Ties, Lavender, Echeveria, Rocks


Albie immediately curled up on the rest of the ties, and I set up to make more lavender.

I’m still experimenting with technique, but I try to make a shrubbery’s worth of stems each time, so if they change I can call them varieties or cultivars :) #miniaturejustifications

I’m using paper-wrapped stem wire, purple superfine sand (Activa Scenic brand) for the flowers, tissue paper for the petals, tacky glue, and cardstock painted  grayish-green for the foliage. Most tutorials call for lycopodium as foliage, but I’ve decided on this well-designed and versatile punch from Punch Bunch.


I got my birthday order from The Miniature Garden, which included some 28-gauge paper covered stem wire, yay! Turns out what I’ve been using is 26-gauge, so voilà, the first (subtle) variety. (The #28 is on the left.)


I cut 1.5-inch (3.8 cm) lengths of stem wire and rolled one end a scant quarter-inch (6mm) in tacky glue.


Rather than dip the glued end, I pour the sand repeatedly over the stem wire. This builds up and preserves the shape of the flower.

drying stems_032016

The sanded stems are placed upright to dry. (The fluffy ones you see on the left are made with Flowersoft, a poofy kind of scatter that I’m considering using.)

The petals on top are made from tissue paper punched with a small flower shape, cupped with a ball stylus, and glued to the flower.


In the foreground you can see the Flowersoft flowers with petals cut from waxed paper tinted with a marker. Behind those are the sanded flowers with tissue petals.


The lavender spikes are planted in the mounds with an awl and glue.


These ones were built on #26 wire stems.


The foliage is shaped with a stylus and glued in around the stems to create a pleasantly convincing, if stylized, base.



Making more echeveria hen and chicks to cluster in around the lavender mounds. If you look closely above, you can see once again the difference between #26 and #28 (on the right) stem wire.

paperclay_rocks_unThere’s an entire molds-worth of paperclay rocks dried and awaiting mineralization. These will be nestled and half-buried around the lavender, poppy and succulents bed as an unobtrusive border.

Happy vernal equinox (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere)!


10 thoughts on “Ties, Lavender, Echeveria, Rocks

  1. Barbara W. says:

    The garden is looking quite fabulous – thank you for sharing the “how to”. Is there a particular brand of tissue that you favour? I can’t seem to punch tissue cleanly – very frustrating.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thank you, BW. I’m really enjoying myself; these plants are close to my heart. I use whatever tissue, and am similarly frustrated. I find putting a piece of regular-weight copy paper between the tissue layers and punch cutter helps a lot. Or try waxed paper… that’s how I discovered that it can also be tinted and used, in addition to (supposedly) aiding the cutting (along with aluminum foil for “sharpening?” the cutting edge).

  2. christina says:

    Fascinating! We’re several week away from actual gardening here in New England so this is a welcome ‘fix’ :) I’ve got some 1:24 scale kits from Miniature Gardener that I should crack open and try.
    (But it’s the silk ties I’m really excited to see put into use. My husband was gifted several but he’s a bow tie man and has no use for them…)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Whoa, 1:24 scale is wee! You are dedicated. I’m excited about the silk ties, too, and look forward to deconstruction and seeing how much usable fabric there actually is. I have this vision of finding a perfect richly-colored Paisley. Hmmm, maybe we tie enthusiasts should have a swap?! :)

  3. Bennie says:

    Wow, the flowers look amazing! You must have the patience of a saint. I worked on a small project yesterday and wanted to put it in its place but realized I should let it sit overnight to let the glue set up. I admit it — I’m impatient!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hah, I have *never* been accused of being a saint, Bennie ;)
      Waiting for paint and/or glue to dry tops my list of miniaturist minor aggravations — that’s why I’ve usually got like eight things going at once :)

  4. Kat says:

    The lavender is beautiful. I recently used “nail flock” from ebay when I experimented with flowers. It’s fluffy and fine and really cheap. I even take a razor blade to it to make it finer when needed. I’m waiting for purple to arrive to try lavender. But the yellow was great for flower centers.

    And the ties are brilliant! I would have never thought to use the fabric, but the scale is perfect.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Nail flock?! Interesting! Hah, I should glue some Flowersoft (intentionally) on my fingernails for a photo laugh :D
      I think silk ties are a great resource, too. Much tiny potential!

  5. chrstphrblk says:

    I always find it so interesting to see how people make miniature plants! I am going to be making a lot for an upcoming project and this was JUST the reminder I needed!

    Also LOVE the ties! I want to make a miniature chair “upholstered” with one but I haven’t found the right tie yet!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      We’re on the same wavelength, Blake. Annie Christensen’s We Love Miniatures http://weloveminiatures.com/ is such a rich resource!
      I just dissected the Escher tie, and it has a remarkable amount of usable fabric — luscious, creamy silk. I mentioned to Christina, above, perhaps we should have a tie swap?! I’ll post pictures of the ones that come my way. Maybe you’ll see your future upholstery :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s