Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lotus make pods together!

One of my all time favorite nature nuggets growing up was the dried lotus seed pod. It seemed to be everywhere in the 1970s bringing nature into every home in America long enough to collect a lot of dust in those little holes. I loved the seeds rattling around in the pod and would try to take them out to no avail.

Well, since I could not get those seeds out I decided to create my own paper lotus pods without seeds, so there will be no seed removal frustration to tend with.

I also loved star anise seed pods, and could in fact remove those seeds. However, my favorite part about star anise was the shape and the smell. In paper crafting I am able to recreate the look of star anise, but the smell will have to be left to the viewer’s imagination.

In this post I will show you how to make the lotus pod and star anise. To do so you, the file you will need to make these creations is the Wee Gather Together Seeds and Pods cut it set on LD. The chart below shows the items (cut it files) that are in the set. Then in photos further down you will find the charts of those pieces turned into three dimensional art.

To make the lotus pod you will first need to cut out the top and base of the pod pieces. The top has many holes, the base looks like an 8-petalled, round flower. Use text weight paper (I use Paper Source text weight) to get a nice bend to the paper without tearing.

Once the pieces are cut out, take the 8-petal flower shape and attach each petal to the one next to it, overlapping slightly at the ends (about .125 inch) using tacky or white glue and mini clothes pins to hold and dry until you complete the base. You should end up with a cup or cone shaped piece. See the “how to” chart above. 

After the base is completely dry, gently crease each petal end to form a flattened tip of each petal all the way around the base. This will be small, but enough of a flat surface to then glue the top of the lotus pod (the circle with the holes in it) to its base. I suggest laying the top on the table surface, gluing around the edge of that piece, then placing the cone shape, as if it’s a mound, onto the other piece and securing with mini pins all the way around the pod until it is dry (see photo above). Finish off with a piece of florist wire or a painted bamboo skewer, and add leaves on the stem if you like.

I chose to spray paint the lotus pods once complete in a sprits fashion to give extra color and texture to the pod pieces. This can be done before or after the pod is assembled, but it is probably best done after. 

To make the star anise you will first need to have lentils or some other small seed-like pieces for the seeds of the star anise. You will need eight lentils per star anise. I chose to gloss the lentils with clear nail polish to make the seeds glisten, as the seeds actually do in real star anise. 

Cut out the flower shaped piece (shown below) in a paper weight that is not too thick (again, I like to use Paper Source or equivalent text weight). Next, crease each petal combo, first where they meet, then crease where they are adjacent to the next, going around the circle. See the “how to” chart below for steps.

Once the shape has been creased everywhere, you can begin to form the flower (star) shape. You will make eight petal pieces by dabbing a bit of glue on the tips and clothes pinning them together until dry. When all eight petals are dry, push the star shape inward toward the center, then glue and pin the center area, holding until dry and star shape is complete. This will take a little effort and quite some time to dry. (see photo above) If you have trouble with this step, you can use the small piece that was cut out of the center of the flower shape (hopefully not thrown away) and use it, gluing it under the center of the star, holding it together.

Since you have only glued the tips together on each petal, you will be able to form the petals into canoe shapes which will then hold a lentil (seed) in each petal. Dab glue in each crevasse and add a lentil, sitting vertically in the space. If you would like to add color and texture to the star anise, you can spray paint it when complete (as I have) but make sure you spray paint before you add the lentils.

Use these lovely accent pieces for autumn wreath and swag garland, or for table decor during your holiday season. Maybe even decorate a table where you will be serving mulling spiced cider and hot drinks. Then you will have that wonderful smell that accompanies your beautifully made star anise. Enjoy!

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