Thursday, June 24, 2010

Miniature 1:12 scale delphinium tutorial

Master mini flower maker, Tallulah Belle, has shared some very useful tips about making paper flowers in the comments section -- especially about forming the flowers, glues and gluing techniques! She also regularly shares great information on her blog :) Thanks, Tallulah Belle!

Here's what you need:
  1. a sheet of paper (I used ordinary pink copier paper).  Delphiniums tend to be pink, blue (both pale and deep), purple and white.
  2. glue (I used Aleen's Clear Gel Tacky Glue because I'm a glue freak and happen to have it around, but white glue would work fine)
  3. tweezers (I couldn't find my needle nose tweezers, but they're the best and most precise)
  4. an eraser or mouse pad -- something with enough "give" in it that it will let you shape the flower
  5. an embossing stylus or empty ballpoint pen (biro)
  6. 1/8" hole punch (that's about 3 mm) -- if you have a 1/8" flower or star punch that would be ideal, but the plain circular hole punch makes a pretty good delphinium :)
  7. NOT SHOWN -- green florist's wire, fairly fine
  8. NOT SHOWN -- bugle beads -- small tube beads -- clear, dark green or the colour of your flower
  9. NOT SHOWN -- either a maple leaf punch (about half an inch wide) or be prepared to cut a few  leaves by hand :)
  10. NOT SHOWN -- dark green paper, or paper painted dark green

I painted my paper with acrylic paint -- a slightly darker pink and a slightly lighter pink.  I could have make my painting more bold and contrasting.  Or I could have skipped it entirely :)

Punch out some holes.  I didn't count how many I used -- 30?  something like that.  I'll count next time :)

Shape each little flower on the eraser with the stylus or pen.  You want to press the stylus into the centre of the paper circle so that it cups up.  You could make tighter cups for the top of the delphinium and looser ones for the bottom, for a touch of rigorous realism :)

Ah!  Here's the wire and the bugle beads!  I used a piece of wire about three inches long, and glued five bugle beads on it.  You can vary the number of beads you add from four to five -- it will keep your delphiniums from being too uniform.  Let this dry.

Start applying the little florets to the stem.  You can either dip each floret in your glue as you go, or smear glue on the top part of the stem and just press the florets into it.  I tend to be a dipper.

Work from the top down, row by row.   You can jiggle the florets around quite a bit while the glue is still wet.

At some point you want to add florets up at the top.  If you leave a little wire sticking up at the very top, above the top bead, you can add florets so they taper up to a point.  Very realistic :)

Punch a few dark green maple leaves (these were out of mulberry paper).  Mess with them a little on your eraser with your stylus so that they curve a bit.

Glue them in place underneath the flower.  This is absolutely the hardest part of making this flower -- getting the damned leaves to stick in place!

After having made a bouquet's worth of these, I think I'd like to try adding some extra details.  Some delphiniums have a contrasting centre to each small floret -- these seem to be either white or black.  (I've just learned that, in delphinium circles, these contrasting centres are called a "bee".  I learn something new every day :)  You could add a spot of contrast to each tiny circle before you cup them into florets, or you might try adding them to the finished flowers.


  1. Hi Nina! I love your tutorial! So wonderfully clear and detailed! I was hoping to try my hand at some mini flowers soon.....and now I see just where to begin... I need the right Glue! I can't wait to try it!

  2. They are just delightful Nina. Love the bead idea.

    You are doing really great making flowers but here are a couple of tips that might help you with flower making of any kind.

    If you want you blossoms to be a tad more crinkly, mist them very lightly with water and push very deep into something with more give than an eraser. Leave them to dry them pop them out. They'll be very crinkly and you can just open them up. I use Japanese rice paper but it should work with regular paper.

    To assist with gluing leaves use a combination of white glue and a superglue. I use Sobo and zap a gap. Tacky glue can sometimes be too tacky and hard to get tiny amounts. Put a minute amount of glue on the stem then lightly dip the stem of your leaf in superglue. this might take practice as you barely need any and if you use too much it will blob. Thsi way the superglue holds quick while the white glue provides the strength.

    I then paint over the glue with the same color as the wire.

