Monday, 30 April 2018

Sneak Peek: Tropical Thinlits mini house plants tutorial

Time for another Sneak Peek! This was one of the projects I made for my display at OnStage Telford at the beginning of the month and it was probably the one I was most proud of... mainly because it’s so far out of my comfort zone.

I was sent a pack of Tropical Thinlits – some fabulous new tropical leaf dies from the upcoming catalogue. However, I was not sent the co-ordinating stamps (not complaining, I received LOADS of products!) so was left wondering about how to use them. It’s actually interesting trying to work without the catalogue as you have NO pre-conceived ideas about using the set and I got it into my head that they were intended to make a 3D plant. Now of course I have the catalogue... and it features precisely zero 3D projects made with these dies!

I was confused by a die that I haven’t used here, but it turned out that it works with a flower stamp which I fully intend to order when I can!

Anyway, lots of people were asking how I made these, so here’s how. Sorry there are no images but seriously I can NEVER make these again!

1. Die-cut LOADS of leaves in various shades of green cardstock

2. Sponge those leaves in same or slightly darker ink

3. Curl using bone folder

4. Cut very narrow strips (5mm, ish) of green cardstock for stems, then break down the fibres using a bone folder. Eventually, the cardstock will split into two layers which can be separated. This makes it thinner and easier to work with.

5. Wrap these thin layers of cardstock around some florists’ wire, spiral-fashion, and secure with Tombow or similar wet glue. I think I actually applied PVA with a paintbrush. Allow to dry then assemble the leaves.

Make the boxes. These are simple 5cm square boxes, at different heights. If you cut and score first, then emboss, you can line up one of the edges to the edge of the embossing folder so you can get it all done. Does that make sense?

There’s a narrow strip of cardstock around the top edge of each planter, and the edges are all sponged in Crumb Cake.

Ok, the science bit... getting the plants to stand up in the planters.

1. Make a platform the same size as the box (ie with a 5cm square top) but about 1cm smaller in height. This will look like a simple drawing of a stool or table. So that would be a piece of cardstock measuring about 5cm x 13cm, scored at 4cm from either end.

2. Punch holes in the top of the platform - ie the centre square, then poke the leaves through, taping underneath. From the side it might look like this...

3. Don’t worry about arranging the leaves just yet as they’ll only move. 

4. When all the leaves are taped in, you can apply glue to the sides of the platform and then slide it into the box.

5. Next I took some Early Espresso cardstock, which I tore into small pieces and rolled into tiny balls. This was very, very boring to do but was really worth it as everyone was asking about them because they did look like soil. 

6. I applied a thick layer of Tombow onto the top of the platform, in between the leaf stems, and filled it with the balls of cardstock. 

Finally, it’s time to arrange the leaves to look nice. A lot of effort but was it worth it? I think so, yes. Would I do it again? Definitely not!


  1. Amazing project—these look so real!

  2. Wow, this is so amazing! I wish I could have seen it in person. Thank you for taking the time to explain how they were made. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to tackle such a big project. Perhaps I will try the box first. Then the leaves by themselves, after we get a chance to order the framelits.

    1. Thank you! I didn't mean to tackle such a big project, it just happened, LOL! It all started with one plant...


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

The small print

This is my personal blog and my sole responsibility as an Independent Stampin' Up!® demonstrator. All images are © Stampin' Up!® All content including photographs, projects and text are © Helen Read, unless otherwise stated. Please feel free to copy my ideas for your personal use and inspiration - if you are a SU demonstrator you may use these ideas for your events but please give credit where it is due. Please do not use my ideas for monetary gain, competitions or publication. The images on this blog - including blog buttons - should not be copied and used elsewhere on the internet or on CDs.