Preserving Nature with Spray Paint ... Really!

FeaturedContest Winner
Picture of Preserving Nature with Spray Paint ... Really!
Spray paint is one of the greatest beautifying and  time-saving mediums ever invented.

In the right hands, spray paint can turn an ugly-ducking dresser into an heirloom. It can transform  a sheet of poster board into a museum-quality masterpiece. It can even metamorphisize an ugly brick wall into a work of art that even Michaelangelo could admire.

What you might not know is that spray paint can also be used to preserve flowers and "weeds" into an eye-popping, show-stopping WOW FACTOR in any floral arrangement from centerpieces to bouquets.

Take a LOOK-SEE!

I know I'll never look at a "weed" the same way again... and I don't think you will either! ;-)
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Preserving pressed flowers:

Picture of Preserving pressed flowers:
When it comes to preserving book-pressed flowers, forget hairspray.  

It doesn't get easier, better, or more permanent than good quality clear spray paint.

Krylon makes a Triple-Thick Clear GLAZE that covers beautifully in a single coat.* 

I always try to leave the stem on the flowers I dry because it makes them easier to handle. When that isn't possible, a toothpick can be attached to the dried flower with just a tiny dab of white glue if there's no stem.

A gentle burst of clear spray paint is all you need to preserve your pressed flowers. 

They need to dry thoroughly after being coated with spray paint.  I use bowls filled with sand to stand the stems/toothpicks in.

You can also use sand-in-a-fancy-dish to make  a pretty flower centerpiece!

*lol... Before you think (or say) I'm just plugging a Krylon product because they're the sponsors, check out the picture of MY can. It's 4 or 5 years old and it still sprays perfectly. 
1-40 of 43Next »

I've been weighing my options on how to use weeds to make model railroad trees for quite some time. Like any other dead plant, they fall apart on their own eventually without a fixative. I looked at Design Master paints, but they're hard to find except online and even then are expensive. I'm going to give this a try with the Krylon matte clear (UV resistant variant possibly), and then regular cheap flat green and brown sprays for the color.

tatts.veetee5 months ago

Will this by default kill a dangerous insect that you intend to preseve? Like say a hornet or something? Ive been looking for a way to preserve an insect without pouring a casting resin...I dont want it preseved in a "block"/

Not nearly fast enough to kill, only preserve. Your best bet it to catch the insect in a small jar with a cottonball soaked in isopropyl alcohol inside. The alcohol asphyxiates the insect without damaging it, then you can mount it with a straight pin and spray it with the fixative.

dannydraait3 years ago
There are no mistakes... Only happy accidents... haha...

I just loooove your idea, they look almost like flowers from another, undiscovered, strange planet. I am definitely gonna put some use in it.
Thanks ;)
bajablue (author)  dannydraait3 years ago
Wow... what a nice thing to say. ;-D

Thank you so much danny!!!
lsophie3 years ago
This is beautiful! Thank you!
bajablue (author)  lsophie3 years ago
flyingpuppy3 years ago
Is that a regular dandelion? I have a field of them! Oooh, and I could preserve the napweed too!!! My brain is working overtime here on things I could do with weeds!
And btw, congrats on being a finalist! I'm proud to be in there with you!
bajablue (author)  flyingpuppy3 years ago
No puppy... It's not a regular dandelion, but I'm sure they must be related. Some of these are 5+ inches.

I could send you some seeds to grow! hmmm... I wonder if that would be illegal?

lol... High-five to you, my fellow finalist!!! I love your amazing project... best of luck, too!

albeem bajablue3 years ago
It is a yellow Goatsbeard grows by railroad tracks here, is really hard to grow, it was my father's favorite flower, and he used Krylon to preserve it too! He was an engineer and I think he loved the geometry of the weed.
bajablue (author)  albeem3 years ago
By golly... you are spot-on, albeem!!!

Thanks so MUCH for the info!!!

bajablue (author)  flyingpuppy3 years ago
Hey puppy... I just found a regular Dandelion yesterday.

It was already SO white, spray painted it with the Krylon clear.

