Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DIY: Leaf and Flower Press

It's DIY tutorial time again! The last one I posted ended up being the second most popular post I've ever done on Intrepid Hermit (the most popular post has always been this one. I have no idea why) so I'm excited for this one.

Originally I planned to do this in spring when all the flowers were blooming, but fall is also a great time  to make a flower press because you can grab all the newly fallen leaves and try to preserve all their gorgeous color. As you can probably tell from my blog design, I love to press leaves. My neighborhood is full of trees and every time I walk anywhere I end up coming home with a fistful of colorful leaves. Nature! Last year I put them all to good use while making this, this year I'll have to think of something new to make with all of them.

There are a lot of flower press tutorials out there on the interwebz, so feel free to use mine more as guidelines rather than instructions. Most of the time when I'm making stuff I'm winging it, and then I go back and figure out what I should have done before I post it as a DIY.

So here's what you'll need:

2 wood plaques of the same size (the cheap kind you can find in craft stores for like $1.50)
4 three inch bolts
4 washers
4 wing nuts
(it took me a quite a bit of staring at the wall full of screws and bolts in Home Depot before I found the right combination of hardware. I believe the size I ended up going with was 10)
corrugated cardboard
a thick, acid free, absorbent paper (like watercolor paper)
a drill

On the two plaques, measure out where you want to drill your holes. Remember the old saying "measure twice cut once" or in this case drill once. Where you chose to drill the holes will depend on the size and shape of the plaque you're using.

Cut 4 sheets of the corrugated cardboard and 10 sheets of the paper (you can do more or less. Just remember you need two sheets of paper for each sheet of cardboard, plus two sheets of paper for each end). Make sure you cut them slightly smaller than the plaques. I recommend using corrugated cardboard because it gives a little so that when you tighten the two sides of your press, your leaves/flowers will be gently pressed instead of smashed.

You can either cut the paper and cardboard so it fits between where the bolts will come through, or you can drill holes through the entire stack like I did.

Stack the paper and cardboard following this pattern: 2 sheets of paper, 1 cardboard, 2 sheets of paper, 1 cardboard, etc.

If you want you can decorate the plaques. I decorated mine using this image transfer method. To be honest, my decorating idea seemed a lot better in my head. I might go back and change it later.

Finally, attach the hardware. Thread the bolt through the washer, then through the front plaque, then through the paper and cardboard, then through the back plaque. Lastly, screw the wing nut on the bolts and tighten (but not too tight, remember you want to press, not smash)


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  2. I absolutely love this!! Great post, thank you!

    Nkenge B.