Little Window of Horrors at The Succulence

The last couple years I've made some creepy crepe paper flowers for Halloween. This year they're back and bigger than ever! I had the pleasure of creating a window installation for The Succulence; a garden store in San Francisco's Bernal Heights. I was able to pair my creepy blooms with some real life carnivorous plants. 

You can find my original man eating plant project here. For another creepy bloom I also have instructions for flowers that stare right back at ya.

  The carnivorous plants were provided by  Predatory Plants.

The carnivorous plants were provided by Predatory Plants.

  This amazing planted chair was a prop I took right from The Succulence shop.

This amazing planted chair was a prop I took right from The Succulence shop.

  For scale you can see my original flower design sitting in front of the giant bloom.

For scale you can see my original flower design sitting in front of the giant bloom.

Evil Eyes for Halloween

It's all about the eyeball this year. As shared a couple weeks ago I came up with some creepy eyeball paper flowers that I wanted to incorporate into my Halloween decor. Coincidently I am taking care of twenty air plants this month for a friend. I have some of my own tillandsias and just adopted a couple more. It feels like they're multiplying like tribbles or gremlins so I knew they would need to be a main feature paired with my other creepy plants. 

I've continued to be drawn to summery colors because just yesterday it started to feel like fall in San Francisco. With the warm weather we've been having I couldn't fully dive into traditional fall colors so I went theme eye ball with a nod to the Turkish Evil Eye (nazar). The symbolism is meant to protect from the evil eye but it is also blue which is one of my favorite colors.

During my blog hiatus I made some placemats out of African waxed fabric. I was drawn to the pattern because it looks a little eyeballish but hadn't yet been planning for Halloween. It was fortuitous that they would work perfectly with this decor. It's because I love blue.

DIY Break Down

My original vision for this lantern was to have a billion eyes staring at you. It turned out less creepy than I wanted but I like the slightly eery look. Maybe it will get used year round since it's not obviously Halloween.

To make the shade frame I created a tube with a length of chicken wire. I then stretched out heavy duty white crepe paper and used alcohol inks similarly to the flowers I made awhile back. Then I painted pupils with black acrylic. The alcohol inks allow light to shine through where as the acrylics block light. I then stretched my already stretched out paper over my frame and secured with regular white glue. To light the lantern I took the shade off a lamp I already had and popped this one over the top. I made sure the shade would be taller than the lamp so it could just sit on my bookshelf without needing to be attached.

The pumpkins were also painted using acrylics. You can't go wrong owning some basic paint colors. I've had my tubes since college and they're still going strong. I did buy one gourd that only needed a couple dots of paint to become an eyeball.

And of course you can make some eyeballed paper florals with my tutorial.

Tillandsia Talk

Now for a little Tillandsia Talk since their such a big feature of my arrangements. I recently went to Flora Grubb Gardens for an event featuring a new book Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandsias. While I've had air plants for awhile and thought I knew how to care for them I learned even more during Zenaida Sengo's book talk. My biggest revelation is to think of them like a living sponge. It's a misnomer that these plants get their nutrients from the air alone. In their native habitats it rains way more than it does in our houses. You can spritz these guys with water but to get the right amount of water they need spraying daily or a good soak once a week. Just like a super dried out sponge it takes more than a spritz to fully hydrate. For more info and plenty of decorating ideas get the book!

Creepy Flowers + DIY Kit!

Do these creepy flowers look familiar? The one's staring at you are a new creation but the green tongued ones are an update to the paper shop of flowers I made last year. Want to make some creepy flowers for yourself? Darby Smart has created a project kit with supplies for both!

And hey, if you already have plenty of paper flower supplies I've got instructions for the flowers peep'n at you. It's over here in this bonus post.

Purple seems to be making it's way into the classic Halloween color palette. How about pink to tone down the scary? 

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Change up the tongue color on the hu(man) eating plant and both flowers can coordinate together.

If you're not too scared to be stared at or possibly eaten by your crafts go pick up this kit!

Eye'm watching you. Basic paper flower tutorial.

Shhhhh. This creepy flower is actually a regular paper flower in disguise. What I mean is that if you come across these instructions and it's not halloween just change your color palette and don't draw the eye ball.

Supplies Needed

– Crepe paper in black, green, and at least one other color of your choosing.
– Floral tape
– Floral wire
– Cotton balls
– Watercolors or sharpies in red, green, black and brown

(these instructions are for working with 180 gram Italian crepe but they can be easily modified to use other types)

Working with Italian crepe paper

– Always work with the crepe paper grain. Unless specified you always want to cut out flower parts so the grain is running the long way within in each piece.

– The Italian crepe paper can stretch to almost triple its size. You'll be using this feature to manipulate the fullness and shape of your flowers. Once stretched it won't retract back so pull at the paper lightly until you have the shape desired.

– It's easiest to work with 6-8 inch strips of floral tape versus maneuvering the whole roll.

– To use the tape always pull to activate the adhesive and wrap against itself. It will take a couple tries to see how hard you can pull on the floral tape without breaking it. Using the tape at an angle will allow it to spiral down your stem instead of just circling around it.

