Friday, January 21, 2011

How to make a turkey tail rose

Figure 1,  Turkey Tail Rose
When is a rose not a rose? Your friends will be amazed that your handcrafted fungus rose is not a real flower (fig.1). In just a few minutes you can create a beautiful faux rose for dried arrangements and wreathes (fig.2) or to stand alone in a bud vase. You can even add a few drops of essential oil to scent the rose.

Figure 2
Gather some soft turkey tail mushrooms in a variety of sizes and shapes. (You can find them growing in clusters along fallen trees in a deciduous wood.) The little mushrooms will dry quickly in storage. When you are ready to make a rose, place the flat, little mushrooms in a plastic bag, sprinkle them with water and leave for about 15 minutes to soften.

Begin with a small turkey tail mushroom for the flower center and twirl it into a cone shape. Using a 24-gauge (or smaller) florist wire, push the wire several inches through the pointed base of the twirled mushroom and fold down. Pull and wrap brown florist tape from the bottom of the turkey tail petal down the length of double wire for as long as you want the stem (fig.3). You can find both wire and tape at any florist or hobby shop.

Figure 3
With a hot glue gun, add the second turkey tail. Regular glue will not work because you need a quick, strong hold. Start by covering the first fold. Put hot glue onto the new piece and lay it flat against the center piece, then press and hold for a few seconds.

Continue around the flower center with the next piece of the same size, placing it on the other side. The next pieces can be a bit bigger, to wrap farther around the flower center. Keep the new pieces slightly lower than the previous row so the center is exposed rather than hidden. Keep adding rows until the flower is as big as you want it.

Figure 4
You may want to trim the bottom of the longer pieces slightly so the flower ends evenly on the stem. Find a wide, short piece of turkey tail and wrap it around the bottom to cover the seams. It will look like the bottom petals. To finish, glue a small circle of moss around the flower base to hide the seams (fig.4).

Thanks to Carol Shumate from Little Shop of Wild Things for sharing this nature craft.

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