I recently took another amazing class with Lynn Dolan at Castle in the Air.
For the ranunculus, we used 18 gauge stem wire wrapped in kraft paper, which made the stem thicker and sturdier. (These would be perfect for using to make the top heavy peony we made in a previous class). Lynn cut the stems in half, so that they were nine inches long.
These shorter stems were much easier to work with than the long stems!
For the rose class, we used doublette crepe paper. For the peony, we used thick florist crepe. For the ranunculus, we used fine crepe paper, which is thinner and more delicate and has a finer grain than the two other types of crepe.
After the six different petal shapes of the peony class, the ranunculus thankfully had just four basic petals, all the same shape, but different sizes.
What it lacked in petal variety, it made up for in the number of petals we had to cut out. Roughly SIXTY petals are used to make one single flower!
Needless to say, we spent a lot of time cutting out the petals. The fine crepe is much easier to cut than the florist crepe, but harder to cut than the doublette.
We colored the tips of the petals with powdered chalk pastel.
I didn’t really like how I colored my petals, how there was a definite demarcation between the colored tips and the uncolored parts, but I was assured that once the flower was all put together, it would be much less noticeable.
One of my fellow students did a gorgeous job coloring her petals.
Notice how she also added color to the base of the petals. I don’t know if I heard Lynn right, but I ended up coloring my petals on the outside, while this student colored her petals along the inside like we did in the rose class.
We then cupped our petals – all sixty of them! The fine gathers of the crepe paper made the petals very delicate to handle, so we had to make sure we didn’t over-stretch them – or at least I did 😉
Now it was time to put our ranunculus together. We took our stem wire and wrapped and glued a strip of light green florist crepe, about 13-1/2 inches long and one-fourth inch wide, around the tip to form a cotton swab shape.
We used florist crepe for this step for the color, as different colors are available with the different types of crepe.
Then we started gluing on our petals, making sure to overlap the width of the previous petal halfway.
The trickiest part about the ranunculus, is that you want to glue the petals so that they are flush with each other. You should get a flat top of sorts. As you can see, my petal placement was not perfect, but I was happy with the result, given it was my very first atttempt:
I ended up not using all the petals I cut out. I just stopped when my flower looked right.
Check out the kiss of green in the center of this flower from a fellow student:
For someone like me, who is meticulous about getting everything down perfectly, the ranunculus proved very forgiving. When I first started making the rose, I tried too hard to glue the petals on perfectly, and what I ended up with was a flower that did not quite look like a rose. The ranunculus, on the other hand, turns out best when care is taken to glue the petals on precisely.
When we were done with the petals, we cut out the five sepals for the calyx, using the same florist crepe we had used for the stem.
We – or at least, I (don’t remember if Lynn told us to do this) – slightly cupped the sepals before gluing them on. Given the small size of the flower, it was kind of tricky spacing out the sepals evenly, but having individually cut sepals (rather than a continuous strip of them like in the rose) made it easier.
We wrapped part of the stem and then we worked on the leaves.
We cut one leaf from the smallest template and glued it onto the stem.
We cut out leaves from the other two templates for the sprig. I forgot to take a photo of the leaves all cut out, but five leaves formed one sprig. We glued the top, large leaf of the sprig onto 22 gauge floral wire by adding glue to the tip of the wire, folding the base of the leaf around it, and gently flattening the leaf once the glue had dried a little.
The other, smaller leaves were then glued to the wire beneath the top leaf, with pairs of leaves facing each other. We wrapped and glued the entire sprig onto the main stem of the flower.
Here’s what the leaves look like all glued on:
We finished wrapping the rest of the stem to complete our ranunculus.
Lynn also showed us how to make a ranunculus bud. We first glued a cotton ball onto the top of the 18 gauge wire.
We then covered and wrapped the cotton ball and the top of the stem with kiwi colored florist crepe, which mimics the color of an actual ranunculus bud.
Next, we cut out four petals, all the same size (I forget which sized template), out of the same kiwi colored crepe. We cupped the petals.
We then glued down the tops of each petal over the top of the bud.
Then we glued the rest of the petals down. This part was tricky, as the stiffness of the florist crepe caused the edges of the paper to keep popping up, so I tamped everything down with some craft glue, kind of like decoupaging. Since glue dries clear, I wasn’t afraid of putting on a liberal dose of it. It also helped that this particular color of crepe did not run when wet!
One of my fellow students glued her petals more along the sides of her bud, rather than on top, and added a kiss of color to the center:
Doesn’t it remind you of a cabbage? :0)
Then we basically did what we did with the fully opened flower – We created the calyx and leaves and glued and wrapped everything together to form the completed bud.
Lynn also showed us how to create another type of ranunculus in class, but I was not able to get to it until I got home.
For this ranunculus, the top of the stem was wrapped with a strip of light orange florist crepe, instead of the light green we used for our first flower.
This ranunculus has a fringed center. To make this, I cut out a strip of black fine crepe paper, about 12 inches long and an inch and a half wide and snipped it about halfway down, about every eighth of an inch.
I then wrapped and glued the fringe around the stem center, slightly lower than the tip.
The rest of the flower was put together like the first one, with the petals glued all around the fringe. This time I used fine crepe in lilac for the petals and decided not to chalk them up like I did for my first ranunculus.
Here’s the view after all the petals were glued on:
I ended up using even less petals than I did for my first ranunculus. I think the addition of the fringe made it harder to glue the petals close together into a tight spiral. As I kept adding petals, they kept spiraling outward, instead of staying nice and tight. Here’s what it should have looked like, (courtesy of a fellow student), had I done a better job gluing on the petals:
I also didn’t do such a good job with the placement of the petals and ended up with a flower that appeared lopsided, partly because the petals were not flush.
Another thing I did differently this time around was that I used light green doublette crepe, the same kind I used in the rose class, for the calyx, stem, and leaves. The only problem was, the doublette has a different shade of green on each side. That was okay for the calyx and stem; I just positioned the crepe so that the darker side was exposed outward, as seen in the above photo. But when it came to the leaves, there was no hiding the bi-color.
With the rose, you could “hide” the bi-color better because the leaves were slightly turned down, but the leaves on the ranunculus are more upright.
I think I will use the olive colored doublette next time. Even though it isn’t the right color for the ranunculus leaves and stems, the olive color is about the same on both sides. I just prefer using the doublette for these parts of the flower, as I find it easier to work with.
Here’s my finished ranunculus:
Here are my ranunculus flowers and bud all together:
Practice makes perfect, so I will definitely need to keep practicing making the ranunculus!
Thanks, Lynn, for another great class!
What are some of your favorite flowers? Please share in the comments.