Saturday, 5 February 2011

Bird wing flowers, a bit of a swaps tutorial.

Hallo all, I decided to try putting up a tutorial to show how the wing shape from the 2 Step Bird Punch can be used to make what I think are lovely little life-like flowers. Based primarily on the Exochorda, or Pearlbush I have growing in my garden - A gift from my grandmother and mother when I moved south and it produces beautiful five petaled white blossoms in spring.

I had an awful lot of seed from it last year, and wondered what to do with them. Though i'd love to fill the whole garden with them, there really isn't room! So when the theme of 'New Beginnings' came up for Monica's training day, I couldn't resist going with the idea of  new life in the form of plants. Its a particularly suitable plant too, as its variety, macarantha is commonly called 'The Bride' and often given as wedding gifts - two for one!

The swaps 

An exercise in using up scraps (I had a lot of them!) The boxes themselves were 2x4" Triangle boxes - these boxes a so quick to make and there's not a bit of glue needed - just a hole punch and a tie (in this case the ever useful silver elastic)


I decided to keep the decoration simple - stamping all over with Versamark for a subtle texture. I used the lovely little butterfly and bee from the Sale-a-Bration set Sweet Summer, to tie in with the idea of garden and blossoms. (Remember the Sweet Summer sets, and three others, are absolutly free if you spend more than £45 before the end of February!)


Once I'd stamped the random pattern (have you noticed how hard it is to be random?) I scored the card peices as you can see in the picture - basically mark the central point on each edge, then score across the middle, then in the diamond pattern to link up the four midpoints. 
I found the easiest way to punch them was to fold them up until they were closed, then wiggle your fiskers punch into the opening at the top - punch through the two layers on one side, swivel it round and punch through the other side.

Now for the flowers. I'll warn you these aren't the quickest of flowers to make, but I do think they are worth the effort. Using the 2-Step Bird punch, cut out five wings for each flower you need - In my case 250! I used off cuts (using up scraps again, yey!) from when I made last years christmas cards, and having the paper in thin strips meant that none was wasted in punching out the other pieces - a wonderfully handy tip if you only want one part of the punch.

One tool that was absolutly indespensible was a
toothpick - primarily for rolling the petals into shape.

I started by rolling the thinnest point into a slight cone, I then worked on the outer edge, rolling inwards and outwards as I pleased in an effort to make each petal unique.

However be prepared for a LOT of broken picks! Don't throw them away though.


For my swaps I chose to sponge a little green onto the thin end with the daubers, because that was where the colour was if I remember back to last spring rightly. You can also choose to give them streaks of pink or red with the markers, or to colour the round edges if you like - its entirely up to you and however you want it. 

In this illustration though I've left them blank, primarily as i'd only just got all the Wild Wasabi ink off my fingers and my hands are bad enough at the moment (do forgive my apalling nails, I've lots 12lbs recently and all that virtuousness has had its toll on my poor thumbs).

The leaves were also made with bird wing, and again from scraps i'd cut into strips for ease of punching. 

I shaped them the way i'd learned many years ago in school - with a scored wavy line. It gives a wonderful shape and with the two tones of green - Wild Wasabi and Certainly Celery - it added a bit of depth.

You can use your scoring tool, but as a fine line was needed, I ended up using the toothpick again. Just simply draw a wavy line traveling roughly from the middle of the round end to the point - as you can see i'm not that accurate, but I found it didn't matter.

Then I simply pinched them together, if they don't respond properly, you can also get in there and fold them along the line, but most of the time, pinching sufficed.

To assemble the flower.

I used a round base - but you can use anything, or mount them directly onto your project. Using Tombow I put a little bit on the middle and another bit to one side.
On the side I glued the leaves, one in each colour, but experiment and see what you like.


As the petals of the Exochorda were quite distinctly separated, I arranged them so that the points didn't quite meet in the middle. If you were doing an apple or cherry blossom you could bring the petals in to meet or even overlap at the point to suit the flower.


This is where those little bits of broken toothpick come in - they make excellent little tools for pressing the petal points into place and holding them there while the glue takes, meaning you don't get Tombow (which is designed to remain tacky even when dry) on your hands, making the job twice as fiddly.

I finished the flower by punching out the two smallest shapes from the Boho Blossoms punch. I did them in So Saffron as I wanted to inject a little more colour into the flower. I sprayed them with a little water and scrunched them up, then glued them to the centre and, because they are so pretty and make the perfect finishing touch, added a large flat back Pearl to the centre. 
I then simply glued the flower onto the boxes, filled the boxes with seed and tied them together.


I do have to admit though that not everyone got a box of my Pearlbush seeds, as there were fewer than I thought. So instead some got Sweetpea seeds, as I know of noone who doesn't enjoy their bright colours and gorgeous pong. Be careful though if you have a cat who nibbles (as Faran always does, her favorite being roses), as all parts of the plant are poisonous to kitty's - make sure you put the flowers out of their way.

Getting carried away!

The swaps made I felt inspired, so this afternoon I had a go at making two more types of flowers - the first was simply the Exochorda with more petals. 

With the circle to start with again, I simply placed them closely together and added more layers, finishing again with the Boho blossoms centre. 

The third flower was a little more ambitious. I was aiming for something more old rose like - lots and lots of tightly packed petals! I started with the centre this time, tightly rolling the first petal, then the second slightly looser.
I stuck them together with more Tombow, putting it this time on the inside of the next petal to be attached. As I went I pulled the top edges out a little, to make a bud. Once the glue is holding them securely, snip the bottom off (just a few millimeters will do).

When I had about six or so petals forming the centre, I went back and started the base. This time I started gluing from the outside in, adding as many layers as I could get in. Again the bits of toothpick came in use to press the petal points into place - i didn't escape without some glue on my finger though, it does get a bit tricky!


I continued cramming in the petals, getting asmany as I could, before popping a blob of glue on the base of the bud and. Placing it in the centre

To fix it all in place I rested it in the palm of my hand and pressed it into place, making it slightly cup shaped - you don't have to do this, I just wanted the petals more 'squished' together. 

On both flowers, I glued the leaves on to the outside edge so the tips could just be seen.


So there we go, three (I think) lovely flowers from one punch shape. If you make some of these do let me see them!


  1. These ickle treasure are super stunning in the flesh too! Am sooo glad i got to swap with you, many thanks for sharing this tutorial, I am deffo going to give it a try...

  2. I absolutely adored your swaps honey, truly beautiful and I so appreciate you taking the time to do them all. I also look forward to a full blooming garden. It was lovely seeing you yesterday Hugs xx

  3. Thank you both - it was wonderful to be able to see you both and swap with you too. If you do give it a try, let me see the results! Hug x