stem to the length you want with wire cutters and place it face up to dry on the greaseproof paper, or in an empty foil pie dish is also good.  You can also peg the flowers out to dry upside down on a line, (we tried this way too for the really full blooms and it keeps their shape tight).  We dried some of ours flat on newspaper and it stuck and had to to be peeled off when dry, so greaseproof paper is the way to go if lie them down to dry.

Leave to dry thoroughly.  If bits look patchy, make up another mix of plaster and do a second dip.

Here is the framed finished version of the flatter dipped flowers:

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I have more recently used the flowers on plaques as pictures show below, here is a link to the post about them:

Wallpapering Furniture

I have had a Georgian cupboard for years, that I bought because it was quite scruffy and showed where at some point it had had a decorative paint effect applied.  It looks like someone has applied a woodgrain oak effect on top of the original mahogany.  But it is now a bit chipped and worn and needs an overhaul.  As I think the paint effect is at least Victorian, I can never restore it to immaculate mahogany.

I have seen lots of pictures online with cupboards and shelves having wallpaper set into the back panels but not many when wallpaper is used to the outside of the pieces:

Photo from House to Home

Photo from House to Home

I want to make my cupboard into something more exciting and came across this great piece by Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek.  I love the fact it is totally wrapped, and it starts to look like something like marquetry or hand painting that you might see in a very grand old house.

Wallpaper Cupboard by Piet Hein Eek

I am going to go for it with the cupboard and aim for quite a dramatic finish with a very dark/black base all over, but not by wrapping it totally in wallpaper as I want quite a large design and I think it will be too overwhelming.  I will start with papering the inset front and side panels and adding some brushstrokes of paint to those areas,  and will then paint the rest of the wood to match the background of the wallpaper.  Then with a glaze I think I can match the texture of all areas so it ends up looking like a hand painted piece, and slightly oriental if I use a shiny glaze.

The shortlisted contenders for the paper are below – I LOVE the House of Hackney paper as it is crazy close up with animals holding odd items but it is really expensive for a roll, and I also think the Snow Tree is a contender as the brushstrokes in the background can be replicated all over the other areas of the cupboard.  Samples are on their way so I can see the paper with the naked eye as that will also affect the choice.

More to follow on the cupboard saga, and any suggestions also most welcome….

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3D Paper Pictures and Botanicals

I love botanical prints, and have many old ones over the house.  However, I had a space for some artwork and some box frames lying about, so decided to make my own modern version of botanical prints. They looked great, and I sell mine a lot, they can even be customised for clients with text:

Using royalty free images found on-line, I pick one image and then print it up either on aged paper or pages from old books, in varying scales of size, about 5 copies per image.  It needs to be strongly coloured to work well.  Then I cut them out carefully with a scalpel.  Mounting them is trial and error, starting with the biggest at the rear and then building them up.  Pinching and curling some leaves etc added to the 3D effect. Using small pieces of sponge cut to size and a glue gun, you attach each layer so it protrudes.

You can also print straight onto old pages if you do not want to do a 3D effect.  I used old encyclopedia pages, and printed the botanicals straight on top of them:

I have now started on birds and trees:

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