Monday, November 14, 2011

DIY Botanical Art Tutorial

If I told you I had a a small obsession with plants, it would be a total lie.  I am a die-hard plant nerd and am not ashamed of it!  For example: my house is filled with all kinds of green things, I prune disfigured trees mentally every time I look outside, and if you ask me to name a plant I will most likely rattle off a Latin name first. I LOVE NATURE.

So of course, I had to have some fern botanical art in my leafy bedroom.

Tools and supplies:
11x17 frames
paper to mount ferns on
pens for labeling
rubber cement
ruler or T-Square
scratch paper
nails and picture hanger

I started off with a couple of 11x17 frames from Kohl's.  I love the brown wood and the matting was nice, but I eventually got rid of it so I'd have more room for the fern.

Then, I set out to find some pressed ferns.  For those of you who live where ferns are a plenty, you can go outside hunting for some and press them yourself.  In the desert, we don't have this luxury so I found an online company who sells them, called Nature's Pressed Flowers.  They have different  kinds of ferns in various sizes.  Since I had large frames, I wanted large ferns.  I ordered a large rhombus fern and a large feather fern and with shipping it came to under $10.
The next step was to find some paper to mount my ferns on.  I went to the local craft store and bought a 19 x 25.5 inch sheet of ivory textured artist paper for $2.  Below, you can see that I've cut the board into 2 - 11x17 sheets of paper.  You can use the paper from inside the picture frame as a template.

Using my drafting supplies, I labeled my fern in the corner with the scientific name first, then the common name.   I always tape my paper to my drafting board so it doesn't move around while I work.  (If you don't have a drafting board, any flat surface will do.)  I printed the words in pencil first and then went over them with a Staedtler 0.1 pigment liner.  I also added a date, 10/11, in the bottom right-hand corner.  You don't have to have fancy tools to do this, just make sure your writing is straight (use a ruler) and that you use a high-quality pen that won't fade.  

To glue the fern, place it on scratch paper, back side facing up, and apply a thin layer of rubber cement.  It doesn't have to cover the whole fern, just dot it enough to secure the fern to the paper.  

When you're done, place the fern carefully, glue side down, on the artist's paper.  Put a piece of scratch paper on the fern and gently press down, flattening the fern to the artist's paper.  If you have to do this more than once, use a different piece of scratch paper so as not to accidentally get glue in unwanted places!

 Finished product before framing

Let the glue dry thoroughly.  Carefully remove the taped edges.  Place the mounted fern in the frame.  The next step is to add ribbon from which to hang the picture.  The back of my frame already has two loops for hanging, so I threaded my ribbon through them and tied it at the bottom.  You will need to hold the ribbon up to see how long you want it to be. 

Your new botanical art is ready to hang on the wall.  I hung mine by nailing picture hangers into the wall.  I have no worries about these guys slipping off these slanted contraptions. You should probably hammer the nails farther in than I did.  I didn't bother to find studs since my pictures are light.

Mmm....lookin' good!



  1. So beautiful! I love plants but I am horrible at keeping them alive; I am jealous of your green thumb (my is friends with the Prince of Darkness it's so not green). I love how the prints turned out!

  2. So pretty and elegant. They look great in your room!

  3. This is super beautiful! Thanks for linking up to Latest and Greatest Friday!

    1. What a GREAT idea!!! Love them...I'll will start my project soon.


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