Beautiful Cardboard
Fretwork Flowerpot Covers

cardboard fretwork flower pot cover red 1

Cardboard fretwork flowerpot covers (sometimes called ornaments during the Victorian era) were the Victorian’s answer to how to hide the not-so-pretty pots most plants were grown in. This method is inexpensive and can be quite beautiful.


Cardboard Fretwork Flowerpot Ornaments

cardboard fretwork flower pot cover  #1

Click on picture to see more detail.

Pretty ornaments can be made for flower-pots by cutting out white cardboard. Fig. 1 is a very good design for the purpose. It is a fleur de lis, the common flag-flower of our country streams.

Trace the shape of the panel, and on a large sheet of bonnet-board, draw four of these meeting at the sides, A to B, C to D, except the two ends. Beyond one of these leave half an inch of cardboard, the half cut through with a knife, and to join the four into the necessary circle to envelop the pot.

Another way is to cut the four panels entirely separate, and join them together by strips of red paper, placed inside, down the sides.

After the outline is drawn, cut out the device before cutting out the shape of the entire pot. To do this, place the card on a board, and work with the point of a very sharp penknife. On the clearness of the cutting out depends the beauty of the ornament. In Fig. 1 the upright spear, with its bulb centre, is left standing in cardboard in the midst of the excavation. Line all the open parts at the back with red gelatine. Silk, satin, or an entire lining of coloured paper may be substituted for the gelatine. Green, as a colour, has the next best effect to red, and after that orange or yellow.

cardboard fretwork flower pot cover #2

Click on picture to see more detail.

Fig. 2 is an arabesque design of acanthus leaves, with a centre of cord running through the figure. All the shaded portion is removed. The Gothic tops of the ornaments should be entirely above the flower-pot, and only the very lowest part of the card level with the top of the flower-pot.

When larger or smaller ornaments are required, the design must be enlarged or reduced, and can no longer be traced.

These ornaments make pretty presents, either a pair, or a set of three or five, to place in stands in a sitting-room.

To obtain the size necessary for a pot, encircle it in paper, and pin the two sides to the slope, making them at equal distances. Quarter these, and divide the slope equally between each side of the quarters, to keep them uniform. A pot-cover should be easy, not tight-fitting.


cardboard fretwork flower pot cover #3

Click on picture to see more detail.

Figs 3 (above) and 4 (below) are more complicated designs, requiring greater care and skill in their execution; but not too difficult For the amateur to execute. The markings and shadings are painted on the silk or gelatine, with colours mixed either in water, oil, or varnish.

cardboard fretwork flower pot cover #4

Click on picture to see more detail.

The boards in which these designs are cut may be either painted or gilt.

When painted, gilt paper mounted flat on thin cardboard may be substituted for the gelatine or silk with a pretty effect.

A very large variety of designs could be made, differing greatly from the above, but not less pretty or attractive.


cardboard fretwork flower pot cover view 2

The pictures with the red design were cut from poster board (purchased at the Dollar Tree) and red scrapbooking paper.

To do this you need to make sure you have VERY sharp knives, otherwise the design comes out very rough. If your cuts are not absolutely perfect, don't worry. Since it is seen from a distance, the little flaws you will see while cutting it out are unnoticeable. It is important, though, to be as neat as possible. I do believe cellophane paper would have looked very nice but I didn't have any one hand.

You may find you do not wish to cut out all four sides with the design. The top photograph has only two sides cut out. Since the pot is viewed from the front only, you may decide that one or two sides is enough. Of course, having all four sides with the designs cut out allows for more light to filter through.

The picture above the design can be seen from any angle the pot is view from. My lighting was not good at the time of the picture so the light that filters through the red paper can't been seen. However, when the sun shines through the window and through the flowerpot, it is very pretty.

This project came from Cassell's Household Guide, Vol. 2 dated 1869.


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