The cup and saucer came from Goodwill and cost about 50¢ a piece.
The decorations are hand cut out of scrapbooking paper and gold tissue paper from Michaels. The flowers were cut using a Martha Stewart punch.
The papers were chosen to complement the clover plant (oxalis) which is green in front and wine in back.
The oxalis was grown from a cutting of a single stem and leaf from my father’s best friend, Dominic. I’d never seen an oxalis before. It was like a surreally oversized plant from Alice in Wonderland.
I did not think the cutting would root, but I took it home in the little film container Nick had given me and watched in surprise as it refused to die for week after week.
When the growth of roots became apparent, I started to design the teacup planter to go with it.
My fiancee drilled a hole into the bottom of the cup using a drill bit made for glass. It looked like an arrowhead. IMPORTANT: Drill the hole before doing the decoupage. The drilling may break the cup, especially if it is your first time. If you break a fifty cent cup from Goodwill, no big deal. If you break a work of art you’ve just spent hours creating, it sucks.
I used gold metallic tissue paper for the saucer and for the bottom of the cup. That way, the red cup would match the white saucer. I used Mod Podge to apply the paper decorations. I was careful to avoid leaving blotches of Mod Podge on the exposed ceramic of the cup. If the cup had been covered with tissue paper (like most of my other pieces) it wouldn’t have mattered, but the glue would have looked sloppy on the ceramic. For the finer details, like the flower shapes, I cleaned the crevices with a toothpick.
After the design was finished, I applied several coats of clear acrylic spray paint to protect it. It was probably Krylon Low Odor Matte Clear, but it could have been Krylon Crystal Clear Gloss. I used both for my decoupage cups. I’ve now gone to using Rust-Oleum Triple Thick Glaze. The Triple Thick Glaze needs to be applied liberally all over. If you try applying a light layer, it develops a matte grainy texture. If you apply it too thick, it can sometimes become cloudy and opaque. If you try to apply some here now in one coat and some over there in a later coat, the area between the two coats gets grainy. I’ve found that you’re in good shape if it looks evenly glossy when you’re done spraying. As you might have noticed, I’m still working on the clear coat.
However, I did this cup a year ago and used several coats of clear acrylic and it has held up just fine. To be sure, I have not gotten it wet or dirty, so the pristine condition is more likely an effect of the careful treatment than it is a tribute to the quality of clear acrylic. The saucer did NOT hold up at all. I’d given it extra protective coats, but as soon as it got wet, it formed a white opaque haze. Months later, I sanded off the white opaque clear coat and applied Rust-Oleum Never Wet to the saucer. Now that works. It has a bit of a hazy blue finish, but that might have been a result of my… (what’s the polite word for incompetence?) and the haze is hardly noticeable.
Then I planted my oxalis.
The roots had grown into this paper towel I had used to wrap the stems. No, I don’t know why I never bothered to remove the paper towel. Partly because it was in an opaque film container* and I was afraid I wouldn’t notice if the water level dropped. The plant lived, so maybe I’m on to something.
It sure looked pitiful when I planted it. I used an olive pick to support it, and a little wire twist to hold it to the pick. The plant had grown a new stem and clover while in the process of making roots. I had a dream about kittens last night. The baby clover reminded me of a kitten, but her ears were too round and she didn’t look she’d ever grow to be like her mum. I must admit, I was starting to question the wisdom of designing a cup to match this sickly-looking plant.
I put the plant in soil on 4/14/14. I got the cutting on 1/19 and I started on the cup two months later on 3/29. On that day, she was growing all sorts of little sprigs.
Now she’s all grown up with flowers of her own.
Hope you enjoy my articles & have a terrific day!
* Younglings – film used to go in little plastic cylinders with lids and you could re-use them for all sorts of stuff. I put sand in mine when I went to the beach, which was rare. Now that I travel more, I find myself missing those little stray film canisters rolling around in my camera bag, ready to hold some powdery sand and tiny, thin shells. However, my pocket smartphone allows me to photo document my life in a way where I can show you a story instead of just telling it, and that makes me grateful for the digital age. #rethinkingnostalgia