Wild Flower Art from Paper and Polymer Clay, Easy Sculpting Techniques | Stephanie Kilgast | Skillshare

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Wild Flower Art from Paper and Polymer Clay, Easy Sculpting Techniques

teacher avatar Stephanie Kilgast, Contemporary artist.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Reference Pictures


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Poppy Sculpture


    • 5.

      Cornflower Sculpture


    • 6.

      Daisy Sculpture


    • 7.

      Queen Anne's Lace Sculpture


    • 8.

      Final Words


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About This Class

A comprehensive class on how to approach flower sculptures.

I am going to show you different techniques and will be using different materials.
The idea is to guide you from an idea to a finished sculpture, so you can choose what suits you best.

Reference Pictures
Sculpting a Poppy
Sculpting a Cornflower
Sculpting a Daisy
Sculpting a Queen Anne's Lace
Final words & Class project

// MUSIC « Oxygen Garden » by Chris Zabriskie« Garden Music », « Light Awash » by Kevin MacLeod http://incompetech.com/« Gaining Traction », « Out of Phase » by Three Chain Links https://soundcloud.com/beardmont« Clairvoyance » by Amarante http://www.youtube.com/AmaranteMusic

Meet Your Teacher

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Stephanie Kilgast

Contemporary artist.


Inspired by natural forms, Stéphanie Kilgast’s artwork is an ode to nature and its current biodiversity. Plants, mushrooms, insects and other animals encounter in a vibrant swirl of colors under her brush or sculpting tools.

Since 2017, in her series “Discarded Objects”, she grows colorful organic sculptures on human-made objects, celebrating the beauty of nature in a dialogue with humanity, questioning the lost balance between human activities and nature.
Her work has a cheerful post apocalyptic feel to it, a reassuring reminder that nature has the capacity to grow back, if we only let it.

