Make a Plant Press

Make a tool used by ecologists and botanists - a plant press! Channel your inner scientist and create this simple plant press to preserve flowers and plants to study. Explore your backyard, local park or natural area for flowers and plants (just make sure you're allowed to pick them). You can even press flowers purchased from the florist.


Supplies

  • Two or more pieces of cardboard, 8.5 x 11"
  • Letter sized cardstock
  • Plastic bag
  • Two or three large rubber bands, or string
  • Heavy books (optional)
  • Pen or pencil (optional)
  • Glue (optional)
  • Clear contact paper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Go outside for a nature walk and collect flowers, leaves and plants for your plant press. Look for ones that will fit onto your letter sized paper. Carry these in your plastic bag until you get home.
  2. Place one piece of cardboard in front of you, and a piece of cardstock over top. Carefully lay out your flowers and leaves onto the cardstock, then add another 2 or 3 pieces of cardstock on top. 
  3. Continue to add flowers and leaves in layers in your plant press, adding pieces of cardstock in between. 
  4. When you have placed all your plants into the press, add the second piece of cardboard on top. Use rubber bands or string to tightly hold all the pieces together.
  5. If you'd like, place some heavy books on top of your plant press. Leave the press alone for one week or more.
  6. After at least a week, dismantle your plant press and take out your flowers and leaves. If they are not quite dry, put them back in and leave them there for several more days.
  7. Use your pressed plants for an art project if you wish, or make a herbarium. A herbarium is a collection of pressed plants that ecologists and botanists use to study and remember plants. 
  8. To make a herbarium, glue individual plants onto a clean piece of cardstock. In the bottom corner, write down information about the plant, such as the common name, scientific name, data you collected it, and where you collected it. Include your name or initials as well. Use a plant identification book to identify the plant if you don't know what they are.
  9. If you'd like, carefully place clear contact paper over the entire sheet to ensure the plant stays on your paper. Get help from another person to make sure you place the contact paper on straight and smoothly.