Lots of us are into pressed flowers at the moment for handy crafts which has seen a resurgence.
I thought this would make a lovely gift for Mothers Day or perhaps a gardener who enjoys pressing their own flowers.
These presses are very easy to make and many of the materials can often be found lying around the home. I think flower presses are quite expensive to buy so it is worth making your own for a few hours work. Also I think they are fun to make and will give years of enjoyment.
2 x Pieces of plywood cut to the same size of your choice but a minimum thickness of 10mm
Emulsion or Acrylic Paint
Craft Knife / Scissors
Small brushes for painting and applying glue
Water based Varnish
'Mod Podge' for Decoupage
Pressed Flowers if using
4 x Countersunk Threaded Machine Screws M6 80mm
4 x Wing Nuts M6
4 x Washers M6
Cut the plywood into two equal sized pieces of your choice and give all the surfaces a light sand.
I had an off cut of plywood that allowed me to get two pieces 320mm x 300mm in size.
Drill appropriate sized holes 25mm in from each corner on both pieces. (Tip: By putting the two pieces on top of each other and drilling them at the same time you can ensure the machine screws will go through and the boards will line up nicely). On the bottom of one piece of wood countersink the holes to accommodate the screw heads.
Paint all surfaces and edges of the two pieces of wood in a colour of your choice. (This picture shows the result of just one coat). I used some white emulsion that I had left over from decorating and tinted it with a small amount of acrylic paint. You can also use acrylic paint on its own or if you wish some chalk paint... whichever you have to hand.
You will need to give the wood a second coat or even a third but between each coat lightly sand the surfaces to give a smooth and even finish.
Choose your images either from pictures you already have or from the internet where there is a wealth of free download images covering every topic. Print these out to a suitable size. (Tip: If your printer is not a LaserJet then once printed and dry, spray each side of the paper with hairspray to prevent the ink bleeding when they are stuck onto the wooden surface and covered with glue).
Cut out your images, arrange them on what will be the top of the press and stick down using 'Mod Podge' for Decoupage or if you wish to use PVA use a ratio of 3 to 1 with water. It's important that you stick them down with no air bubbles and as smooth as possible.
At this point if you wish to embellish the edges with a complementary acrylic colour then do so... I used Copper on mine.
I then positioned some pressed flowers that I had from an earlier project and stuck them down with more 'Mod Podge' subsequently covering the whole of them with this medium. Once again let it thoroughly dry.
Once dry cover the whole surface with a coat of 'Mod Podge'. Let this dry and give it further coats (I did mine four times). The glue must be dry in between coating and for a really smooth finish lightly sand in between coats.
To finish for a hard surface spray or paint with a water based varnish on all sides.
Cut three pieces of corrugated card to fit your press (Tip: I got mine from the local supermarket on the day they replenish their stock and had a large number of boxes going for free).
Now cut four pieces of blotting paper to a similar size to the corrugated card and layer two pieces between each pair of card pieces. (Note: The blotting paper can be sought from W H Smiths in packs of two measuring 444mm x 570mm thus giving you the four pieces if you choose to make the same sized press as mine).
All that is left is for you to assemble the press.
In case you are wondering what the washers are for, they sit on top of the top of the press over the screws to allow the wing nuts to turn effortlessly and to prevent them from burrowing into your varnish.
Mine is going to be used to press some flowers that I grow. I have a few craft projects I want to try!
I got the small crackled effect by using 'Mod Podge Outdoor Glue and Finish' over the surface. Then I varnished with Deco Art Dura Clear High Gloss (which I had already). This reacts with the outdoor Mod Podge forming the cracks. Once fully dry and starting to show the crackled effect I mixed some emulsion paint of the surface colour with the copper Acrylic and pushed it into the cracks with my finger over some areas and wiped off with a tissue.
If you would like large cracks, you can paint the wooden surface with a darker paint then use a lighter colour over the top. Once dry apply a commercially bought crackle glaze.