01 of 11
Make Miniature Gladiolus for Dollhouse Bouquets or Gardens
These tiny paper gladiolus stems can be made in a wide range of colors and flower styles to suit almost any miniature setting. They work well in traditional or Ikebana arrangements, and can be planted in clusters in miniature gardens or set out in printable French flower containersor a miniature pitcher made from recycled plastic.
I've set out the measurements in these instructions to make 1:12 scale dollhouse gladiolus, but you can adjust the size up or down for your particular needs.
Introduced to gardens around the mid 1600's gladiolus come in an increasingly wide range of colors and color patterns. The one shown here was intended to mimic a popular modern variety "Priscilla". I used this variety to show you how to custom color petals to suit your miniature garden. You can also make gladiolus much more easily by using solid colors of paper using the instructions which follow.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
02 of 11
Choosing a Paper to Make Dollhouse Miniature Gladiolus
The dollhouse gladiolus in the following tutorial were made with ordinary baking parchment paper painted with a thin coat of white acrylic paint. Thin sheer paper that crinkles when painted is a good choice. You can see a wide range of suitable lightweight tissue painted both sides with watercolors and allowed to dry with wrinkles shown here. Colored vellum paper will also work well. Avoid using stiff papers if possible as your gladiolus will look out of scale.
You will need to cut narrow strips of paper to make your miniature gladiolus flowers. The strips shown are roughly 1/4 inch (7mm) wide .
The paper petals will be shaped over an eraser or foam pad, using a round ended embossing tool
In addition to colored paper (for the leaves and flowers) you will need fine paper covered wire for the flowers and buds ( I used # 28 green paper covered wire) as well as a heavier paper covered wire (# 20 gauge or similar) for the stems.
I used sewing thread for stamens for the centers of my flowers, but this is not a necessary detail if you wish to simplify.
I colored the throats and the edges of my petals with Derwent Inktense pencils to get an effect close to the flower color I wanted to mimic.
You will also need sharp straight and curved scissors, wire cutters and PVA glue, preferably in an acid neutral formulation.
A pair of bent nose tweezers makes it much easier to assemble these tiny flowers.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
03 of 11
Assemble the Gladiolus Flower Centers
To begin assembling your dollhouse gladiolus, cut a 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of your lighter wire. You will need three lengths for each set of gladiolus flowers for a single gladiolus stem.
Dip one end of the wire in some pva glue and carefully set 3 cut sections of white or pale yellow sewing thread down the top of the wire into the glue as shown, lining up the bottoms of the thread close to the top of the wire.
Set the wire / thread assembly aside to dry. When dry, trim the lengths of thread to roughly 1/16 inch (3mm) above the end of the wire.
Set the wires upright to dry in a scrap of dry floral arrangement foam, modelling clay, or a scrap of styrofoam.
If you wish you can color the ends of your stamens with paint, marker or pastels.Continue to 4 of 11 below.
04 of 11
Trim the Dollhouse Gladiolus Petals to Shape
To make each miniature gladiolus flower you will need 6 petals, and you will need a minimum of 3 flowers per gladiolus stem. The petals are easily hand cut from strips of colored paper. First cut a strip roughly 1/4 inch ( 6mm) wide. Start by cutting small diamond shapes from your paper strip using straight scissors as shown on the left of the photo on this page.
To trim the miniature gladiolus petals to shape, take a diamond cut section and using curved scissors, cut out from the bottom point to the side point to create an inward curve, narrowing the base of the petal. Repeat this cut on the other side of the petal base.
On the top of the petal, use curved scissors to shape an outward facing curve to the center point as shown. Repeat on the other side.
The shape of the petal depends a bit on the type of gladiolus you are making, but these rough tear drop shapes with a slight point in the top center will make a recognizable flower. Most gladiolus have four reasonably large petals, and two slightly smaller (narrower ) petals per flower.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
Sizing the Dollhouse Gladiolus Petals
Here is one of the regular sized dollhouse gladiolus petals cut to shape from a paper strip. Four petals this size, plus two cut slightly narrower will make a good sized flower for a stem.
In addition to the cut gladiolus petals, you will need a few scrap rectangles of the paper to make flowering buds for the top of your gladiolus stem.
Try to have a picture of a real gladiolus stem in front of you as you work on your coloring or assemble your dollhouse gladiolus.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
06 of 11
Color and Shape Your Dollhouse Gladiolus Petals
Once your dollhouse gladiolus petals are cut, it is time to color and shape them. I wanted my gladiolus to have a pale yellow throat and a fuchsia colored edge. To do this I shaded the base of the petals with a yellow Inktense pencil that had been dipped in water. Colored markers, pencil crayons or watercolor paints are also good ways to add detailed throat colors
Once the yellow was dry, I flipped the petal over and ran an embossing tool down the center back of the petal lengthwise to give the petal its distinctive center 'seam' . I then flipped the petal back over (on my soft eraser or foam pad) and used the round ended embossing tool, pressing into the upper edge of each petal to give it a few waves.
Finally I took a fuchsia inktense pencil, dipped it in water, and ran it along the outer edge of the top of the petal tp give my particular 'variety' of gladiola its distinctive edge.
