Waxen Flowers And Fruit. There are two methods in which to give instruction in this art. The first is, to instruct how to prepare the various materials, and then proceed to describe in detail the making of a flower or fruit ; the second is, to avail ourselves of ready-prepared materials, to show the learner how much beauty can be readily produced. and how easily some of the most charming flowers can be imitated - and then to give full directions how the various materials may be prepared by the pupil.
The petals, leaves, &:c. of wax flowers are made of coloured sheets of wax, which may be purchased in the shops at 6s. 6d. per gross of sheets, made up in dozens, of various colours. The stems are made of wire of various thicknesses, covered with silk, and overlaid with wax ; and the leaves are commonly made each with two thin sheets of wax pressed closely by the thumb upon an embossed leaf of calico. These calico leaves may be purchased for a small sum. The general plan of proceeding may, perhaps, be best understood by a preliminary general description of the manner of making a blossom with many leaves or petals. A piece of cardboard, at least a foot square, should be marked out upon the plan of the accompanying little sketch: -
The pattern flower being then held in the hand with the face upwards, the outside or lowest leaves near the flower, called bracts, should be carefully picked off and laid on the cardboard in their relative positions with regard to the centre of the flower, on the outside double line marked b. The parts of the calyx, or outside leaves close to the flower, should in the same manner be carefully removed, and placed in their relative positions on the circle c. If there are two rows they must be laid upon the circle d - arranged alternate with, or opposite, as in the flower, to the parts already laid out. The flower may be thus dissected : the petals, stamens etc. being laid out in order, and the seed-vessel or little central lump of the flower, laid upon the centre of the cardboard. For convenience, a lew small pins may be Used to keep the parts in their places. Patterns of each of the different leafy parts may then be cut in paper, and marked, lettered, and numbered. The patterns for a Camellia are subjoined a practical illustra-tion.
This being the pattern for the calyx was laid upon the circle marked c, and is marked with that letter accordingly. These leaves are six in number, and arranged alternately in two rows of three - hence the pattern is marked 6 (alternate 3). The edges of the sepals, or parts of the calyx, are striped with crimson finely at the edges, and this is indicated upon the pattern.
D and E is the pattern for the eight outer-most petals.
To economise room we have given the next patterns (F, G, II, I,) as if laid one on each other.
From these sketches paper patterns may be cut. These having been laid upon a sheet of white wax, the proper number may be cut out singly with a loose-jointed pair of scissors made moist by frequently dipping into water, to prevent the wax sticking to them. The putting together of these wax leaves requires little ingenuity, after a foundation has been made with a little knob of white wax upon the bent end of a piece of middling-sized stalk wire. The scraps remaining from the sheets out of which the patterns have been cut, will supply materials for this which represents the central seed-vessel, to which the petals are applied in the following order : - 6 of I, 8 of II, 8 of G, 6 of F, 8 of D and E, and 6 of C.
Very few instruments are requisite in the making of wax flowers, and these of the most simple character. Of the most useful is what has been appropriately termed the curling pin. It is desirable to have two of the following sizes and form. The wires should be of steel, the heads of smooth glass. These pins may be purchased for a few pence, being not unfrequently used as shawl-fasteners.
The central part of the flower, or seed-vessel, having been made by folding the scraps of spare wax upon the doubled end of the wire, till it attains the size of a large cherry-stone of this shape, the whole should be put aside while the petals are prepared for attachment. It will be found exceedingly convenient to have a wide-mouthed bottle upon the table, into which the wire stalk can be placed, so that the flower need never be laid down ; many fractures of the delicate wax laminae will thus be prevented, and much trouble saved. The wire should be of that kind which is covered with green silk, and should be about eight or ten inches in length.
One of the petals marked I, should new be taken and laid, with the dull side up, Hat along the inside of the second joint of the first finger of the left hand; the curling-pin, should at the same time be held in the right hand, with the point towards the palm, and the knob free to press and curl the wax. The wire of the pin should rest upon the centre of the ball of the thumb, taking care to allow it to revolve easily. The natural concavity is given to the petal by rolling the head of the pin close to the edge of the petal on each side. The head of the pin should be previously dipped in water, to prevent the wax sticking to it. When, by this process, the wax leaf is hollowed out and curled, it must be applied to the base of the seed-vessel, and pressed there with the thumb and finger, so as to adhere as in the following engraving. Another leaf must be then similarly treated, and applied opposite to the first, taking care in each case, by pressure at the point A, to incorporate the wax of the petal with that of the seed-vessel.