Ever since I saw an original botanical sample on parchment, for over $200,I've wanted to make my own reproduction. Through a little trial and error, this is what I came up with and I love they way they turned out!
So lets make some botanical reproductions, shall we?
1. You will need various pressed plants. The plants you see here were pressed last summer and were ready to work with in about 6-9 months. This can take longer if the bloom is thicker, with lots of petals, like the Dahlia, top left. It was very worth it though, the colors are amazing and it is so thin and beautiful. I used a flower press like this one, because you can tighten the press as the plants dry.
2. Steep a batch of very strong tea, about 2 cups of water and 3 tea bags. Take a large paintbrush, or foam brush and liberally brush the mixture onto 140lb watercolor paper. You can spatter it around and put more on in other areas to make it more realistic. This paper is thick layers of pressed cotton that will not curl up and acid free. It's pricey, about $10 a pad, but its perfect for this project.
3. When the paper is still wet, rip and tear the edges to make them look worn. Let dry.
4. Still with me? Gooood, OK now we're going to add the plants. Brush on some Matte Mod Podge and put your specimen on top. You only have one chance to lay it on right. Brush some Mod Podge over the entire plant and dip your finger in some of the glue to carefully press out any air bubbles.
5. Look up the botanical names of your plants and write them and the year on with a black or brown Indian Ink pen. If you'd like it to look really authentic, go ahead and write 1845! You can find these pens in the art section of your craft store. When the ink dries, put another layer of Mod Podge over the entire page.
Now you can frame it, or hang it anyway you'd like. I saw once where one was wired to a stick and sitting up on a mantel. I took an old large frame and hung it, then took my botanicals and actually stuck them on the wall with Tacky Wax.
~Cast of Characters~
In order of appearance
Various Pressed Plants
140 lb Cold Press Watercolor Paper
Matte Mod Podge
Indian Ink Pen
I'm still looking up the botanical names myself, but the plants I used above are: Dahlia, Nicotina, Russian Sage, Snaps, Morning Glory, Balloon Flower, ?a potato vine?, i'm still searching for its name, Lemon Thyme - thymus x citriodorus, "Elephant Ear" or Illustrius Calicosia