Botanical prints are extremely popular these days, but I like to add a touch of realism (as well as some “naturalist” vibes that go well with my British colonial-ish, world-traveler decor aesthetic) by using real plants! In this project, I made a collection of three framed, pressed ferns for under $15!
To do the same, you will need…
- Frames with mats (I got three from Wal Mart for $4 each… if you can’t find frames with mats you can always cut your own as well!)
- Pressed fern leaves* (or any other preserved plant you wish to display!)
- Cardstock (Scrapbooking paper – acid free – works well if you want them to last)
- Double-sided scrapbooking tape
- Scotch or one-sided tape
You can see my supplies laid out in the above picture.
*But wait! You don’t have pressed fern leaves? Here’s a quick tutorial for those who have never pressed leaves or flowers before. If you’ve already got your pressed leaves, you can skip down to “Instructions”.
To press your leaves…
- Snip your fern (or other plant) leaf off of your houseplant, bouquet, or landscaping plant. If there’s any sort of dew or water on it, dry it off gently with a soft cloth or towel.
- No ferns available? Buy yourself a $5 bouquet from the grocery store and press some of the ferns they use as greenery to compliment the flowers!
- As soon as the leaf is dry, find yourself a good heavy book, like a dictionary or textbook, and some wax paper.
- If you don’t have wax paper, you can use a couple of pieces of parchment or copier paper, but the book’s pages might be stained in the process!
- I once tried to use empty scrapbooks for pressing flowers and the results were moldy and disastrous… use a book with paper pages so that the moisture you’re pressing out of the plants has somewhere to go!
- Fold a piece of wax paper in half and open the book to a page near the end of the book. Lay leaves on the half of the paper nearest the end of the book, then fold over the wax paper. Avoid overlapping the leaves together, as you won’t be able to separate them very well when they’re pressed.
- Gently close the book, so that the leaves are pressed inside, surrounded by wax paper.
- If you have more leaves to press, repeat steps #3 and 4, leaving about an eighth-inch of pages between each layer of leaves in the book.
- Place the book somewhere out of the way and stack a few more books (or other heavy objects) on top for good measure.
- Let the leaves press for 2-3 weeks. When they’re done you’ll have flattened, preserved leaves that has almost as much color as the day you cut them!
- It should be noted that there are many methods of pressing leaves and flowers… but I think this is the easiest and the method that I’ve used many times with success. Do whichever works best for you!
- Choose the best-looking ferns of the ones you have, and carefully lay them out on your work surface.
- Open up your picture frames and remove the mats. Set the frames aside.
- If your cardstock is not already cut to a usable size, use the scissors to cut each one slightly bigger than the opening of the mats.
- I chose a cardstock that reminded me of parchment or a natural fiber for a classic look; if you choose one with a pattern you’ll just have to be a little more careful with the scissors and tape so that the pattern is straight in the frame.
- Thicker paper is better for supporting the delicate plants!
- Tape the cardstock to the back of the mats using your Scotch or one-sided tape.
- Flip the mats back over so you are now looking at the part that will show in the frame. Lay them out on your work surface.
- Carefully tear off small pieces of double-sided tape (smaller than the leaves of the fern) and affix 3-4 to the back of each fern leaf.
- You could also use glue for this step, but be sure to get one that won’t damage the plant and give it plenty of time to dry before framing.
- Center the fern over your matted cardstock and gently affix it using the tape. Pressed plants can be very delicate, so try to touch the plant as little as possible in this step.
- Repeat steps #6 and 7 for each fern/frame.
- Place the matted ferns in each frame. If the mats are at all lose in the frames, I recommend taping them to the glass so they won’t slide around.
- Put the backs of the frames on and hang where desired!
I hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial on how to add a bit of natural greenery-as-artwork to your home. Because I already had everything except for the frames laying around the house, mine only cost me a sum total of $12 to make, and they’ve been proudly displayed in my house for the past two years! Not bad for a easy, cheap home decor project, eh?