She built her reputation and her sculpting skills around hyperrealistic miniature food sculptures. Her wo... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello. I am Stephanie and I have been sculpting for 10 years. Today, I'm going to share with you how to sculpt wild flowers. I'm going to show you four different kinds of flowers. Poppies, daisies, Queen Anne's lace, and cornflowers. In this class, I aim to show you different techniques with different kinds of materials to achieve different kind of looks. It should be interesting and I really hope that this will inspire you to find out what kind of flowers you would like to sculpt and for you to choose what best techniques to use to make those flowers. 2. Reference Pictures: When sculpting anything new, palpating for that matter, it is very important to find reference pictures for your art. This will ensure that your art is of higher quality and that you don't do something that just looks approximately good. It is also true for different types of styles, including abstract and realistic art, but also expressionist art. You always want to start from the real thing and then deconstruct it if you'd like to a simpler form. If you do this just by imagination, you will end up with a result that is not going to be very convincing. Unless of course you sculpt or paint flowers all the time. In that case, you are so used to the shape that you can do it by imagination. But we are talking here about things are subjects that you don't do every day and for those, you are going to need those pictures. I will ask you to find a few good pictures of flowers you would like to replicate in whatever style you wish and put them aside for future sculpting. You can also use reference pictures for the flowers. I chose to sculpt knowing creaminspace, puppies, daisies, and con Flowers. However, I would really encourage you to choose your own flowers and to find the best techniques suited to the flowers you would like to sculpt. During this class, I aim to give you different approaches and techniques. You can choose what suits best, your own style and your own flowers. Let's get those reference pictures and let's start sculpting. 3. Materials: For this tutorial, we are going to need some acrylic paints. We're going to use some green, yellow, ocher, two shades of red, some blue, and some purple, although the purple is optional. We also are going to need some brushes, a thick bigger brush, and a few smaller ones, and also a spatula to mix the paint together. We are going to use some paper. I use some simple printing paper and I use it blank. But you can also reuse some paper you printed on and that is supposed to be trashed. I'm always working on tiles when working with polymer clay, so you're going to need some tiles as well. The polymer clay we're going to use is white, translucent, some yellow and also some orange and ready to warm up the yellow. This is going to be useful for the daisies and some green that we are going to dirty with some ocher and brown. You can make Cernit and Fimo together because they are baked at the same temperature. We are also going to need some liquid polymer clay. We also need some wire; some very thin wire and some thicker wire. I've used some gardening wire in green and some stainless steel wire. However, you can use whatever wire you have on hand, also some masking tape to cover the wire, and some cutting pliers, some good universal glue. As we are going to make our own cutters, we are also going to use some T-lights candle holders and a pair of scissors or cutter. I also use some plastic covered beading wire in brown for the poppy statements and various sculpting tools. But you are going to be just as fine with a toothpick and the blade. I'm also going to use some dry pastels, most specifically in green, yellow and ocher. I'm using Sennelier and fabric Estelle, but most brands will do. This is optional, but I'm using a small melt candle open. I really like it. It makes the baking much faster so I can prebake in just 10 minutes without putting the oven on. Just be sure to you use it for pre-baking and then to bake everything at the end. I also use just two candles to heat the oven. Finally, I always have a Pasta Maker that I use to make very thin slices of polymer clay. 4. Poppy Sculpture: For the poppy, I am starting with the middle and for that, I mixed some brown with some black. I rolled a very tiny ball and I pushed all the sides to have a dome shape. Then I rolled out a very thin snake and I'm cutting out tiny bits of it to form a star on top of it. After that and using a metallic and bossing tool, I'm smoothing down all the lines on the pod. You could also use a toothpick instead of the metallic and bossing tool. After that, using a needle tool, I am pushing tiny holes into the lines, giving it some texture. Alternatively, you can use a needle or a pin, or even a toothpick that you have sharpened down with a cutter. For the stamen base, I'm adding some clay all around and pushing it as to ensure the bond is strong. I'm cutting out tiny pieces of plastic coated beading wire and then I'm going to dip each stamen into liquid polymer clay and then push it into the circle around the pond. I dip everything in liquid polymer clay simply to ensure that the bond is strong. Once you're happy with your pond back. Further flowers for the petals, I decided to use painted paper, and for that I mix two shades of red, I had to have rich deep red. Now I decided to go with paper because polymer clay just didn't cut it. This is where as a sculpture, it's important not to always be blinded by the use of one material you really like and to try and explore different materials. I used blank paper, but you can use printed paper as well for some added texture and details. Once you have painted one full side, let it's dry. Then turn around and paint all the other side and let's try again. After everything is dry that I cut out some circles for the petals. I bunched each circle into a tiny ball and then unfolded it, shaping it into a petal. I ended up making three petals. But if you look at reference pictures of poppies, sometimes there are four or five petals. You will also realize that paper painted with acrylic paint is very versatile and easy to sculpt with. It is a very interesting texture that you're going to work with and it's easily shape able into petals or anything like that. Once I was happy