Preserving Nature With Spray Paint ... Really!

115,233

134

56

Published

Introduction: Preserving Nature With Spray Paint ... Really!

About: ♫ Basking in sunshine ☼, creating new dishes... growing zucchini and swimming with fishes. Rattlesnake hunting the desert in Spring; these are are a few of my favorites things. When the wind flies, when the...

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! ;-)
 

Step 1: 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. 

Step 2: Dried Flowers and Weeds- Hidden Beauty Revealed.

The fun really begins when you start transforming/preserving plain old weeds and give them color! 

Collect every dried weed and flower that catches your fancy. Some are sturdy, some aren't.  lol... JUST PLUCK! 

I had no previous experience with preserving dandelions or their GIANT  5" cousins I encountered this year... I'm just sharing my trial and error technique. 

When you're spray painting dandelion-type seed pods, remember they are fragile.  Try to pluck them while their stem is still green. The spray paint will work like a fine mist of GLUE if you take it slow and easy.
  • Hold the nozzle of the spray paint can at least 8-10 inches away from the target.
  • Point the nozzle directly toward the CENTER of the target.
  • Spray in short bursts. Gently rotate the target, spraying over the entire surface.
  • DON'T overdo the first coat. BE PATIENT and allow it to dry completely before you apply a second coat.
  • 3-4 coats should keep the pods intact. Be sure to spray up the stem and onto the base where the seeds attach to the stem.
You can use ANY color spray paint. I used white, black, red, gold, silver, lavender, blue, pink and yellow spray paint. 

White spray paint seemed to accentuate the natural, 3D honeycomb appearance more dramatically than black.  

Yellow paint attracted tiny bugs like CrAzY!

Hummingbirds naturally gravitated toward the red.

As you play with the spray paint, you'll get more confident and start layering colors. It is so easy... and there are no mistakes.

HAVE FUN WITH THIS!  Who cares if you get some spray paint on your hands? A dab of acetone on a rag will clean them up in a jiffy! 
 

 

Step 3: So PRETTY!!!

The idea and inspiration for this instructable came out of nowhere... almost. ;-)

A few weeks ago I looked out my window at an unusually lush, green and colorful landscape and began gathering wildflowers to press.

Then Summer finally showed up and within a few days, that same landscape turned "tan".  Along with the tan, Mother Nature also added dozens of HUGE dandelion-type seed pods and other strange, furry plant creatures I'd never-ever noticed before.

Maybe I just wasn't looking all these years???  (Well... I'm looking now! ;-)

Instructables does that to a person. You start looking... then you start seeing... and imagining the possibilities.

I just grabbed my shears and started clipping whatever looked interesting. The variety of "subjects" was immensely varied and the whole process became a little addictive... to say the least! 

My apologies, but aside from a few Pansies,  I don't have a clue what flower or weed species are represented in this Instructable. Besides, you'll have different indigenous weed and flower species to choose from anyway.

I'm just SUPER excited to share the (MANY) pictures and the (FEW) simple spray paint techniques I used to preserve their beauty! No special skills or tools are needed.

I think you can glean a GAJILLION different ideas on how to present these spray paint-enhanced beauties.

Bouquets and Table centerpieces are just the beginning.

I've got a few ideas of my own... but I'm sure you knew that already! ;-D

Thank you for visiting my Instructable!

2nd Annual Krylon Summer Contest

Finalist in the
2nd Annual Krylon Summer Contest

Share

    Recommendations

    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge
    user

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.

    Tips

    Questions

    56 Comments

    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.

    1 reply

    I make faerie houses and sometimes use grape stems to make trees. I just let them dry out, but spraying them with the Krylon would certainly make them stronger.

    I recently inherited a family Bible over 100 years old. Inside I found an oak leaf that is intact - but is just the "skeleton" of the leaf. I want to preserve it and frame it. Obviously I only have one chance to get it right. Should I spray it with clear spay paint? Ideas? Options? Experiences?

    Do you need to spray with the clear coats before color coats . I live in the foothills and have access to so many different things that others may cosider weeds but once colred would be great on in a craft . Thank you for sharing your infornation .

    Were all of these created with Krylon? I have some much of that laying around. I was under the impression there was a paint made for flowers. and would you mind sharing some of your techniques for painting and drying?

    also, what are your thoughts on foliage sealer?

    I'm new to this and want to gather as much information as possible!

    :)

    Wondering if clear spray paint would work to preserve feathers as well...? Have any of y'all tried it before? Working on a good-sized project and would like it to last, especially since it's not one that can be kept in a dark, air-tight container to preserve the feathers.

    Thank you for this instructable. I will be using it to seal and electroform /gold plate real roses.

    Do the flowers have to be pressed orcan they just be flowers from, say, a bouquet?

    Can i use the clear coat Krylon to persevrve a floral arrangement and it not kill the blooms?

    1 reply

    Once cut from the plant, the blooms are already technically dead.

    Hang the flowers upside down to dry, then spray paint them as instructed. Many light coats are preferable to a couple heavy coats.

    Hope this helps… good luck!

    Can i persevere a bouquet of flowers by using the clear coat Krylon spray paint?

    Wonderful Instrucable. Do you think this would work on magnolia buds? They are bright pink right now and would make a great centerpiece.

    *。⋆♪ Hello ✿٭¨̮ ,
    Can you please tell me how hard they are after this? I would like to make hairpieces using this technique but I need the flowers to be strong enough to be tousled about in light winds and other conditions hair might endure?? I've looked at using poly resin (and expoxy but the pictures that come up in search have the same end look so I'm thinking the search is just relying on 'resin') but they look so thick, so glassy/acrylic like -SO FAKE. I would really like for my hair ornaments to look delicate and as natural as possible without crumpling away at my fingertips! Please let me know if this is suitable or if you know of another method which is. THANK YOU

    I bought some Krylon UV-Resistant Matte Clear Acrylic Coating. Just tested it out for the first time. Humidity is 47% and temp is 84F. I didn't have a way to hold my stuff down. I see now that is necessary. The air from the can kept trying to blow everything away. I tried spraying from further away. I ended up with a frosty look. Is this because I was spraying from too far away. Maybe also too hot?

    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"/

    1 reply

    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.

    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 ;)

    1 reply

    Wow... what a nice thing to say. ;-D

    Thank you so much danny!!!