Sunday, November 11, 2012

Japanese Maple Leaves and Their Stems

It's been so long since I posted anything! So sorry. I want to thank everyone for all the lovely well-wishes. I'm feeling MUCH better! Yep, I have kidney disease, and I spent a fair amount of time in the kitty hospital, but I'm doing pretty well, now. I have a special new low protein diet, and Helen has to give me subcutaneous fluids twice a week. I'm not enjoying that process, BTW, but what can I do? We might be able to reduce the frequency if my blood numbers show progress at my next veterinary visit. The doctor was very impressed last time.

OK, so it's fall, isn't it? If Helen and I had had more time last month, we would have talked about this earlier, but better late than never.We both love Japanese maple leaf kanzashi. They're just so pretty. But you know what, in almost every example I can find, I don't like the leaf stems.....I'm not going to show you pictures, but typically, stems look awkward, pasted on, not organic. I don't know....I asked Helen if she could come up with something better, and here's a little mini-tutorial to show you Another Way.

All you accomplished kanzashi-makers will know that to create a Japanese maple leaf, you want to make 5 or more long skinny petals. Helen likes to make 3 of about the same length for the middle of the leaf, and 2 more a little shorter for the outer part of the leaf. Now, about the stem.

Try this: cut about a 3 inch piece of wire and twist it from the center, like this...

making loops with the ends, and folding them together, like this...

Now that you have your loops, you can sew them to the center "lobe" of your leaf....simply insert the lobe (petal) inside the folded loops. Sew as you would a "hook and eye" type fastener. The stem part of the wire is on top of the leaf, like this...

Here's a side for bigger!
All right, now put together the rest of your leaf. Helen sewed on the middle lobes and then glued the outer might have been OK to glue all of them. The reason she did some sewing was because she was unsure about what bead to sew at the base of the leaf, and didn't want to try sewing through hardened hot glue. Here are two completed maple leaves mounted on snap clips....
The small aventurine beads help to obscure raw edges at the base of the leaves.
So, this is just one way to accomplish a Japanese maple leaf! We would LOVE to hear from you about the way you like to do it. Sharing ideas is what promotes progress, right?


  1. Wow, I had no idea how involved these are! Soon you're going to be soldering, too! :-)


    1. Oh, they can be veeeery fancy! Many examples of kanzashi "engineering" can be found on Etsy, of course. Hope you're having a good fall!