with the look of them, I simply put them together and glued everything. I also ended up gluing the petals between each other just so I could manage the shape a little bit better. After that, I added some red paint on the white spots, on the white edges and the white spots that I created by bunching the petals into a tiny ball. I didn't do this for this one, but you could also give some extra shades at that point. Then for the stem, I cut out a piece of wire. I'm using stainless steel wire and then wrapped it into masking tape. I always rub my wire into masking tape because that way it sticks much better to the polymer clay as it gives the wire some texture to hold on. I always brush some polymer clay around the wrapped wire just to again give it more hold. Then after having a very thin sheet of polymer clay, I wrap it all around the wire, and as you can see, I am trying to avoid air bubbles. Air bubbles could be fatal to the strengths of the polymer clay, since it's going to be very thin around the wire. The green I'm using is a mixture of some basic green with some [inaudible] brown and probably a little bit of whites. I don't have the exact recipe because I always mix by i and I tend to work from scraps. Then I added a green pod at one end. I simply put some clay around and shaped it into a pod. I added a little bit more clay and then smooths the clay down onto the stem, flattened it on one side, checked if it was the right sizing for the poppy flower and baked. After baking, I sanded the top search to ensure that it would glue much easier and puts hold much better onto the floor, and then I just dock to it. You want to hold it a few seconds for the glue to dry. At the end, I've added some black paint in the middle for more realism for the petals. You could also play around and add different shades of red on the petals. I also added some gray onto the lines just to show them better. 5. Cornflower Sculpture: For the cornflower, I started a little bit differently. For the stem, I decided to try to use only masking tape. To do so I've wrapped it in a diagonal fashion, as to use a one strip of masking tape to cover the whole wire. I'm always using stainless steel wire here as well. This was really fiddly, so it's not something I would replicate, but maybe you are much better than I am if it comes to wire wrapping so that might be a good option for you. The good thing is you don't have to add polymer clay on top of it and you simply paint it. Then I did one end of the wrapped wire and choose some liquid clay, and added some colored polymer clay on top, and ended up shaping it into a nice little pod. For the screen, I used a mixture of green that I dirtied up with some ocher and brown and probably white. I usually always mix by eye from scraps so I don't have the exact recipe and then I bake. After baking, I proceeded to find the right color texture of the polymer clay and I mixed green ocher and yellow as this seemed to be the right coloring and it was so. This is also what I mean when I say I mix with my eye, I usually just see the colors that are in a color, and then I just go with that. I simply painted the whole stem in that nice green shade. Now for the cornflower petals, I mixed some blue and purple and some little magenta to find that subtle color of cornflowers. It is a very bluish purple and a light as well. I painted both stains off a blank paper, but you could use a printed pimp paper as well. It might add some details and textures that would be interesting. After letting dry the painted paper, I cut out round circles. This time I helped myself with the spool of the beading wire, but you could do it by eye, it would work as well. Just be sure that it fits the pad and stem. Then here I'm drawing it just show you, but I didn't end up really drawing it. You want to cut out small triangles as to form all the petals. Now I started doing it with a pair of scissors, but it's not as easy as it looks and so I thought it would be much better to use a cutter. Because that way you see where you are cutting exactly and since you do everything by eye, it is a lot easier that way. Now it doesn't matter if the petals are not all of the same size, as that never happens in real either. We are going to bunch everything together at the end like we did with the poppy. Just try to make it as regular as possible without going nuts. Also be a little bit careful when using the cutter so close to your fingers, as cutting yourself can happen very quickly. Just repeat this with the other circle and then bunch everything together, unwrap very carefully and do the same with the other one. Now we're going to glue it on top of the pod. First one circle of petals, and then add some more glue. I used ball and a tool to give it some more shape and then push it on top. Now we're going to make a tiny circle for the middle of the flower. Again, same technique, you cut out a circle that is going to fit nicely and then you cut out some petals. Now this technique is a lot easier than sculpting all the petals from polymer clay, but it's also a simplified version of the cornflower, which could be a lot more complex. This is where I just decided to show you an easier way of making flowers, as sometimes it's good to deconstruct and simplify things for a very interesting result as well. Again, with the tiny circle, you want to bunch it together and then unfold it carefully and then glue it to the center. 6. Daisy Sculpture: For the daisies, we're going to start to make our own cutter using a t candle holder. Those tiny metallic T candle holders are great to make your own cutters. Just cut everything out so you have a thin sheet of aluminum and then shape into a teardrop for the daisy petals. Fold one end, maybe adjust the shape a bit so it's a little bit more rounded and then push into some scrap clay. You can also add some liquid clay all around the cutter just to ensure that it's going to hold really well to the polymer clay and then bake. After baking, roll-out a thin sheet of white clay. I always mix in half translucent into any of my colors to give it a more natural look and then for all the petals, you are going to push them down onto your tile with your finger. So you brush your fingers onto the petals to remove all fingerprints, this is how I always remember fingerprints. Also be sure to work in a rather dust free environment because white clay tends to stick dust really