UPDATE: There is now a SKILLSHARE class you can watch to learn how to make this!
Five months after my first paper pilea peperomioides (a.k.a. Chinese money plant), I've had so much fun making many more. I thought it was time for an update on the DIY! Here you will find a tutorial for a more realistic interpretation of the popular plant and more detailed instructions. I hope you like it! Let me know if you make one!
What you need: green text weight paper, green tissue paper, scissors, pot, green gel pen, UHU glue stick, q-tip, knife, needle nose pliers, hot glue gun and sticks, foam, 22 gauge green covered wire, 18 gauge wire, gravel, brown corsage tape
1. Fit your pot with the foam about 1" from the top. I use insulation foam found at Lowes or Home Depot, but you can use styrofoam, oasis, or even a few layers of cardboard. Make sure the foam is snug in place and does not shift around. If there are gaps, tape over them with masking tape.
2. Cover the foam with small gravel. I like the gravel found at pet stores intended for fish tanks, simply because it is small and is available in a variety of colors, but just about anything will work. You can use sand, shredded paper, moss, or larger rocks.... whatever you like!
3. Cut out circles and ovals from your green text weight paper. I do this by folding my sheet of paper in half and then in half again. That way, I am cutting several circles at once. No need for perfection here, they can be varied. Cut several different sizes.
4. Next, cut a slit in each circle. Using a q-tip, apply a small line of UHU glue stick along one edge and overlap the sides, creating a shallow bowl shape. You'll need to pinch it for a few seconds for the glue to hold. If you end up with an odd shape, simply trim with your scissors after the glue has dried.
5. Add a small dot to the center of each "leaf" using a bright green gel pen. Allow the ink to dry before touching.
6. Use your needle nose pliers to create a small loop at the end of the 22 gauge wire. Once you have formed the loop, bend the loop over to be perpendicular to the length of wire. This is the stem, each stem should be about 4-5" long.
7. Apply a small dot (smaller even than a pea) of hot glue to the center of the back of the "leaf" and quickly attach the wire.
8. This step is optional, but I think it makes the back of each leaf look more finished. Simply cut a small circle out of matching green tissue paper and apply a thick layer of the UHU glue. Slip it over the wire and cover the connection point you made earlier with the hot glue. If you need to, trim off any excess.
9. Next, grab your length of 18 gauge wire and attach the leaves using brown corsage tape. Corsage tape works best if you are gently pulling the tape at an angle as you work. The tape gets sticky when it is stretched. It may take some practice to get the hang of the corsage tape at first.
10. Make your pilea as dense or as sparse as you like! Once you have added as many leaves as you like, you can gently shape the plant, try having it lean to one side, give it an "S" curve, or a gesture that cascades over the side of the pot.
11. When you are happy with the gesture of your plant, insert the wire stem into the foam in your pot. You can add a couple more "baby" leaves to the pot as this is how the plant propagates and it adds to the realism and character. Finally, I like to name my plants! What will you name yours?