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1:6 Solutions: Mulberry Paper Flowers

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1:6 scale bouquet of Mulberry Paper flowers. Vase is a 15ml fluted shot glass, courtesy of OneSixthSense on etsy. Vase filler is 1:1 scale vase filler from craft store.
1:6 scale bouquet of 5/8″ and 1/2″ “creamy dusk” and “light magenta” Mulberry paper roses with oblong 3/4″ leaves attached by hand, arranged with pieces of plastic Queen Anne’s Lace as scale baby’s breath. Vase is a 15ml fluted shot glass, courtesy of OneSixthSense on etsy. Vase filler is 1:1 scale non-toxic polymer water pearls (dry, straight from package) from craft store.

I’ve been where you are. I’ve been stood in the silk flowers aisle of my local Jo-ann Fabric & Crafts, bemoaning the fact that even the tiniest silk gypsophila baby’s breath is still too large to work as 1:6 scale flowers. I have raised my fist to the sky and wept hot, wet tears that despite six full aisles of silk flowers arrange by colour there are so few options for miniature floral arrangements that work at 12″ fashion doll scale.

Well, mourn no more, fellow diorama artists! For I am here to tell you about the wonderful world of mulberry paper flowers, and how you’ll never have a complete meltdown at Michael’s again, cursing your lack of a fully-functioning shrink ray.

(I often curse my lack of a fully-functioning shrink ray. Primarily because while there are myriad affordable options for 1:12 scale and even 1:3 scale dioramas, 1:6 scale means having to think outside the box. And commissioning lots of pieces from people on etsy. All the time. And crying. All the time.)

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There are advantages to mulberry paper flowers and leaves over silk/plastic artificial flowers. For one, due to the texture of the painted paper flowers, they photograph better. The way light reflects and is absorbed by the paper more closely mimics real-life flower petals, and the thin green wire stems can be bent easily, adding a touch of realism to your dioramas. For another, they are very inexpensive. For example, a bundle of 50 paper roses–available in multiple sizes from 10mm (⅜”) to 25mm (1″)–can cost as little as $5.00 USD. A wide variety of blooms can be found–from tea roses, closed rosebuds, gypsophila, daffodils, mums, and gardenias to name a few, allowing you to create bouquets and centrepieces with variety of both colours and types of flowers. Leaves in different shapes and sizes can also be purchased, and wound around the thin wire stems easily, for an even more realistic touch.

You’ll be able to find mulberry paper flower heads easily in the Scrapbooking Embellishments section of your local craft store, but for 3 dimensional open and closed roses and other flowers, you are going to have to resort to online sellers. Bulk orders can be made from craft suppliers such as Wild Orchid Crafts, Schokdiijung on etsy, or ebay sellers like MulberryCraftsUS.

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1:6 scale Tulip Chairs and where to find them

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Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Chair (first seen in 1955 for Knoll) is a classic example of mid-century modern design. With its smooth, sleek lines resembling the petals of a tulip flower, it’s instantly recogniseable and is often grouped with the Jacobsen Egg Chair and Eames Armchair as top examples of industrial design.

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Of course, I knew none of this. Per usual, my introduction to the sleek, futuristic Tulip Chair was Star Trek. Below, check out a shot of Majel Barrett surrounded by a bevy of tulip chairs of different shades of white, grey, and blue as Trek’s very first female First Officer in the 1964 pilot, “The Cage” directed by the legendary Robert Butler.

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When I began playing with the idea of doing a 1:6 scale Trek diorama, I wanted to meld the set design from the original series with the shiny new Star Trek (2009) film. The white and red tulip chair was a must-have miniature, but I was shocked to discover the only miniature available at the time was the Vitra Design Museum replica, which cost over $250. Needless to say, I passed.

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However, the design is a classic, and I soon discovered a much more affordable 1:6 tulip chair available from Lexington Modern. Sold directly through Lexmod’s website, and on Amazon.com, I got several chairs with both black and red cushions for only $15 each during a sale. I’ve made a point over the last year to point fellow diorama artists toward Lexmod, as it’s a much better alternative to Vitra for a variety of reasons, not the least of which the quality of the miniatures for the price. A similar chair (possibly cast from the same moulds) is available wholesale from China for only $7. Check it out at Aliexpress.

So, next time you’re looking for modern minis, don’t despair! There are plenty of affordable mid-century chairs out there, if you’re willing to do a little digging! Sometimes they’re sold as mobile phone holders, novelty gifts, and decorative collectibles rather than doll or action figure furniture. With the same chairs often sold on ebay for $40 and up, I wanted to spread the word far and wide on where diorama artists can find their own tulip chairs without breaking the bank.