Today we’re thrilled to have Corrie Beth Hogg share a DIY project she made just for us, inspired by her new book, Handmade Houseplants: Remarkably Realistic Plants You Can Make with Paper! Take it away, Corrie! –Kelli
I love the challenge of figuring out which of my trusty art supplies will best replicate my current plant obsession, and then sorting what I’ve learned into teachable steps. Right now, I’m totally smitten with all the cultivars of Colocasia. You likely know them as “elephant ears,” and it’s a fitting name, as the leaves of these plants can get huge!
What I’ve made here is inspired by “mojito” or Colocasia esculenta, a stunning variegated variety that was only just discovered (or engineered) in 2007! I am beyond thrilled to share this tutorial with y’all … just look at this dreamboat, and all its splatter! You can make an entire plant like I have, or craft just a few leaves to place in vases or gift to friends. You can tell them to come visit, and say you’ll have a mojito waiting for them … except without the rum and mint! —Corrie Beth Hogg
- PDF templates (link in Step 3)
- Text-weight paper in “clover” color from Paper Source
- Red, blue, and white acrylic paints (I prefer Holbein Mat Acrylics)
- Two spray bottles: one for water, one for mixed paint
- Containers for mixing paint
- Paintbrushes in various sizes (I used a 1” flat, ¼” flat, and a small round)
- Scissors, pencil, and bone folder
- 16-gauge straight wire and wire cutters
- Aleene’s quick-dry tacky glue
- Wine colored floral tape
- Hot-pink gel pen
- Newsprint (or other scrap paper) and paper towels
- Foam, pot, and gravel of your choice
Mix equal amounts of red and blue paint together to create a dark-purple color. Adding a little at a time, mix the paint with water until it is a runny consistency. Using a spray bottle filled with water, mist the paper, covering it completely but not soaking it. Quickly paint irregular areas with the watered-down paint, allowing some of the green paper to remain visible. The paint should bleed and spread over the paper. Once the paper is dry, repeat these steps on the other side.
Fill the other spray bottle with the watered-down acrylic paint mixture. Once the paper has dried from step one, use your spray bottle to add a mist of purple spray across each sheet of paper. Once dry, repeat on the other side.
Using the templates provided, trace and cut out the leaves. Keep the scraps … we’ll use them later.
First, paint an elongated Y shape along the center of each leaf using slightly watered-down white paint. (You just want the paint to be translucent, feel free to test it on a scrap piece of paper). Next, using mixed purple paint (not diluted), paint irregular hard-edged shapes along each side of the leaf, painting each leaf differently. Finally, once the paint has dried, use the gel pen to add a dot of hot-pink in the vertex of the Y shape.
Fully cover each 16-gauge wire in wine floral tape. Next, to prepare the stems intended for the largest leaves, tear a triangular shape of paper towel and wrap it snugly around the wire, a few inches from the end. Secure the paper towel in place by covering it with floral tape. It may require several applications.
Next, using white paint (not diluted), add a few vertical lines to the thicker part of the stem.
Using the scraps you created in Step 3, cut paper strips approximately 3/4” wide by 2” long. Place a wire along the center of the leaf’s back and coat a strip with tacky glue. Cover the wire with the glue coated strip and secure it in place by running a bone folder along the contours of the wire. Repeat for all the leaves.
Once the glue has dried, carefully bend the wire stems so the leaves are pointing down. Fill your pot with foam and cover the foam with the gravel you chose. Assemble the plant by placing the larger leaves (with the thickened stems) close together in the center of the foam. Insert the smaller leaves into the foam around the larger ones, using wire cutters to cut the wire stems shorter if need be. Arrange your plant so it’s balanced but not perfectly symmetrical, and adjust the angle of the leaves to your liking.
You can find more paper plant tutorials in Handmade Houseplants: Remarkably Realistic Plants You Can Make with Paper!