Note: if you do not have white homemade paper and dry skeleton leaves, you must first make your own.
I make my homemade paper in the following way:
You will need about 3L of lukewarm water, 7 sheets of white paper without any shine or wax, a big enough container to hold the water and fit the mould, a mould to make the paper (an old frame with stretched netting), about 10 felt sheets, a sponge and a blender.
- Tear the paper into small pieces and place in the blender.
- Add 5 cups of water.
- Mix everything with the blender for one minute.
- Deposit the mix into the big container.
- Add another 4 cups of water and mix well. You should have a fine pulp of paper.
- Get your mould and submerge it completely into the paper pulp.
- The pulp should form a fine layer over the mould’s screen (netting)
- Pull it out of the container and let the excess water drain.
- Allow the paper pulp to settle and then place the mould with the pulp facing down on top of a felt sheet.
- Press the sponge onto the mould to remove any excess water.
- Now start pulling the mould slowly from the felt sheet. It will come off easily if you removed all the excess water. Your paper should peel off completely from the screen.
- Allow it to dry on the felt sheet for about two days.
- Repeat this process for every sheet you want to make.
I made my skeleton leaves in the following way:
You will need
Washing soda (not baking soda)
Leaves – waxy ones work well (I used small rhododendron leaves)
A big pot
- Wear the rubber gloves and place the leaves in a big pot. Cover it with 3/4 cup of washing soda and 4 cups of water. (Be careful when you use washing soda.)
- Place the pot onto the heat and allow to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour and 40 minutes. It looks really ugly but keep going and add more water so that the pan doesn’t dry out. Keep the leaves wet all the time.
- After about two hours, the leaves will become see-through. Remove them with a spatula and rinse them in cold clear water and then put them onto tissue paper.
- Use the small paintbrush and gently remove any excess pulp.
- Place them in a bowl with a mild bleach mixture (2 spoons of bleach to 1L of water) for a nice white skeleton leaf. Remove them with the spatula and place them on tissue paper to dry overnight.
This sounds like a long process, but it’s worth it. You can make a lot of paper and leaves upfront and keep them for whenever you need them.
This little pot is ideal for displaying tea lights. One of my favourite things about these little lights is the patterns cast on the walls from the flickering flames through dry leaves.
- Homemade paper
- Dry skeleton leaves
You will also need
- Wallpaper glue
- Round bowl of any size (as a mould)
- Bottle (as a prop)
- Old plate for glue
- Blunt knife
- Water-based varnish
- Cover the outside of the bowl with clingfilm, then turn it upside-down over a bottle to raise it above your work surface.
- Tear the homemade paper into small pieces. By tearing the paper rather than cutting it, seams will be less visible when glued together.
- Pour some glue into a plate and dip the paper pieces into the glue. Stick them to your clingfilm-covered bowl until the entire outer surface is covered.
- Start to glue the dry leaves all around the border of the paper pot.
- Leave to dry overnight, and then gently prise the fibre bowl from the mould with a blunt knife.
- Seal the paper part of the bowl with varnish.