I bet that a lot of you are familiar with this handy material (usually referred to as “granny grating”). It has a lot of uses in terrain making, but isn’t usually used to make vegetation. However, by applying a little heat to it you can make some puffy looking plantsl. For this project we used the translucent variety and painted it to match the rest of our gelatinous vegetation.
For the first method, start by cutting it into a rough leaf shape. Next cut all of the vertical lines but one (leaving it to act as the central spine). This should make it look like a fern leaf. You will get better results if you use a single blade like a knife. If you use clippers then the pinched cut will react differently when heat is applied.
We used an oven to make a bunch of these at once, but you might be able to use a candle. Make sure that you are using a surface that the plastic won’t stick to when heated, like glass or aluminum foil. Also once the plastic has cooled it will want to retain whatever shape it cooled in. This makes it difficult to put a bend in a leaf later so using some foil to add an arched shape to the leaf is a good idea.
The big problem is how sensitive this stuff is to heat. You will have to do some experiments to determine exactly how much heat to apply to get the result you want. We had a very hard time getting the same results with every leaf. Some were so melted that they were completely unusable, while others on the same cookie sheet hadn’t even gotten warm yet. Even portions of the same leaf would get too hot and begin flowing together. Don’t get discouraged by this since plants tend to have a variety of different looks anyways.
The resulting leaves were all glued together using some hot glue, and then painted.
For the second method simply cut the granny grating into strips and heat. You want to melt these enough that they get an organic look, but not so much that they completely loose the shape. The resulting thinner longer leafs were then glued together in clusters using hot glue.