technique offers a fascinating new approach to combining fresh flowers
by Ian Cole
Many flowers are suitable for this technique and the only requirement is that the flower should be reasonably flat without too many overlapping petals.
Hydrangeas are lovely to use and work really well. On the same flowerhead you will find flowers of different sizes, shapes and in all shades of blues and pinks. As all flowers and the conditions in which they grow vary, be prepared for the unexpected to happen - sometimes the flower colour changes or darkens, but this is part of the fun.
What you need
- Calico 15 x 12.5 cm
- 2 pieces of Bondaweb, each 15 x 12.5 cm
- Sheer white organza or chiffon 15 x 12.5 cm, which will allow the colours of the flowers to show through
- Baking parchment or non-stick silicon paper, available from supermarkets (greaseproof paper is not suitable)
- Selection of fine embroidery threads such as silks, perles, stranded cottons
- Embroidery needle
- Iron and ironing board
- Fresh hydrangeas (or other suitable flowers)
In this project, hydrangea flowers are bonded between printed calico and organza, with added running stitch.
The calico can be used plain or you may prefer to lightly colour or print it. Try streaks of diluted fabric paint applied with a paintbrush or sponge, or stroke the fabric lightly with wax fabric crayons. Water-soluble pencils and spray paints are also effective. You can use fabrics such as silks and cottons instead of the calico, or even consider a patterned fabric.
What you do
Bonding the flowers
- Choosing flowers with flat, undamaged petals, snip off the flowerheads, removing all of the stalk. Select flowers of different sizes and in different shades.
- Protect the ironing board with a piece of baking parchment and lay the prepared calico on it, right side up.
- Remove the backing paper from one piece of Bondaweb and place the adhesive mesh on top of the calico.
- Now is the fun part! Arrange the flowers on the mesh in a pleasing pattern. Take your time and move the flowers around until you are happy with the design.
- Remove the backing paper from the other piece of Bondaweb. The adhesive mesh seems to attract static, so wave it around for a moment or two before placing it carefully on top of the arranged flowers.
- Cover with the sheer organza or chiffon.
- Cut a piece of baking parchment slightly larger than the prepared work and place it on top of the piece. (If you don't do this, the Bondaweb will simply stick to your iron.)
- With the iron on a hot cotton setting, iron the work firmly, keeping the iron moving over the surface for a minute or so.
- Whilst still warm, carefully peel off the baking parchment to reveal the beautiful flowers bonded securely between the calico and organza.
Using fine and slightly
thicker threads in a variety of colours to complement the flowers, work
lines of running stitch all
over the background between the flowers. As well as stitching in vertical
lines, you could work round and round the flowers or in horizontal bands
or a meandering pattern.
Work straight stitches or other decorative stitches for the centres of the flowers, adding a few french knots or beads if you wish.
and lace the embroidery onto card and place in your chosen frame or
use to make a card, as shown.
Some other ways to
use the technique: above, left to right - Hydrangea petals bonded onto paper with machine embroidery threads; Hydrangea flower bonded between printed calico and organza, stitched to card with free cross stitches; Fennel leaf and flowers bonded onto paper
- A wide variety of flowers can be used instead of the hydrangeas. Many leaves are also suitable, but avoid anything that is too thick or fleshy. Often it is best to separate the petals from the flower. For example, with carnations it would be impossible to use the whole flower, but the individual petals are very pretty. Make abstract patterns with the petals, create new species... experiment!
- This technique works just as well on paper as it does on fabric, which gives lots of scope for making simple yet stunning greetings cards. It is not always necessary to add the top layer of organza, especially if you are not adding stitching to your card design. Otherwise, the process is the same: background paper or fabric covered with the first layer of adhesive mesh, petals added and finally covered with a second piece of adhesive mesh; cover with baking parchment and iron.
- Think about adding some fine metallic, machine-embroidery threads at the same time as the petals so that they are also bonded into the finished piece.
- A single flower bonded onto printed fabric or paper can be stitched onto card with free cross stitches, as shown.
Enjoy the technique and try out your own ideas and variations.
more ideas: Seedheads and hydrangea petals bonded onto silk fabric with
machine embroidery threads