DIY- Paper and Plaster Garden Picks

Hope you all enjoy this re-post of mine. I remember doing this craft for a trip up north to Our Little Red House. It was wildflower season up there and I wanted to display these picks surrounded by natural flowers. Got up there, did a bunch of home repairs and painting, was exhausted and on the day we packed up to leave I forgot to get shots of these picks. We headed down to Cherry creek to look for flowers and I ended up not really finding any on the ground, guess we were just too tired to walk the whole creek. I stuck the picks in some grass for my photo. Then hopped back into our truck and off we drove back to the city, looking forward to long hot showers. Roughing it really makes you appreciate warm water. Anyway, it was still a fun project and I at least got one nature shot in, even if it was only grass.

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The Sunflowers are in bloom everywhere up north at the little red house and all those flowers inspired me to create something for our garden back in the city.

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My grandma on my father’s side introduced me to plaster crafting many years ago. She had a whole separate shed and garage shop full of molds and plaster that she would pour and later paint. I remember her garden area with her huge trees, which included a banana tree, and grapes everywhere. I loved visiting grandma’s house and loading up with boxes of plaster art to take home and paint.

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Before you make your own plaster flowers you should either visit a florist shop if in the city or walk around in the country taking in all the details of those wild flowers everywhere. There are also several books on flowers that you can look through to get color ideas.

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If you are out exploring nature, take some watercolors and a bottle of water and paper with you. This would be a great time to try out watercolors. Water coloring is perfect for children too since it isn’t as messy as some other paints. The trick to water coloring for any of you new painters is that you start light then go in dark later for more details. Water coloring can be difficult because mistakes can’t be painted over like other paint medias…so take your time, or not and just have fun with it.

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Supplies needed for garden picks:

  • Wooden Skewers
  • Watercolor paints
  • Brushes
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Plaster of paris
  • Mod podge
  • Assorted scrapbook papers.
  • Plastic molds in round shapes.

Step 1- The fun part, shopping for pretty paper.
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Step 2- After you have done your research and have decided on what type of flower you are going to make, you can start drawing out you petal shapes on to cardboard to a make a template. Use your template to trace onto your pretty paper so all your petals are the same size. You can also just use a plain piece of white cardstock and color your petals.

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Step 3- Find your plaster molds either on line, at hobby stores or in my case I used an old toy package for the mold. I went to a dollar store for some birthday prizes once and the packaging had a nice circular shape so I put it away later to use for a plaster mold. The ladybug mold was a candy mold I bought second hand in a grab bag of mismatched items.
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Step 4- Mix plaster and pour into molds. Make sure to follow directions on package, sometimes when in a hurry I add too much water. You can fix this mistake by adding more plaster to your water but be quick; plaster starts to thicken right away.

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Pick out the skewers you will be using. If you like, you can cut the skewers into different sizes so you will have a variety of sizes to display in your pots.

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When the plaster starts to harden a bit stick in wooden skewers making sure the pointy side is up. This will make your garden picks easy to poke into the dirt. Let it dry over night or a few hours before taking out of molds.

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Once your plaster has dried you can seal it by painting over each piece with watered down Elmer’s glue or Mod Podge. Sealing your plaster with an over coat of glue will make it easier to paint. It is especially important to do this if you have any children with sensory issues that are sometimes associated with Autism spectrum disorders. The chalky texture of plaster might bother them.

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I usually use acrylics when painting craft projects and forget sometimes how fun watercolors can be. I love seeing the different patterns watercolors produce when drying, and they aren’t as messy as other paints, although I tend to be a little messy with all my art since I love mixing colors.

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After everything dries you can start gluing on your paper petals.

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Bring your paper flowers inside if you have a lot of rain in your area. Put your flowers in pots around your house to add a little spring to those Fall and Winter rainy and snowy days…happy crafting.

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Special not: Use this craft when working with children for fine motor skills, sensory play (dirt in garden, and gluing down petals) speech lessons (following directions and big and small petals). You can also work in some pretend time play lessons with the bugs and flowers in your gardens. Use plastic spoons as molds for bugs if you can’t find a ladybug mold. Use finger-paints instead of brushes or sponges for another fun way to work in some tactile sensory play. Even if you may not think your child is interested, we should always introduce new things to them, remember to include everyone, no mater what level they may be at.

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