With the 4th of July coming up next month, I thought I’d try my hand at building a little ramshackle roadside fireworks stand from scratch! I built the entire stand from foamcore and textured it with steel brushes to resemble wood.
I searched for vintage fireworks images and found a ton of great old posters, which I affixed to the front and sides of the stand, as well as old packaging that I was able to print out and turn into bottle rockets, sparklers and fountains. For the little smoke bombs, I painted wooden beads black and glued white embroidery thread in the hole on top for the wick.
To make the lit sparklers, I use a pom-pom making method with silver tinsel for the tops and then glued the sparkler to a piece of white floral wire.
To make the flags and bunting, I printed the images on inkjet printer fabric. For the flags, I cut them out and folded them in half around a trimmed and sanded toothpick and then glued them. I aged the edges with a Tim Holtz ink pad. For the bunting, I glued the half circles together at the tops and then sewed across the length of the bunting, pulling the thread taut to create the bunched effect. I then took a piece of red ribbon and glued that across the top to cover up the stitches.
To fill out the stand, I also printed out little patriotic top hats, pinwheels, a bird house and Cracker Jack boxes. I thought they brought a little nostalgia to the overall look of the stand.
A little over a month ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and ran across a Pier 1 ad for terrariums. When I saw the Daisy Terrarium, I just knew I needed to get it and transform it into a miniature conservatory!
Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with creating miniature plants and flowers, with the help of laser cut sheets from Tropical Miniatures by Mary Kinloch (the orchids, the split leaf philodendron, the parlor palm and the ruffle fern). Every other plant or flower was created through trial and error, hand cutting and shaping paper as well as floral tape.
My biggest challenges were the fountain and the scarlet macaw. For the fountain, I started with a fairy garden bird bath. I then used polymer clay to sculpt the base of the fountain.
I used UV resin and clear kitchen wrap cut into thin strips to create the cascading water effect. I sculpted my koi fish from polymer clay, then painted it with acrylic paint and Pearl Ex powder to give it that fishy shimmer.
Once the koi was complete, I filled the base of the fountain with resin. When it was almost fully cured, I added my water lilies and lily pads. They were all created with paper punches and alcohol ink markers, then shaped and detailed with a ball stylus.
The Scarlet Macaw
For the macaw’s perch, I started with wooden dowels painted with a metallic bronze acrylic. I then sculpted my macaw’s feet separately in polymer clay and glued them to the perch.
Next, I sculpted the macaw’s body from red polymer clay. His eyes are 1mm glass eyes, and the area around his eyes and his beak have been painted with acrylics.
After I baked the polymer clay, I hand cut every feather and applied tacky glue to affix them. Once the feathers were in place, I used red flock to cover his head and his body. When that was done, I used E6000 glue to affix the parrot to his feet on the perch. This macaw is the first bird I’ve ever sculpted, and I have to say, I’m delighted with the results!
The Tropical Flowers, Trees and Plants
I created several cymbidium orchid arrangements in different colors with help from Mary Kinloch’s laser cut sheets. I also hand cut the butterflies, which were printed out on my inkjet printer.
I mainly used alcohol ink markers to color the orchids, and I love the vibrant hues I achieved.
In my quest to make more tropical-styles of plants and flowers, I spent a lot of time looking at photos online and decided to try anthurium, aka flamingo flowers. I hand cut each and every flower and leaf on these plants, and I used a high gloss varnish to give them that shiny, waxy look.
To this arrangement, I added some bromeliads, a butterfly and ferns to fill it out.
The bird of paradise was tricky, but I finally figured out the shapes I needed to achieve the right look. I hand cut each component and used floral tape over wire for the leaves.
I also made a parlor palm from Mary Kinloch’s laser sheets, but the large potted double palm was a happy-go-lucky accident that turned out great!
I stumbled upon a feathery-looking floral pick at Michael’s and thought that it might make amazing palm fronds, so I bought a few, brought them home and painted them with green acrylic. Lo and behold, they do look awesome! To make the palm trunks, I wrapped brown pipe cleaners with brown floral tape until I got the diameter I wanted. Then, I painted over the trunks with matte gel medium, followed by various shades of brown and gray acrylic paints. I added coconut fiber just under the fronds to cover up the floral tape that holds the separate fronds together, and it worked out perfectly.
Lastly, I made the draecana with twigs I had in my craft stash and floral tape over wire. When I had a grouping of several leaves ready, I wrapped the stems in more floral tape and painted over that with matte gel medium tinted with green acrylic.
As you can tell, this was a real labor of love. It was also my first major “roombox-type” project, and I’m so proud of how it turned out.
Because I had so much fun with this, I ordered a smaller size Daisy Terrarium from Pier 1. So what’s next? Maybe an aviary? Guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out!
Don’t miss the April 2019 issue of American Miniaturist Magazine!
I’ve had the honor of being featured in American Miniaturist‘s latest issue! They included one of my Easter baskets, filled with metallic eggs and chocolate bunnies. The issue is chock full of gorgeous springtime inspiration, including lots of beautiful gardens and flowers – don’t miss out!
A customer recently requested a chalkboard-style Christmas sign, and I just had to share the end result. It turned out so cute! Hope you enjoy!
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