Monday, October 11, 2010

DIY Leaf & Flower Press

A couple years ago I posted about how I "grew up crafty" and the roll my parents played in nurturing my creativity.  I've also posted about a haunted doll house my parents made and the puppet theatre my Dad whipped up for Elle a while back.  I've always appreciated how creative my parents are and it's fun to see my girls sharing in that with them now too....  the gift my Dad made for Elle for her 5th birthday is a great example!  

Elle picks up leaves and flowers all the time... I'm constantly finding leaves in the washing machine and dead flowers in the cup holders of the car.  A flower/leaf press was a perfect gift for her, and my Dad was just the person to make it.  If you want to give it a try, it's pretty easy to do with just a few tools.

Here's what you'll need:
2 pieces of 5/8 inch plywood + a scrap piece
4 3/8 inch carriage bolts
4 large washers
4 smaller washers
4 wing nuts
1/2 inch brad point wood drill bit
sand paper
spray polyurethane
decorative sticker (optional)
wax paper

Cut two pieces of plywood as large as you'd like your press to be, Elle's is 10x10 (you could even ask someone at the hardware store to do this for you).  Place one board on top of the other and drill a hole through both boards, in each corner, about an inch in from the corner (The brad point wood drill bit will help you get your holes straight and lined up.  Putting a scrap piece of board under the two pieces of the press and drill through the press boards and into the scrap piece will keep your boards from splintering).  Next, sand all the edges of your boards, then spray polyurethane all sides of both boards (add your sticker if you want to before you spray the final coat of polyurethane on).   Cut several pieces of cardboard the same size as your boards, then clip off the corners so they can sit inside the press but the holes are left unobstructed.  Now you're ready to put the press together!

Start with the 4 carriage bolts with a large washer on each.  Insert them up through the holes in the bottom board of the press.  Next, layer in the following order until you've put all your leaves and flowers in - cardboard, wax paper, leaves & flowers laid flat and not touching each other (Here's a link to more info on the specifics of how to use a flower press), wax paper, cardboard. After your last piece of cardboard, put the second board through the carriage bolts.  To make your press... well press... put the smaller washers on the bolts, press down on the center of the top board and tighten the wing nuts down.  

(this is the top of the press with it all tightened down)           (this is the under side of the press)

PhotobucketThen you wait...


RedMarionette said...

So clever! I had one growing up but it was a bought one. I used it a lot too! I bet she will have all kinds of fun looking for items to put in it now!

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