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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, working on a pumpkin patch project and need to create leaves that can be placed in the ground. Looking for ideas / suggestions / how to, for what material to use? Something waterproof and capable of standing erect?

I have plants currently growing and hope to preserve them with Glycerin but need backup foliage if this fails.

Thank you for the assistance,
Todd
 

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This video might spark some ideas.


What's particularly clever is how he gets the look of veining in the leaves.
 

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I am currently in the process of making pumpkin leaves. Here's what I'm doing:

First I traced a giant pumpkin leaf cut from one of my pumpkin vines onto brown kraft paper, then cut it out to use as a pattern.

Then I'm using a roll of white paper (kid's coloring paper from Michael's craft store). I lay out the pattern on the roll paper and then fold over so the pattern is enclosed in the paper. Then I'm tracing the leaf pattern on the bottom sheet of the folded paper.

Then I cut about 60 inches of 14 gauge wire for the stem. I folded this over (not in half, but so there is a longer wire and then the folded wire comes to about the middle of the leaf. Then with 16 gauge wire, I cut about 17 inches (this would depend on the size of your leaf). I cut two 17 inch pieces, folded each in half. Then I connected them together and put the long wire through them. They kind of look like an "X" with a long wire coming through the middle. I used white duct tape to tape the long wire (one long piece of tape) and then each of the shorter wires (in the same "X" formation, with one long piece of tape for each).

Then I sprayed the traced and wired side of the paper with spray adhesive and folded the top piece of paper over the tracing, smoothing as I went. Then cut out the packet (you can see the tracing lines easily).

I fed the stem through some crocheted roping to give it some bulk and then covered it with masking tape. You could use anything for bulking, I just happened to have this stuff.

I then painted the leaf and stem with liquid latex. When dry, I spray painted the leaf with Rust-Oleum Satin "Eden." Its kind of a bright, lightish green. Looks like springtime leaf color. That's as far as I have gotten. I intend to add some other paint effects to darken the leaves.

The leaves look pretty good when you bend the wires into a more natural shape. They will poke into the ground and stay up with the doubled up 14 gauge wire. They also move in the breeze, which I like.

I agonized over this, had about 5 prototypes, and finally settled on this design. I didn't like any of the leaf templates I found online. They didn't look like the leaves on my pumpkins, so I just used the real deal.

Hope this helps.
 

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UPDATE: After looking at the spray painted leaves in morning light, I am thinking the spray paint was not the way to go. First off, the color is too bright and it is very shiny. I painted over one with several colors of acrylic paints which got closer to the coloring and knocked down the shine some. Second, the spray is just such a heavy coating. It doesn't affect the standing upright or anything though. I may skip the spray and just brush paint on the next batch.

I'm still happy with the basic construction of the leaves.
 

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Still a work in progress. I decided to stick with the spray paint as a first coat, as the acrylic paints didn't cover well. The acrylic was fine on top of the spray paint. Then I decided to see if they would hold up to water so I sprayed one with the garden hose. After several hours I had to pour the collected water from the cupped area of the posed leaf. Most of the leaf was fine, but with the soaking, one area the wire poked through and the paper became a bit mushy. It dried out and I will have to fix it. I will have to reinforce the wired areas with more tape.

I painted with the acrylics that I had on hand. Not exact leaf color, but I think passable. I sprayed with a matte finish which turned out not matte at all and brought back some of the shine that the acrylic actually toned down. So, Rust-Oleum Matte Finish--not!

I will take some pictures later today (raining now). Let me just say that for my purposes, these leaves will be viewed from a fair distance. They do stand up and are somewhat water resistant. I can't help thinking that they probably should have been made out of something other than paper. Maybe a thin cotton fabric. But I need to finish off with the materials I have and move on to something else. Leaf 2.0 will have to wait.

Side note: Rust-O-Leum spray paint issues. This "Eden" color satin I bought turns out to be one of the newer 2x versions with paint and primer together. Even through vigorous shaking of the can for the appropriate time, the first sprays out of a new can comes out in a flat powder coat. Chalky and some of the color rubs off. Rest of the can sprayed normal. This happened with 2 cans.
 

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Well, seems I can't post pix yet because I don't have enough posts.

I can't seem to reduce the shine on the leaves. It may not be a problem from a distance in the dark with only accent lighting. I tried rubbing cornstarch on the leaves, but I didn't like that and it didn't reduce the shine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the responses;
I am concerned for how "paper" leaves would hold up to the weather but I only need them for a few days. I cringe at to putting time into creating something that would be ruined if they get rained on.

I am experimenting with a few other materials using the wire "skeleton" from the video and trying to melt the pleats into the fabric with heat.

Still open to further suggestions.
Todd
 

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Cinders, I wouldn't worry so much about the color being too bright. Keep in mind that these will be seen at dusk or under low lighting conditions, which will make them appear darker than they do to you in daylight.

Todd, how rigid do the leaves need to be?
I'd be tempted to look at using the wire armature, as you are doing, and maybe making the leaves from cloth, you can use a hot glue gun to add more veins, and then dip the whole thing in green latex paint to add more rigidity as well as color them and make them weatherproof.
 

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I decided to also try a new version using cheap weed block fabric. Same construction, not finished yet.

Another post or two and I'll be able to get some pictures up here. I only have three leaves finished.

fontgeek, you are right about the darkness. I am not going to stress over the sheen on the leaves.
 
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