Friday, November 9, 2012

How to Make Fabric/Coffee Filter Flowers: Part 1 - How to paint them

  I'm finally starting the biggest project I've probably ever taken on... making all the flowers for my wedding!  In a previous post I said I was making my bouquets out of crepe paper... well, I'm a damn dirty liar because I'm also making a lot of flowers out of silk!

I hit the jackpot when I was searching on Etsy a few days ago.

Photo via Peach Lightning on Etsy
 Hayley over at Peach Lightning has an awesome shop full of vintage millinery fabric for flowers.  She has this set that has everything all pre-cut for you and extra silk to cut out your own. I immediately ordered five sets! She still has a few more so go get yourself some if you need to make some flowers.

You can also use some stiff thin cotton or silk by the yard and just cut out your petals individually.  It will take a little bit longer but you'll get the same outcome. Plus you'll have complete control over the type of flowers you can make.

Okay, now onto the tutorial portion of today's post: I'm going to show you how I "dye" these silk flowers.

First, I tried actually dying these bad boys in acid dye... that didn't work out so hot:

I know you can't really tell from this picture but the edges frayed HORRIBLY and the color was not near vivid enough for what I was looking for; back to the drawing board.

  I finally decided that I was going to paint them. It takes a bit more time, but it is well worth it in the end. The variation that painting gives the petals really makes them look more real.

How to Paint Fabric Flowers:

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can also use coffee filters in this tutorial if you don't want to or can't find silk. You will just paint the coffee filters just like you would the silk and then let them dry. Then you will cut out the flower petal shape that you need for whichever flower you want to make! 

Just remember:
Silk= cut petals BEFORE you paint
Coffee filters = cut petals AFTER you paint

You'll need:

- Acrylic paint. ( You might splurge on a little bit higher quality acrylic tube and not just craft paint.  The color is more intense so it will give you brighter more vivid flowers)
- Paint brushes ( larger is better and very soft)
- Fabric petals (or coffee filters)
- Water for thinning the paint.
- Paper plates to use as a work surface
- Paper towels or sheets of cardstock to let the petals dry on.

-First you'll want to cut out your petals. You can use tear drop or heart shaped petals for roses. I like to make the rose petals slightly smaller than the palm of my hand.

These are the pre-cut silk flowers I use for my roses. I cut them along the center to make 4 teardrop shaped petals.

I am also making peonies for my bouquet so here is what those petals look like:
I make these about the size of the palm of my hand.
-  The best thing about these flowers is they don't have to be perfect. In fact, imperfections really add to the natural look of the flowers. I prefer to just cut these shapes out free hand and not use a template.  The number of petals that you will need will vary depending on the size of flower you want. I usually use about 15-30 per flower.

- Now that you have the petals lets paint them! It is super easy!

- Thin out your paint very heavily with water. You'll have to experiment a bit on exactly how much by how bright you want the color.

 -  VERY gently paint on the color. Give each petal a solid wash.

- Move the petals onto a separate sheet do dry completely. You'll want to be careful when transferring them to keep them from fraying. Once they are dry the paint will keep them from fraying.

- Now just let them dry and they are ready to assemble into flowers.

I will show you exactly how I do just that with part II! Stay tuned!

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