The paper should be carefully selected, reference being had principally to its color and texture. As a rule, it cannot be too thin, and must be soft and strong. Avoid highly glazed papers, excepting when such a flower as the peony is to be copied. In passion-flower and fuchsia there is a thickness of texture only to be imitated by placing a sheet of thin waxed muslin between two sheets of paper. For many flowers, especially roses, a shaded paper is used, so colored as to allow of its being doubled, that a number of petals may be cut from it, leaving the dark shade in the part required. Many flowers will need painting, and for this purpose powder color is employed, using it with a tinting brush, a separate one being kept for each tint. Many flowers, such as tulip, geranium, picotee, etc., require a second or third shade of color; for these, moist or transparent colors are to be used, violet, lake, carmine and sepia being most useful, but for a complete list of colors the reader is referred to page 142. The moist colors must be applied with a sable brush. They should all be mixed with water, in some cases adding a little gum, for the purpose of more completely fixing the color on the paper.
Avoid using the powdered color too wet; it should resemble a thick paste on the palette. Sometimes use the color dry, rubbing it on with the finger, but this only on rare occasions.
Several kinds of wire will be wanted, some flowers having soft and some stiff stems. In some - not many - a very light springing stem is necessary, as for poppy; fine soft wire for the stems of fuchsias, etc. I am led to insist on particular attention being paid to the stems being imitated carefully, as so many otherwise good specimens have been spoiled by having stems hard looking and unlike the natural flower.
Wire covered with cotton is generally used, also fine steel wire for the tendrils of passion-flower, or for the light and graceful stem of the common field poppy.
Floss silk is useful; this must be fine, strong, and soft. It is used as a fastening to many of the petals, to nearly all the leaves, and when a joint of many stems is to be formed.
Black tying wire, for greater strength and larger work, is sometimes necessary.
Gum water is used for fastening the work together; this must aot be too thin.
The proper tools will be found at an art store, both as regards size and form, numbering from 1 to 8, but practice alone will enable the learner to judge which is best suited, some finding a large, some a small tool the more effective.
The pincers are required to arrange the petals of a flower, as for a rose, clove, etc.
Scissors adapted to cutting the paper, having a nipper-like contrivance at the bottom of the blades for cutting the wire.
As nearly all the leaves will require some painting, to give them a warmer or more natural tint than is to be found in those usually purchased, mix a small quantity of the proper color, use it with a tinting brush, and having carefully painted over the surface of the loaf, leave it to dry, then hold it to the fire; or should a glossy appearance be required, as in a camellia leaf, the polishing brush must be used.
To obtain the pattern of a natural flower, proceed thus: Select one or more petals, as the case may require. Take a geranium, for example; this has two sizes, so that one of the large, or painted petals, and one of the smaller, will be required. Place these on a sheet of thin cardboard, trace round the edge with a pencil, then cut out to drawing, allowing a little additional length for fixing them. Mark on each the number necessary for the flower.
In some cases petals are cut in a circle or star, as in clove, rhododendron, or passion-flower. This is done by getting one petal traced on paper, as above directed, then cutting the required number for it, and so arranging them on the cardboard as to represent, as in the passion-flower, a star of five. Take for example a