Cut up the tile spacers
Each tile spacer should be cut more or less in half. Make some 'halves'
a bit longer and some a bit shorter. Then sort them out into lengths.
Each bamboo stem should have longer sections at the bottom and shorter
ones at the top.
Strip the wire if necessary
I use phone wire for the inners, (because I have a load of it). This
will need the insulation stripping off. Take a fairly blunt scalpel
and hold it in one hand. Put the pad of your thumb up against the blade,
with the blade almost flat against your thumb. Then run the wire between
the two, applying gentle pressure with your thumb to remove a strip
of insulation from the wire. Once you have removed this strip you can
take hold of one end of the insulation and peel it back.
Cut up the plants
There are two types of reasonably suitable aquarium foliage that I have
seen, pictured here. Alan's bamboo all uses Type A. Cut each sprig into
individual batches of leaves, leaving as little stem as possible. Type
B leaves have little balls on some of the stems, which will need removing
with a scalpel.
Pierce holes in the leaves
Take a scrap piece of corrugated cardboard or foamcard to
give you something soft as a base. Lay the leaf clump on top of
this and poke a large needle through the middle into the card
below. If you have an electric drill with fine drill bits then
you may find using this easier, but be careful of the drill bit
overheating and melting a huge hole in the plastic.
Thread the bamboo together
Take a piece of wire slightly longer than you want the finished
stem. Thread on a large section of tile spacer, then a leaf clump. Note
that on the Type A foliage, the leaves should point downwards, which
is the opposite way round to the direction they point on the original
plant. The Type B ones look better sticking upwards. Alternate these
until you get to the end of the wire using the smaller bits of tube
at the top.
Paint the stems
The stems are then painted with a pale khaki colour. If you have
the energy you could add a darker green/brown wash around the joints
in the bamboo, to give it a bit of texture.
Stick the stems to a base
Drill a small hole in the base and poke the wire into it. Secure
with epoxy resin or a glue gun.
Texture the base