first. Using a metal and bossing tool, I just drew two lines on each petal and shaping them a little bit. However, you can also use a toothpick that will work just as great. For the middle of the flower, I used some yellow and added a touch of mandarin or orange to it so it's giving off a nice warm yellow. Then removing the petals one by one with the blade, I'm adding them all around the middle part. As you can see, I am adding them from below and pushing the clay into the yellow so it sticks all nicely together. You might want to add a tiny bit of liquid polymer clay in between with a brush. Right now it's really hot-wire leaves through the clay is sticky and I don't really need to do that. However, if you are sculpting and it's cooler or colder where you live, you might want to add some brush because you polymer clay might not be as sticky and then sort of double all your petals. You can put other petals from upside, but it also works if she put them underneath and just go on and use more petals. Also when working with whites, you might find out that some dust arrives on your petal. One good trick is to use a sharp blade to remove the dust and then to smooth it out again with your fingers. You keep your fingers really clean. One thing that always helps is to roll your fingers between some clay to remove all dust before using the clay you are working with. So the dust will stick to your scrap clay and not to your work. So these are just a few techniques on how to keep your work clean, but it's never perfect. So don't panic if you have a bit of dust somewhere. Sometimes you can also remove it after baking by just scratching the surface off. Just add a little bit more yellow where the white is showing because you want a nice rounded shape. I'm using a spatula tool for that, but you could also easily use a toothpick. In general, toothpick are really good tools to use when sculpting. I used to work only with the toothpick and pin for years before adding some real tools my collection. Now using a needle tool, I'm making tiny holes in a form of spiral in the middle and on the outside circle, I'm just texturing by punching holes a bit more randomly inside the yellow. Then I added some dry pastel on the white petals just to give it some more realism and some ocher in the middle. Just play around with different shades of green for the whites and then I baked everything. Now this is to add stem. The stem is the same technique that shown in the puppy, and now I'm simply adding it to the back of the flower. I made a relatively short stem, you can make it much more longer. It really depends on what you're going to what you're planning to do with it. So I've added some liquid clay all around to ensure everything sticks nicely together. Now I am smoothing everything down. Now for the leafs behind, I am using the same green than the stem, which is again some green and ocher basically and maybe a little bit brown, all depends on the green you are starting with. You kind of want a dirty green, not something that is cleanish neon looking, something that looks very natural. You just all the leaves on the back and you bake again. 7. Queen Anne's Lace Sculpture: Now for Queen Anne's lace, one of my favorite wild flowers, I had to simplify everything a bit. I used her tiny Kemper Catcher in the shape of a flower, and then I cut out many white flowers and push them onto the tile to flatten them. Then I removed each flower from the tile using a blade, and using a bow ended tool, I gave each flower some shape, a bit to the shape of a cup, and then I bunched them all together. You're going to mix 11 bunches of flowers. Once you have your 11 bunches baked. Now for the stem, I am using a much smaller wire. It is a green shaded gardening wire that you can find in any gardening department, and as usual, I am wrapping the wire with some masking tape. I am preparing now one wrapped wire per bunch of flowers. Once you have all your wrapped wire, I am dipping each end into liquid polymer clay, I'm adding some of the green polymer clay, dipping it in polymer clay again, and then putting the bunch of flowers on top. I'm smoothing down the clay onto the bench using my fingers first, and then I [inaudible] to give it some texture and some lines. I repeat this for all the bunches of flowers. Once I have all my bunches, I bake. Now the goal is to put them altogether in the bench. I'm starting with three, and I'm cutting out the excess via wrapping. I simply cut it with the cutter, and then remove all the wrapping that is too much. Just be careful not to cut through the wire. As I said, I'm starting with the three in the middle and putting them together, and then I am doing all the rest. First folding each of the wire to see where and what I have to cut. Now this is all actually I'll rather fill the part, because you do everything by eye and it's not very precise. Start with the three and then add two, and via wrap and wrap them altogether, and then continue with the other ones. Removing the wrapping that is too much as you can see, I give an indent with the cutter, and then just remove it, and then add to the bunch of flowers. Then I also use the wire to wrap everything around. At the end I am wrapping with some masking tape, as you don't want to see all that wire mess. Eventually painting everything in acrylic paint, so that the stem is of the same green shade, then the polymer clay. 8. Final Words: It is your turn, I invite you to choose a flower you would like to do, maybe in a style you are very interested in, even if surrealistic ones, I have done surrealistic flowers before. To find the reference pictures, you are going to choose the best technique regarding your project, and then just dive in. I have much hope that you are going to share your project with the whole class because I love to see what students come up with. Since you are on skill share, maybe i will also check out my tutorial on mushrooms, that is going to show you different approaches, and techniques to sculpt different types of phony, and also my tutorial on crystals where I am sharing how to sculpt for different minerals. If you have any requests for my next classes on skill share, please share those below. Thank you so much for watching and I will see you in my next video, which hopefully will be in less than a month. I'm trying to make one class per month on skill share now, I hope to see you in my next video. Bye.