These instructions are based on some written by Margo Mulberry in 1983.
She was a member of the Spokane club, and she taught my club members how to
make the Gladiolus, long before I was a member of the club. Judy C used
Margo's instructions to teach us to make gladiolus. These instructions
include extra tips and techniques--things I picked up from Judy, or
figured out on my own.
Information about Gladiolus, taken directly from Margo's instructions:
The Cape of Good Hope region is the ancestral home of a major section
of the Gladiolus tribe. By the early 1800's, in England, expert hybridizing
played an important part in creating the nearly 400 varieties we have
today. Today's Glads grow from two to six feet tall, with individual blossoms
from prim little hoods an inch broad to flaring, ruffled giants that
measure close to six inches from tip to top. There is literally no color
[not blue!] which cannot be found somewhere in the ranks of the Gladiolus
The individual buds, strung along the blossom spike, invariably open one
at a time, beginning at the bottom. Thus, if a spike is cut and placed in
water when its lowest flower opens, the bloom at the top may not spread its
petals for 10 days or more.
- Green covered florist wire
- Green florist tape
- Crepe paper, in Gladiolus flower color
- cloth or paper leaf material (optional. I use florist tape to make the
leaves, after Jonesy taught me how)
- Wire snips
- Tacky glue
- Good tweezers (without 'teeth')
- medium size darning needle or 'toad stabber' tool (that is what we called
'em in biology lab in college)
- Punches: diamond and 1/8" circle. Cheap ones from craft store work well.
- A stylus (or a toothpick with the end rounded off)
- A mousepad, a potholder, or anything you can find to make a smushy
surface for shaping the flower petals. The palm of your hand will work
in a pinch.
Fold the crepe paper in layers, and use the circle and diamond punch
to make a bunch of petals. Punching through 8 or so layers is easier and
faster than cutting single layers of the crepe paper. Use your needle to
separate the layers of circles and diamonds after they have been punched.
Cut a length of florist tape, making it as long as you want the flower
spike to be tall.
Cut florist tape as shown in Figure 1. Cut one 'A' pieces, and 6
of the smaller triangular pieces.
Place glue on bottom and side edge of banner-shaped piece (A); lay wire on
edge and roll to pointed end. Figure 2.
With one triangular shaped piece, run glue along wide side, then lay a small
circle of crepe paper about 1/2 on tape. Place needle on center of tape
and circle, fold tape over and roll. Figure 3. Slip off needle and
set aside. Do this step 4 times with circle pieces, and 2 times with diamond
Glue the buds along the front side of the wire. Stagger the buds, as shown
in Figure 4. Position the buds so that the ones made with the circles
are near the top of the spike, and the ones made with the diamonds are lower
down on the spike. Remember, the buds closest to the tip of the spike open
last, so these buds need to be the smallest ones. If you are as klutzy as I
am, your buds will naturally be different sizes. :-)
Now the fun begins...
Take some of the diamond shaped petal pieces, and shape them. Margo's
instructions said to strech them gently, using fingers and tweezers, but Judy
suggested laying them on a mousepad and rubbing and pressing them each
gently with a stylus, which causes them to curl.
Judy also suggested another technique that gives the flowers a lot of life.
Before curling the flowers, paint a small line on the center of each petal,
painting it only about halfway from one tip of the diamond. Use craft paint
in a coordinating flower color. A niftier trick is to use the pastel gel
rollers on them. When you curl the petals, make sure the stripey side is
down, so that the stripe is on the outside of the curve, and therefore on
the top part of the petal.
After curling the petals, dip your needle in glue, and place half-way onto
one of the (not painted) diamonds, and wrap the bottom of the petal around
the needle. Figure 5. Pick up a diamond petal with your tweezers,
dip the tip of the petal in glue (the end with the stripe, if you painted
the petals), and place it on the needle where it is covered by the first
petal. Glue 3 more petals to the flower.
Figure 6. Slip off needle, and set it aside to dry.
Make 5 to 9 of these blossoms. When dry, glue them on the stem, continuing
under the buds, staggering the blossoms. Keep them fairly close together.
Use paper, fabric, or florist tape to make the leaves. Shape them like in
Figure 8. When I make leaves, I cut some thin wire and glue it
between two pieces of florist tape. After the glue dries, I cut out the
leaf shapes. Make several leaves, and glue them to both the front and back
of the wire, about 1/2" from the bottom.
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