Tag Archives: flowers

90: Tissue Flower Pomander

Post two of three wedding posts, consider yourself forewarned!  This week I am working on a centerpiece for my friend Laura’s upcoming wedding, a tissue paper pomander.  Pomander is French for “apple of amber” and was originally a sweet smelling or perfumed ball.  In Medieval times it was a locket of perfume, in Victorian times, it was cured fruit studded with cloves.  Today, it’s a beautiful ball of flowers.

Paper flowers are a strong decorative element for the wedding, so making the pomander with tissue in the bride’s favorite colors made sense.  Making the pomander is not hard – make lots of tissue flowers, stick them to a styrofoam ball.

The three cuts - Purple is straight edges, red is curved, and the yellow is laser cut bracket edge
The three cuts – Purple is straight edges, red is curved, and the yellow is laser cut bracket edge.  I think the bracket edge gives it an interesting ruffled look, without being too spiky.

When perusing tutorials for tissue flowers on the internet, I saw that changing the shape of the edge of the flower made subtle differences to the end look of your bloom.  The post on the Hey, Let’s Make Stuff blog illustrated it very well, showing the difference between fringed edges, scalloped edges, pointed tips and concave edges.  In a classic case of tool overkill, I knew I could use the laser to make the decorative edging.

Clean Laser cuts
Clean Laser cuts

Because of the nature of laser cutting, it was easier for me to cut the decorative edge, basically a repeating bracket pattern, while the tissue was unfolded.  If you were cutting the edging by hand, you would wait until you folded the tissue, so one or two snips would make the design repeat the entire length – like cutting a paper doll chain or making a snowflake.

The tissue is attempting to escape the laser, but the Starman will save the day!
The tissue is attempting to escape the laser, but the Starman will save the day!

Not that I expected anything different, but cutting tissue in the laser was a breeze.  I folded the paper 8 layers thick and didn’t even get the hint of singe.  The problem with tissue is that it is so light, though, and really wanted to fly up.  I had to use what was handy, in this case Ryan’s Rush Starman coasters, to hold down individual cut sections.  This post is still safe for work, though, right?

There are so many tutorials out there, I won’t walk you though step by step of making the flowers, but here’s what they look like:

Stages of making a flower - blue is the fan fold, purple is attaching the wire around the middle, red is the fluffing stage with only he first layer separated, and yellow is the final bloom.
Stages of making a flower – Step 1 – blue is the fan fold.  Step 2 – purple is attaching the wire around the middle. Step 3 –  red is the fluffing stage with only the first layer separated and yellow is the fully fluffed final bloom.

And here is the (sort of) finished pomander!

A lovely tissue pomander...
A lovely tissue pomander…
...hiding the secret it's not DONE! I didn't cut enough flowers of give myself enough time to finish it before the post needed to go up. No worries, Laura, I'll finish it before the big day!
…hiding the secret it’s not DONE! I didn’t cut enough flowers OR give myself enough time to finish it before the post needed to go up. No worries, Laura, I’ll finish it before the big day!

 

34: Votive Holders

Here's a votive holder at the wedding reception itself!
Here’s a votive holder at the wedding reception itself!

I have a long and slightly bitter history trying to laser-engrave glass. The back of my old iPhone 4 wasn’t having it, and the fire flowers I tried to cultivate didn’t quite pass muster. Still, when a friend wants some glass engraved for her wedding, I’m certainly not going to turn her down!

A single lonely votive holder.
A single lonely votive holder.

Lara and Paul got married on August 23rd, and to celebrate the occasion, Lara wanted some personalized votive holders to give to guests as wedding favors. With a simple, clean design based off of her wedding invitations and website, my only concern was whether the glass she sourced would fight with me as much as my fire flower vase did. The votive holders she chose were also coated in a blue surface material, so I had some new concerns about whether the laser would properly burn away the blue.

A closeup of the engraving, featuring a right-facing flower!
A closeup of the engraving, featuring a right-facing flower!

As it turns out, I had little cause for worry. Not only did the glass etch beautifully with only a few test engravings to get the power settings right, it also cut clear through the blue, creating an excellent contrast even when viewed through the other side of the glass. One technique for engraving glass that I learned about after my previous attempts involved dithering the engraving slightly by marking locations to engrave with a dark gray rather than black proper. While this results in a slightly less detailed engraving, it reduces chipping, which was an issue I ran into a lot with the fire flower vase. In this case, though, I didn’t have to dither the engraving at all!

The cardboard template that allowed 20 votive holders to be processed in one pass.
The cardboard template that allowed 20 votive holders to be processed in one pass.

There was a gross amount of votive holders to engrave—literally 144—so I made sure to take what I learned about templates and I was able to process 20 at a time. This would make the project take far less time than processing a single glass at a time. It also allowed me to more easily implement one design element: a flower mid-piece that either faces left or right. In the design file for the template I whipped up, ten votive holders would feature right-facing flowers and ten would feature left-facing flowers. It’s a neat way of achieving balance that would have been nightmarish processing one holder at a time.

I come away from this week’s project definitely feeling better about working with glass, but I’ve surely got a lot left to learn, and a whole rotary engraving attachment still to acquire!

A nice stack. Don't light them in this configuration.
A nice stack. Don’t light them in this configuration.