As I am a bit of a romantic, and Valentine's Day is coming, I thought I would share a little item I have made in the past. I made one of these for a lady friend of mine back in college. I made the first one when I was about 13, using a stick, and a steak knife. I would NOT recommend using a steak knife, but it was what I had.
They require minimal tools, skills, and time.
I am not a skilled woodworker or artist, and I am sure there are better descriptions and proper names for the techniques I'm using. Please feel free to leave comments telling me what they are or what might work better next time. Thanks!
We will be using a sharp knife, so be careful not to cut yourself, if you get blood on the wood, it makes the colorizing part harder.
Step 1: The Tools
A thin sharp knife, like an X-acto or a scalpel
A sheet of 150 grit sandpaper
Colored pencils and/or markers
Step 2: The Supplies
1 piece of wood roughly 3-4 inches long and half an inch square, or a round, straight stick about 2/3 inch across and 3 or 4 inches long, for every rose you want to make.
Step 3: Make a Line
Figure out how big you want the bud and stem to be, and using your knife, carefully cut a groove all the way around the wood to delineate between the two, I like the long stem rose look, so my bud is about 2/3 inch and the rest is stem.
Step 4: Carve the Stem Down
From the groove you just put in the wood down to the end,on the long side of the wood from the groove, carefully shave off the wood until it forms a round stem. Be careful not to make it too lopsided (getting it perfect is really hard). Constantly turn the piece so you are always taking wood from a different side. I use the "Cut off the corners" method. Anywhere you see of feel a ridge or corner, flatten it with the knife, taking lighter and lighter cuts each pass, until it relatively round. Don't obsess over making it perfect, that's why we have sandpaper. Try to keep it centered. You want to take it down to about 1/3 of an inch thick, or so.
Step 5: Shape the Bud
If you are using a square piece of wood, you are going to use the same "Cut the corners" method, but using MUCH shallower cuts. Once it is rounded, shave the sharp top and bottom edges down to curves, so you get a smooth transition. Again, don't worry about making it perfect. Mine still had a flat side when I stopped cutting.
If you are using a round stick, this i pretty simple. Just use the knife to shave the top and bottom of the bud portion of the stick until it is rounded over.
Step 6: Smooooooth.
Sand it smooth. Whatever method works for you. :)
Be sure to pay special attention to the transition between the bud and stem.
Step 7: The Tricky Bit...
After you have it all nice an smooth, take your knife and carefully cut a few overlapping spirals on the top of the bud section. I also cut a small v shaped notch on both sides, and carry the line from the bottom of the V all the way to the base of the bud near the stem, to make a couple "petals" on the outside of the bud.
Step 8: Color Coding
There is, I found out a while back, a color coded system to roses. A whole "language of flowers" in fact.
Yellow is friendship
Red is love
Black is you're a goth, or... something.
I'm not gonna lie, I stopped paying attention after red. My point is, make sure you pick the right color or you may send the wrong message to whoever you give this to. Plus, it will impress her if you know the significance of the color.
I use a combo of colored pencils and markers to layer on colors, and add details. Don't be afraid to experiment. If I had some red or green nail polish I would try that. Maybe watercolors, whatever. Go nuts. Layers add nice depth.
I ran the green colored pencil over the stem, and in the spirals and grooves of the bud, then hit the bud with a pink and orange pencil. Then I came back with the green marker and added a little striping to the stem. I hit the bud with a red marker and filled in all the blank spaces. Just keep at it till it looks good. Don't worry about mistakes, if it really looks bad, just sand it down and start over!
Step 9: A Small Token...
I don't really go in for grand romantic gestures, mostly because I will never look as awesome as John Cusack with a boombox over my head. But a little effort, a little time, and you will make a lasting token that someone can hold on to forever.
Please let me know what you think, and I would love to see your version! Post a pic in the comments! Maybe try a different flower, or some cool coloring techniques. Tell me what you think! Thanks again!