Moth Orchid tutorial

Simple Moth Orchid
Many people shy away from attempting this beautiful flower, but hopefully the instructions given here for this very simple version will encourage you to have a go. The instructions here are given for use with Dusky Rose veiners, but could be adapted for use with any cutters you have.
What you will need
For the Labellum
Labellum cutter
Flower paste of your choice
Rolling board
Small rolling pin
Orchard pin or similar
Ball or bone tool
Orchard pad or similar
White fat or Jem petal base (pictured)
Craft knife
Sugar glue
Petal dusts in chosen colour
Dusting and fine detail brushes
Paper covered wire (choose what you would normally use ) 
Heavy duty tweezers or pliers
For the purpose of this tutorial I will refer to parts of the labellum cutter as: head, arms, waist, hips and legs.




Roll out a small piece of paste on a very lightly greased board leaving a triangular shaped ridge long enough to take the head and the waist of the cutter. Position the cutter so that the head is over the fattest part of the ridge and cut out the piece.

MO4cut piece

MO5 cut off leg

MO6split leg

Turn the cut piece over and cut a piece off the legs at an angle, and from both sides. You do not have to do this, but I find that because of the fragility of these pieces, they are much easier to handle and less likely to break when dry if the legs are shorter.
Using your craft knife, cut into the legs as shown and open out slightly.

MO7 split leg open

MO8pinch head

MO9pinch head 2

Holding the cut piece in one hand, (with the fat ridge at the back) gently pinch the head into a slight point and pull it forward gently. This forms the hood of the labellum. Unfortunately this one got a little too stretched waiting for photo's to be taken, but hopefully you get the idea.

MO10pinch head down

MO11balling legs


Transfer the piece to a softening pad. Using a ball or bone tool, gently soften and round off the hips. Draw the tool down the legs to thin the paste slightly, and then from the points at the bottom of the legs draw the tool back towards you. This will bring the legs up into a curve.

MO13balling arms

MO14before the wire


Using the ball or bone tool gently cup the arms, and tease them upwards so that they look as though they could embrace you.
Cut a 1/4 length piece of wire (in this case 26g) and using pliers or strong tweezers bend 1/4" into a right angle. Moisten the wire with your chosen glue and feed into the fatter part of the waist at the back of the labellum.




To create the pollen guide, take a very tiny piece of paste and roll into tiny sausage. Using the craft knife, cut into, but not right through the paste. Open the cut out slightly with the knife.




Pinch the paste upwards at each side, and using your chosen glue, attach the pollen guide to labellum as shown. Set aside to dry off before colouring.

Once the labellum is dry you can dust with petal dusts in your choice of colours.
Look at real moth orchids or photographs for inspiration


For the petals, and in addition to the items listed above
Dusky Rose Veiners or cutters of your choice
Firstly consider how the petals for this flower sit together and where you should insert the wires.
Roll out your paste using the method you would normally use leaving a central ridge to insert the wire. These are not fine petals in nature so the paste does not need to be rolled out over thinly. Very lightly rub a very little white fat or petal base over the veiner and position the ridge in the paste over the part of the veiner where the wire will be inserted. Press the paste into the veiner using the flat of your fingers. 

 Take the paste off the veiner and turn it over. Using the cutting wheel, cut around the impression left in the paste


 Dampen the end of a 1/4 length wire (in this case 28g) and feed the end of the wire into the ridge in the petal.

These petals are fleshy in nature, so there is no thinning required. Gently and without squashing or squeezing the petal, hold the cut edge between your finger and thumb and just touch the petal over to remove any cut appearance.
Make all 5 petals in the same way. When dry you can colour how you choose. In this instance I have added a few speckles to the base of the petals using a very fine paintbrush.




I choose to tape the petals together before adding the labellum, less breakages!



 The finished flower on the left and an alternative colouring on the right
I hope this tutorial is informative and encourages you to have a go. If there is anything which is not clear or anything which you would like explained in more detail, please let me know.

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