Winter botanical jewellery tutorial
Our queen of all things floral, Gemma is back today with an amazing DIY that even the least green-fingered of us should be able to pull off (yay!). But before we get stuck into our botanical crafts, let’s spare a second to appreciate the small yet mighty snowdrop.
“Truly, I love winter. After a long day of being in the cold workshop and fridge, there is nothing more warming than snuggling up to the fire with my favourite tipple in hand, watching our dog Mac roast his belly. However, as the nights continue to get lighter, we are actually seeing our garden in a little daylight after work. The excitement is brewing for the arrival of spring. The sight of snowdrops emerging through the winter forest floor, on our dog walks lately has been a welcome sign that it is well and truly on the way.
“I am quite often asked what my favourite flower is and I never have the answer. Usually, hesitating for too long, I give up and say “well… it all depends…” then I tend to get an eye roll from the interrogator! My list of variables start… What time of year is it, which venue am I in, what is the design brief, what colour am I toning to and on and on I go.
“If we are talking about what grows wildly on our doorstep, at the start of spring, in white, well then Snowdrops are the boys for me! Those blankets of little nodding flowers capture my imagination with the tiniest variations in their petals, texture and shape. There are hundreds of different snowdrops growing their little hearts out that are well adapted to life in the cold – my favourite fact being that their leaves have specially hardened tips to help them break through frozen soil and their sap contains a form of antifreeze to prevent ice crystals forming. Did you read that?& Their leaves contain antifreeze.. ANTIFREEZE! Just amazing. Plantings en-masse are my favourite, tucked around the bases of trees, huddled down waiting for January to arrive and be the first plant to flower in the new year.”
“After our very own #planetbee Antony’s wedding
was featured here at WFIL, we had so much interest over his succulent floral cuffs the groomsmaids wore. We took inspiration for these from the super talented designer Susan McLeary over at Passion Flower Events
. Seriously, if you like botanical jewellery, go take a peek at her absolutely amazing creations – they are a true work of art. Making wearable botanical jewellery is nothing short of addictive! Once you have had a little play around with it and get your flow, the options are endless. From rings to anklets, earrings to neck pieces – I have even made floral cravats for men. Taking this new found addiction and my love of Snowdrops, we thought it would be interesting to show you how we make a floral cuff using garden cuttings that are readily available right now.
“While out in the garden I picked some snowdrops and foraged for some other dainty botanical goodies. All very easy to cut and come by. A little moss, Hawthorn, Muscari buds, Ivy, Ivy berry and the main event, the Snowdrops. You don’t need much of anything, just a nice mixture to give some texture in your piece. Be careful, when you are making a piece of botanical jewellery, remember it is going to be beside your skin so don’t choose anything that you think might be an irritant. We are going to use a copper cuff to create our piece on but you can use anything, a piece of ribbon or fabric will even work. The secret ingredient in this DIY is a tube floral adhesive waterproof glue.I promise you, once you have used this there will be no going back! You can pick this up in most good craft stores or online for about £5. Hot glue does also work but I find it becomes too chunky and sometimes doesn’t hold as well as the floral glue.
Start by clipping your garden goodies down to the base or as short as you think you may like them so they are easier for you to manage with the glue. Get yourself organised, as it can all get a bit sticky quite quickly. If you are using ribbon as the base, then make sure and cut it far bigger than you need so that if you end up gluing off centre you can re-cut the material to be the right size for your wrist.
Everyone has their own technique but I find it best to start with a layer of glue straight onto the metal/fabric. Let it tack up for a moment and then start adding your foliage as a base. You will need to add a little dab of glue onto the end of any other pieces you add in once you have given yourself a good foliage base.
Build up your design from outside in, keeping your most delicate items such as the Snowdrops in the centre so that the small pieces of branches and moss are keeping the flowers safe and tucked in. Finish by filling in any empty spaces with small little fillers like the Muscari buds to add a more interesting texture.
Once you are happy with your design, pop it aside to dry. This is meant to be worn that day and delicates such as Snowdrops won’t last long but a gentle mist of water will help longevity. The more foliage and mosses you use, the longer this little beauty will last. Of course added succulents are just perfect and survive out of water a long time.
I can’t wait to get started on this DIY – off to order my floral glue right now! Who else is with me? Christina x
Based in Edinburgh, Gemma has been surrounded by flowers since a very young age, and loves to push the boundaries when it comes to floral art. Along with her Planet Flowers team, she has been adding botanical magic to weddings and events (remember the Chanel Metiers d’Art show in Scotland?) for many years, and is now bringing her crazy craft skills to WFIL.