The petals can now be set aside to dry before proceeding to assemble the gladiolus flowers.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
07 of 11
Preparing Paper for the Dollhouse Gladiolus Leaves
The paper for dollhouse miniature gladiolus leaves should be slightly transparent and slightly stiff. Marker paper or parchment paper work well. Tissue paper is a bit too light and may 'flop' depending on the scale of your project.
I used a "sap" green watercolor paint to make a streaky green coloring on both sides of marker paper, setting it aside to dry between painting the sides. If you prefer to use acrylic paint, "Hauser medium green" craft paint is a good choice, dry brushed to give you the lines of the leaf veins.
Once dry, a strip of paper slightly wider than 1/4 inch (7mm) was cut to lengths ranging from 2 1/4 (6 cm) to 3 1/2 inches (9cm) in 1/4 inch(7mm) increments. Each length was shaped as shown to make individual gladiolus leaves which will be folded (see next step in this tutorial).Continue to 8 of 11 below.
08 of 11
Varying the Lengths for Dollhouse Gladiolus Leaves
For each dollhouse gladiolus stem you will need between three and seven leaves. You can see the shape the leaves were cut to on the left of this photo in order to form the 'waves' along the edges seen in regular gladiolus leaves. The leaves closest to the ruler have been folded in half in preparation for adding them to the gladiolus stalk.
Save small offcuts from the leaf paper to make the sepals or small leaves which will form the calyx for the gladiola buds and flowers.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
Assembling the Dollhouse Gladiolus Flower Buds
For each miniature gladiolus stem you will need 6 small green sepals for the top unopened buds, and two sepals for each colored bud or flower, (for my flower stem I used 12 for the flowers and buds).
To make an unopened bud, take a section of wire and apply a bit of glue to the bottom of the sepal. Wrap a sepal around the wire, gluing it one one side of the wire. Take a second sepal and wrap it so it covers the wire from the other side. One set of two sepals should be held in reserve for the top of the flower stem wire.
To make the opened buds, take a small rectangle of paper in your flower color and roll it around a short (1/4 inch, 7mm) section of fine wire which has been dipped in glue. Squeeze the base of the bud with tweezers to secure it to the wire at the base. Wrap a sepal just below the top of the flower bud (mine are too high in this photo and needed to be trimmed) and glue it at the base on one side of the bud. Repeat with the second sepal on the opposite side of the bud so the flower bud is covered with green sepals at the base.
Set the buds aside to dry.Continue to 10 of 11 below.
10 of 11
Assemble the Dolls' House Gladiolus Flowers
To assemble the dollhouse gladiolus flowers, begin by dipping the base of one regular sized petal in glue on the colored side, and wrap it around the top of a piece of fine wire. I use roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) lengths of wire to make them easier to handle. Pinch the base of the petal with your tweezers so it hugs the side of the wire as shown in the left side of this photo.
Now take two of the smaller petals and glue one around the wire on each side of the larger petal as shown in the middle of the photo. The petals should be at the points of a triangle.
Take your three remaining regular petals and one by one apply a bit of glue to the 'right' side of the petal on the base and glue each petal so it lines up between the three petals on the first layer as shown.
Set the flower aside to dry. When it is dry, glue to sepal pieces to cover the base of the flower, and roll the petals over the ends of your tweezers to give the flower more shape.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
11 of 11
Assemble the Dollhouse Gladiolus Stem
To assemble the dollhouse miniature gladiolus flower stem, begin with a 3 to 3 1/2 inch( 8-9cm) length of your heavier wire. Vary the lengths of your wires so your gladiolus will be of slightly uneven heights for arranging or planting.
Dip one end of your wire slightly into your glue and fix a green sepal around the end of the wire, just as you did for individual buds. Set the stem aside to dry.
When the top bud is fixed in place, bend the wire slightly so the top bends off to one side. Bend an individual green bud (made in step 9) slightly off to one side and use a pair of end cutters or other wire cutters to cut it off just below the base of the green sepal. Dip the end of the bud in glue and lay it flat against the side of the stem just below the first bud. Hold it against the stem until the glue 'grabs'.
Add another green bud to your stem then begin to lay in your colored flower buds, setting them alternately down the stem. If necessary, you can paint the stem and the base of the buds to disguise the wire joins using a bit of paint mixed with Matte acrylic medium or glue once all your buds and flowers are dry.
When you have your buds in place, take one of your smaller gladiolus flowers, bend the wire base slightly so the flower faces out from the wire, and trim the wire just below the sepals on the base of the flower. Dip the base of the flower wire in glue and hold it against the main stem wire so the flower glues in place (see photo on the right on this page).
Continue with the largest of your gladiolus flowers, then finish with a smaller flower,gluing them so the alternate along the stem.
Finally, take a small folded leave, and apply glue to the inside of the fold at the base. Set the leaf below the flowers with the leaf covering the wire stalk and the fold meeting on the opposite side of the wire. Repeat with as many leaves as you feel necessary to cover the stalk, adding larger leaves alternately down the stalk, covering the base of the previous leaf with the next one until you reach a point roughly 1/4 inch (7mm) above the end of the wire stalk. This section of wire can be used to 'plant' in the gladiolus stem in dry floral foam in a pot or garden if you wish.
Have fun experimenting with a range of traditional or modern gladiolus colors in your chosen miniature scale!
For more flowers to make, see the list of dollhouse plants.