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Prepping the flower parts

Eye ball

1. Cut a piece of white crepe roughly 4 x 1.5 inches with the grain running along the long side.

2. Stretch crepe until almost flat and square. It will be warbly. That's ok. Alternatively you can stretch a piece of crepe and then cut a 4 x 4 inch square from it.

3. In the center of the crepe square color a circle with a half inch diameter. Use a light colored sharpie or watercolors.

4. Then draw a black pupil in the center.

5. With a red sharpie draw wiggly lines emanating from the Iris to the edge of the crepe square.

Lashes

6. Cut a length of italian black crepe roughly 3 x 3 inches.

7. Cut fringe into the crepe along the grain two thirds of the way into the black paper. Or if you have crepe streamer that works as well. I glued two pieces together to create a length of fringed paper (pictured).

Petals and Leaves

8. Start by creating a template similar to the petal and leaf images above. (My petals are about 4 inches long with the leaves a bit longer) For each flower you'll be cutting 4 petals, and two leaves.

9. Cut the petals from a colorful piece of crepe.

10. Before cutting the leaves stretch out a chunk of green crepe until almost flat (warbly). Cut your leaves from the stretched crepe.

11. After cutting out the leaves draw green and brown accent lines running the length of the leaf. Draw somewhat lightly using the side of a sharpie. Allow the pen to skip along the paper bumps to create an organic quality. Or use watercolors.

Putting the flower together

1. Create a hook a the top of your floral wire so you have a short length of wire and a long length (your stem). Use it to secure two large cotton balls to the wire. Push the cotton balls into the hook well and twist the two pieces of wire together. This will be the inside of your eyeball.

2. Cut several lengths of floral tape. Continue to cut off lengths as needed.

3. Position the white eyeball crepe centered over the top of the cotton ball. Cinch down the paper over the cotton ball pinching the excess paper against the floral wire. Secure with a piece of floral tape.

4. To adhere the lashes wrap the non fringed end of your black crepe around the base of the eyeball and secure with floral tape. Make sure the lashes are a bit taller than the eyeball.

5. Adhere petals one at a time or if you're confident two at a time. Secure the tapered end of each petal to the base of the eye. Position the second petal opposite the first. Then position the 3rd and 4th opposite each other filling in the remaining holes.

6. Now you'll let your flower bloom by individually pulling each petal away from the center. Start with the outer most petal and work your way in. Position your thumbs on the inside of the petal and your index fingers on the outside. Gently start to pull the crepe while pushing your thumbs into it creating a small cup. Move up each petal allowing them to bloom as much as you desire. 

7. Position one leaf half an inch from the flower base and secure with floral tape. Position second leaf on opposite side of first leaf and 1.5 – 2 inches below the first.

Repeat until you have a bouquet of eyeballs staring you down.

Pip pip hurray! DIY paper flower stamen.

You know those little fake pollen bits you see used in paper flower making... Anatomically they're called stamen but in paper flower world they're called pips. And they're not so cheap for something called a pip! You'd think they'd just cost pip cents each. Well some are reasonably priced but I've become enamored with the vintage glass variety. I figured I could make something similar. So I did. Pip! Pip! Hurray! You can to!

Supplies
— Cotton String
— Bees Wax
— Nail Polish (multiple colors)
— Aluminum dish (for making a double boiler)
— Wax Paper
— Tape
— Lidded Jar
— Crayons (optional)

Making your pips

  The second pan has a purple crayon added to the bees wax.

The second pan has a purple crayon added to the bees wax.

1. Get your wax melting in a double boiler while you're setting up the rest of your materials and work area. I used a pan on my stove filled with water and set to simmer. I put my wax in a disposable aluminum container and floated it in the water.

2. Lay out a sheet of wax paper on your work surface.

3. Cut several lengths of string roughly 18 inches each. Each string will make 6 pips.

4. When your wax is liquid begin to dip strings one at a time. I dipped the string making a spiral pattern and then pulled the string straight out of the wax. It will dry nearly instantly when it hits the air. Lay your waxed strings flat on your work surface.

5. Cut off the end of the un-waxed string where you were holding it. Cut each string into thirds.

6. Dip the ends of each smaller string back in the wax 2-3 times. Alternate sides to allow for cooling. A ball of wax will be created on each end forming the pip!

7. Lay the pips on top of a jar to finish cooling so the waxed orb shape doesn't get a flat side.

8. Fold each pip in half and dip the each pip in nail polish of your choosing.

9. Tape the ends of the pips to a jar or ledge to allow to completely dry. (I tested a lot of ways to dry the pips without letting them touch each other and this was the best I found).

Pip pip hurray! You can easily vary your pips with color of nail polish or by adding a crayon to your melted wax. I also tried out using alcohol inks. They worked out great but I preferred using up some of my nail polish. There's only so many times you can paint your nails yellow. 

After you've made your pips and made some paper flowers bury your nose in them and you'll discover it smells like honey! How perfect.