Artificial flowers and replicas of natural flowers are sometimes fabricated for scientific purposes; however they are mostly used as articles for commercial or home décor. In different countries, these artificial flowers are manufactured with different materials, for example gold and silver in Ancient Rome, silkworm in Italy, rice-paper in China, painted linen and shavings of stained horn in Egypt, colored feathers in South America, and also wax and tinted shells. Powdered clay, carved or formed soap, wire frames covered with stretched nylon netting, polyester and plastic are some commonly used raw materials these days. Since 1970s, polyester fabrics have been primarily used for the manufacturing of artificial flowers.
The Chinese are believed to be the pioneers in mastering the skills of making floral replicas centuries ago. These floral replicas, fabricated with silk, were used for artistic expression. However, the production of imitation flowers was not common for commercial purpose. It was the Italians who ignite the commerce of artificial flowers by making fake flowers from cocoons of silkworms, assembling dyed blooms into floral arrangements and start selling them way back in the 12th century.
Soon after, the Italian techniques of producing floral replicas were adopted by the French who, by the 14th century, became the most esteemed producers of artificial flowers. Paris is also believed as the birthplace of the modern silk flowers. French flower artisans ended in England during the Revolution. The craft reached America through the English settlers in the early 1800s. In the Victorian Age, the floral arts got a new trend with the introduction of floral replicas fabricated with satin, velvet, crepe, muslin and gauze.
Now with many distinct fabricating processes, the industry has become highly specialized. With hundreds of factories in the Pearl River delta area of Guangdong province, China has become the chief producer and exporter of fake flowers around the world. Thousands of containers of floral and plant replicas are exported from the factories in this region to all parts of the world every year.
It is mentioned above that polyester and plastic are the two major materials used for manufacturing. Let’s have a look at different processes of flower making with these materials.
Polyester and Paper Flowers:
The flower making with polyester and paper includes five major processes. Initially the polyester fabric is put in gelatin in order to make it stiff. Then various polyester fabrics and materials are cut into shapes suitable for forming leaves and petals. Mostly the cutting is done with stamps in order to get multiple pieces with a single cut. Next step includes the impression of veins on the leaves. This is done by means of a dye, and silk screen printing. With the use of various goffering irons, the petals are given their natural rounded form. Final stage includes the assembling of petals and other parts of flower.
Injection moulding is rather the best and easiest way to manufacture plastic flowers of the same designs in bulk quantity. The process involves the injection of plastic into a predesigned metal mould, which may produce complete flowers as well as flower parts that can be assembled later.