Mounting plants is a great hobby and having your own collection is a lot of fun. They also make beautiful, natural home decor. Beginning is easy and doesn't require much equipment or funds. More sophisticated supplies can make things easier, but definitely aren't necessary. It will take several days to complete the mount from beginning to end, but most of that time is waiting for the plant to dry completely.
Step 1: Gather the Materials You Will Need
You will need:
- A plant to mount.
- Two pieces of construction paper.
- Two pieces of cardboard.
- A heavy book.
- A piece of card stock large enough to fit your plant on.
- A label.
Step 2: Collect Your Plant Specimen
The first thing you will need is the plant you want to mount. Go on a hike, or into your backyard and find an interesting plant that you would like to add to your collection or hang on your wall. After you collect your specimen you don't want it to dry out before you prepare it properly. If it will be awhile before you can press your plant you will want to put it in a plastic bag to help keep it from drying out.
Step 3: Prepare Your Plant for Pressing
Put one piece of cardboard on a table or other hard, flat surface. Then place one of your pieces of construction paper on the cardboard. Place your plant specimen on the construction paper and carefully arrange it into the position you want it to end up in on your mount. Then put the other piece of construction paper on top of it followed by the other piece of cardboard.
Step 4: Press Your Plant
Put a heavy book on top of the cardboard. This will help the plant dry quickly and maintain its appearance.
Step 5: Dry Your Plant
The construction paper and cardboard are there to absorb the moisture from your plant so it will dry quickly. It is best to keep it in a dry warm room. The quicker the plant dries, the less likely it will shrivel up. It will take a few days for the plant to dry completely.
Step 6: Glue Your Plant to the Card Stock
Before gluing, position your plant of the piece of card stock. You want the plant to be centered on the paper, but also leave room in the bottom right-hand corner for the identification label. Once you have found the position you would like your plant to be in, you can begin gluing. For this you can use special botany paste or normal clear drying school glue. Don't use too much glue or it will form globs on your mount. Try using a cotton swab to carefully spread the glue onto the back side of the plant. Make sure to get a thin layer of glue on to all part you wish to stay in contact with the paper. It is often helpful to place a piece of wax paper over your plant and then place a heavy book on it to hold it in place while the glue dries.
Step 7: Identify Your Plant
Unless you just want the mount for a piece of art, you should identify the plant you collected. There are many resources online or at your local library for identifying your plant. If you can't identify it to its species, try to at least figure out its family or genus. This is an example of a helpful website for plant identification.
Step 8: Make a Label for Your Mount
Once you have identified your plant you can make a label for it. Templates for the label can be found online or you can make your own. Basic information about what it is, where it was collected, who collected it and when should be on the label. Labels vary, but if you plan on submitting your mount to a local herbarium you should check with them to find out what information they want on the label.
Step 9: Glue the Label to Your Mount
Glue the label to your plant mount. The traditional location for this in in the bottom right-hand corner of the mount, but you can put it on the back if you want to use it as a piece of art.
Step 10: Store Your Plant
Plant mounts should be stored in a dry, cool place. For a collection they are often grouped by species and placed in file folders. Insects will likely eat the mounts unless you store them with mothballs.
Step 11: All Done!
You can mount most any plant in the same way and enjoy adding to your collection or decorating your walls.