This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Wax flowers make a pretty substitute for natural flowers. They may be made with such skill as closely to resemble the natural plant in everything save perfume, and the manufacture of them affords an opportunity for the exercise of great neatness and good taste, as well as observation of the nature and structure of the flowers which it is intended to represent. But little instruction is necessary in learning to make wax flowers. The wax is sold ready prepared in small sheets of various thickness and of almost every shade to be seen in nature, and those that are not exactly the tint can be readily made to assume it by the help of powdered colors.
To begin a group of wax flowers it will be enough to procure one dozen sheets of Nos 1, 2 and 3, in the best white wax; three shades of yellow wax, six sheets of each; six or seven shades of green, from the light green of the primrose leaf to laurel and myrtle green, six sheets of each.
The colors are sold in little bottles; the most useful are carmine, three shades of ultramarine blue, three shades of chrome yellow, flake white, burnt umber, a bottle of bloom, and one of liquid transparent gall.
The implements required are a pair of small finely pointed scissors, which must never be used for any other purpose, a palette knife, six small sable brushes, some small saucers for mixing the colors, box-wood tools with smooth round tops for rolling the wax, steel pins with glass heads for the same purpose, wire covered with green, in three sizes, for the stems, and two shades of green down. Some people use tin cutters for the leaves, similar to paste cutters, but they are not absolutely necessary, as most beautiful wax flowers can be made from a tracing of the natural leaf by laying it on a piece of white paper and tracing the outline with a pencil.
A Camellia japonica is one of the easiest flowers to make, the leaves being large and of four sizes only. If the cutters are not available, take a large camellia, study well its appearance, the way in which the leaves grow, and their sizes; then pull off one of the most perfectly-shaped of the large outer leaves, lay it on a bit of white paper, and trace the edge round with a pencil; do the same with the smaller leaves; then cut out these diagrams; take a sheet of the thickest white wax, lay the diagram on it, and cut out ten patterns or leaves of the largest size, eleven leaves of the next size, eleven of the third size, and eight of the fourth; take a piece of strong green wire eight inches long, make a ball the size of a large pea of white wax on the end of the wire, lay a leaf of the fourth size on the palm of the left hand, and with the head of the box-wood tool rub the edge of the leaf till it becomes thin; pinch and crumple it so as to resemble the natural leaf; put a slight tint of yellow, as in the real leaf, and stick each leaf round the ball of wax, pressing it close; and when all the leaves are put on of this size, bind them with the parings of the wax.
Follow on with the other leaves, making each row more open, till the last and largest leaves, which almost lie back from the the stem in a horizontal position.
A red camellia is made with pale yellow wax, which is painted over with carmine; this gives exactly the deep shade of the natural flower. The leaves of the rose are the same shape as the camellia. For the green leaves it is best to buy artificial leaves of muslin, and coat them over with green wax the proper shade, taking care to preserve all the veins and markings in the wax surface. The closer the imitation of nature, the more beautiful the flower will be; nature, therefore, is the book to study. - Pictorial World.