Here is a picture with the dandelion next to the GIGANTELION. ;-)
artfulann3 years ago
Nice! I especially liked your comments about noticing things- maybe they had been there before? Doesn't matter because you noticed them NOW.
bajablue (author)  artfulann3 years ago
Thanks artfulann! This has been such a strange year, weather-wise.

Maybe I really did miss some of these incredible flowers/weeds before. The total absence of Indian Paintbrush flowers isn't at all normal.

We had a wasp infiltration in late April but they have all vanished now.

In their place, this species of strange-looking Beetles (with furry antennae) have made their debut.
You could also paint insects like this beetle as well. Maybe make some beetles into golden scarabs? Or just make them really shiny and more durable.
bajablue (author)  adamjoe863 years ago
adamjoe... what a GREAT idea you've had!

I glued the beetle to a toothpick... the first installment of...

The Golden Scarab.
Where did you find a scarab? Love their coloring! And they symbolize resurrection.
Scarab Beetles are just a family of beetles (Scarabaeidae). It includes cratures like Japanese Beetles, May/June Beetles, and the Ten-lined June Beetle (like bajablue found) . It works with other insects and relatives.
bajablue (author)  adamjoe863 years ago
Thanks adamjoe! I didn't know that some beetles are scientifically known as scarabs.

I just thought "scarabs" were something mythical... like from the Mummy movie! 8-)
bajablue (author)  flyingpuppy3 years ago
Thanks for the info, puppy! You gave me the right word... "scarab"... to identify this little guy!

He's a Ten-lined June (Scarab) Beetle common to the West Coast. What they are doing here in Idaho, in August , is a mystery to me!

Beautiful creature, though. He has the cutest little face... like a tiny bat.

Looks like I've got myself another spray paint preservation project! ;-D

bajablue (author)  adamjoe863 years ago
wow... I saved the dead beetle I found... that's a great idea!!!

Except for spiders... i hate 'em. 8-/

Thank you for the inspiration!!!
I understand completely. In Texas, if you were to look at the weather drought map, the whole state is in red (extremely dry). It is so dry that trees are dying perceptively whereas usually they die on the sly with somewhat dry conditions. But since we are 20 inches of rain below normal, the drought is somewhat newsworthy.

We had very little paintbrush this year too. I'm afraid this is what global warming might look like.
bajablue (author)  artfulann3 years ago
Here is the same "flower" with a few additions. ;-)
Okay, why have I never thought of this? Beautiful instructable. Thanks for sharing! I'll be collecting wild flowers now just so I can try this. :)
bajablue (author)  supersoftdrink3 years ago
Hey there, supersoftdrink... thanks so much for such kind words!
sunshiine3 years ago
Lovely!!!!!!!!!! Weeds are amazing!
bajablue (author)  sunshiine3 years ago
lol... I know... I've never seen ANYTHING like this before!
What are those things in the middle?

Very very pretty and unique idea!!
bajablue (author)  NYnitwit3 years ago
Here is the same "flower" with a few additions. ;-)
Oh, now that is super pretty!
bajablue (author)  NYnitwit3 years ago
Thanks... it's a giant Golden Magical Dandelion. Glad you like it! ;-)
bajablue (author)  NYnitwit3 years ago
lol... the inner beatle-thingys are actually spray painted split peas. ;-)

Thanks for your nice comment!
flyingpuppy3 years ago
Does that preserve the color as well? I like this method!
bajablue (author)  flyingpuppy3 years ago
Hey puppy... Time will tell... Pressed flowers are so fickle! ;-)
susanrm3 years ago
This is amazing. Great photos. How well do the colors stand the test of time?
bajablue (author)  susanrm3 years ago
ugh... "pressed flowers using clear spray paint." 8-)
Wait, what? Is this in reply to something I said? The Pinterest referrals are from me, by the way.
bajablue (author)  susanrm3 years ago
No. I was just finishing my unfinished sentence below-->

"The pressed flowers us? Only time will tell. I found that they aren't as fragile when coated with SP instead of hairspray."

bajablue (author)  susanrm3 years ago
Thanks susan!

The dried flowers/weeds should hold onto the spray paint color fine.

The pressed flowers us? Only time will tell. I found that they aren't as fragile when coated with SP instead of hairspray.
ehudwill3 years ago
My kids would love this! Keep up the good work.
1-40 of 43Next »