    A nice touch is to wait till it is all dry then very lightly dry brush the edges of the blossoms in a slightly different color. you barely need any paint and dont' want to make it too obvious but it will add depth to the flowers.

    I tend to paint the inners before I shape the and find that easier.

    Tissue paper makes great flowers but is hard to punch as a single sheet so try folding it then separating them after. I've not used tissue for anything I've sold as I dont' know how long it will hold up for but I'd use it on something for me.

    You don't really need help but these are just things I've learned along the way :-)


  3. I'm so glad you like it! It took me a long time to get up the nerve to try to make flowers, but I love them so much in real life that I really wanted them in my little world ... And, yeah, it's all about the glue :)

  4. Nina,

    They are just delightful. Thank you for sharing how you made them and for writing the tutorial. I will have to give it a try soon.
    Catherine XXX

  5. Muy buena idea!!!
    quedan unas flores preciosas!!

  6. Jayne -- sorry, we must have posted at exactly the same time! Thank you SO much for your wonderful tips -- they're really, really helpful! I'm totally new at this, and appreciate the advice from a pro :) I'm going to try the misting thing with the next ones I make -- and try cupping them on a softer surface.

    Catherine -- thanks so much for your comment!

  7. Nina and Jayne - thankyou!!
    Flowers are fun to make and add a lovely interest to most settings - these delphiniums are gorgeous!

  8. Damn they are great and the tut is superb!!! But I am not that patient to make them myself
    :( Absolutely great work Nina!Hope to see more of your own mini flowers soon!

  9. With this tutorial gave me lots of ideas. I have no punches but I can use that tool to pierce the sheets contained in the ring notebooks. I recommend the rice paper for delicate petals :-)
    Mini hugs, flora

  10. Muchisimas gracias por el tutuorial!!!
    Lo probare a ver como me quedan.
    besitos ascension

  11. Great tutorial Nina. Thank you so very much for sharing it. Your flowers look very good!

  12. Is a great tutorial, thank you very much for sharing us!! greetings

  13. Thank you Nina, they look really good! I have a fw flowers to do and you give me support.Have a nice da, ROsanna

  14. Thank you, Nina. I need another type of flower for the Alice Project and this one will be perfect!

    Jayne is so right about the CA glue. Years ago, I took a flower class where the instructor introduced me to the "Sobo/Zap" method. It takes the very lightest touch...sometimes it seems just the fumes of the CA glue cause the white glue to stick immediately. I also learned that the glue sticks much better to paper or cloth wrapped wire. Several layers of craft foam is a good surface for cupping flower petals and leaves.

    So I guess I know what I'll be doing today...instead of the ironing...


  15. Thanks for the tutorial, the delphium looks great :)

  16. I also forgot to mention that if you are nervous about the dry brushing with paint after, you can try pastels that you have grated or I have even seen cosmetic blush used with good effect.

  17. oooooh....I must go downstairs and make flowers......

  18. What a great tutorial and thank you Jayne for the extra tips too. I had planned to do a whole afternoon of ironing (like Tabitha Corsica) but feel that the flower making may win out!!! Carol xoxox

  19. Nina thanks for the tutorial! I also do a lot of flowers, but I have not the courage, it seems so difficult! your teaching encourages me to try ...

  20. Your tutorial is great. Thanks.
    Your Delphiniums are wonderful. I love them.

  21. Great tutorial - very well explained. I've not gone down the flower route yet, but I am inspired!

  22. I see you've started a trend lol.

    I am glad the tips might come in use. when I first started this I found that there were very few people willing to help or share tips but I don't think like that at all. I'd love everyone to be making flowers :-)

  23. wow! great tutorial.. awesome!

  24. Neville seemed to be lost mulberry handbags backwards by way of them, plus he / she fell around Mulberry Hand bags Wall plug in the to come back, drowning while in the suds. Every person while in the group of friends seemed to be laughing. Ron walked to Neville plus made it easier for the pup upwards. Neville spat released many foam which was in the lips, plus offered the wand that will Ron being a warning that Mulberry Clutch Bags he / she had naturally received.

  25. I began by looking for roses, but these have won my heart! Thank you for such a great tutorial. :)

  26. Using an old mousepad works great for cupping the flowers... or there are thicker pads available online.
    Love your delph's... they're just totally charming


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