The Giant Rose Post actually did have a purpose. I've decided I'm tired of trawling craft stores for silk flowers that aren't actually silk, or paying through the nose for unsatisfactory paper flowers that aren't exactly what I want. Actually, I thought about ordering paper roses online, since there apparently aren't any nice ones available for retail in the greater Grand Rapids area. And then I stumbled upon this Martha Stuart tutorial.
I've got to say, this is a lot of fun. I picked up a package of No. 4 cone coffee filters at the grocery store, and some 18 gauge floral wire and floral tape from Hobby Lobby. All told, I must have spent, oh, $6? Not too bad! It took a little practice to get a good shape while wrapping the petals around the wire, but each one got a little better, and a little faster.
The hard part for me is the painting. I'm far from artistic, but during one of my "I wish I were more creative" fits while working at Hobby Lobby, I picked up a number of Daler-Rowney Artists' Water Colour paints. They're pretty pricey if you buy them retail, but they were on clearance so I paid about a dollar a tube. I have to say, I can't imagine trying to do this project with cake watercolors. It's much easier to mix different colors and concentrations with the tube colors.
The rose in the photo is painted with nothing but lots of water and a little alizarin crimson. As with most watercolor work, it pays to be delicate. I was a bit heavy-handed on my prototype and the color, while lovely and vibrant, wasn't as delicate as I want for my purposes. I have another try drying right now, painted with Naples yellow tipped with more alizarin crimson. Painting stiffens the almost fabric-like coffee filter paper, and once it dries the petals become quite pliable. Rolling them over a bamboo skewer gives each petal lovely dimension and fluffs the blossom up quite nicely.
Looking at the illustrations from Les Roses, I think I might get another package of coffee filters and play around with the petal shapes a bit. Other than that, though, I find that I'm really loving this little foray into paper craft!