Introduction: Techniques to Embed Flowers in Resin
Who wouldn't like to carry a piece of spring around during the whole year? But how to do that?
Resin is a great way to preserve different things. So it is the first choice for embedding flowers. But of course there are different techniques to get the perfect result. Here are different methods how to do that (and how not to).
I took an almost scientific approach to the different methods. So it's more an instructable for the method than the end result.
Step 1: Get the Flowers and Leaves
I headed out for a quick walk through the garden and the field nearby to find different flowers and leaves for my newest project. So I came home with this bunch.
Lilacs: purple colored flowers in a cluster
Cherry blossoms: very delicate blossoms
Common Daisies: tiny flowers with very thin petals
Japanese maple: lovely deep red maple leaves
Buttercups: glossy flowers in bright yellow
Daisies: the classic in white and yellow
Step 2: Techniques 1 : Basics of Using Resin
All resins are a two part system, consisting of the base resin and the hardener. When mixed, a chemical reaction occurs where they go cure and harden. The drying time can highly vary from 12 to 48 hours, so does time you are able to work with it and viscosity.
The mixing ratio and evenly mixing of the two parts is the vital part of using resin. If you use too much of one part and not enough of the other, which can either lead to a casting that’s brittle, or a cast that doesn’t fully set and remains sticky. Pouring the mixture from one container into an other helps with the mixing of the two parts.
Then you need a mold of the piece you’re planning on casting to pour the resin into. That can be a plastic or silicone mold for resin, a silicone mold that was originally meant for baking, or even a mold you made yourself! Silicone is always a good choice, because the resin won't stick to it and it's flexible enough to get the final product out of the mold.
When the resin is poured into the mold, the embedded object needs to be moved around a bit, to prevent air bubbles underneath the object. Small bubbles in the resin can be popped with a small blow torch or a lighter.
Finding the right resin for your purpose is really process of try and error. They also not all react the same way with natural material. Some really discolor the flowers so you end up with a ugly green something and others won't change with the colors of the flowers at all..
Step 3: Techniques 2 : Press Drying
Press drying is a very old and good technique to perserve flowers and and leaves.
Basically you put the flowers in between two sheets of a napkin or an other absorbing material. Put the napkin inside a heavy book and place said book under more books. Then forget about it for any amount of time between 5 days and several years. If you use this technique since you were a kid, you would be surprised what you find while looking through old books. ;-)
Pro: very easy to do, the flowers dry without rotting, losing color and shrinking
Con: everything will be flat, the flowers and leaves get quite fragile
Step 4: Techniques 3 : Sealing With Glue
To prevent the resin from reacting with the flowers they need a protectiv sealing. A simple way to do that is by covering the flowers and leaves with a layer of clear drying glue.
Just add some water to the glue and mix evenly. To cover the flowers you eighter dunk them into the glue mixture or use a soft brush to paint the mixture on both sides.
Some flowers like the buttercups and the leaves already have water repellant qualities and the glue won't stick to it, but the back still needs a sealing.
Pro: easy to do,pieces stay (more or less) in their natural 3D shape, keeps the flowers and leaves from crumbling if you want to cut them into a certain shape
Con: drying time, some flowers already loose colors because of the glue
Step 5: Techniques 4 : Sealing With Hairspray
An other way to prevent the resin from reacting with the flowers is to seal them with hairspray. Alternatively you could also use any other lacquer spray.
Just spray several thin layers of hairspray on both sides. Just make sure to place them on a non sticky surface.
Pro: easy to do, fast drying, pieces stay in their natural 3D shape
Con: needs several layers, very sticky in the beginning
Step 6: Method 1: Fresh
The easiest method. Just put the fresh flowers into the silicone mold and pour the well mixed resin over them.
Lilacs: the resin discolorated the petals and turned them into a grayish-brown color
Cherry blossoms: the delicate petals shrunk a bit
Common Daisies: the petals have gotten a bit transparent
Japanese maple: the thinner parts curled a bit
Buttercups: some of the pollen seeped into the resin
Daisies: petals have gotten a bit transparent but less than the common daisies
Step 7: Method 2 : Fresh Sealed With Glue
Cover the flowers on both sides with a glue-water-mixture and let it dry comletely. Then put them into the silicone molds and pour the resin over them.
Lilacs: The glue turned the flowers brown. The moisture of the flowers turned the glue white again, while the resin cured.
Cherry blossoms: The glue turned the petals a little gray, but they stayed in good shape
Common Daisies: The thin petals kept sticking together. The moisture of the flowers turned the glue white again, while the resin cured.
Japanese maple: The thinner parts still curled a bit
Buttercups: The glossy petals repelled the glue, so it just pooled in the center.
Daisies: The glue discolored the petals into a greenish tone. The moisture of the flowers turned the glue white again, while the resin cured.
Step 8: Method 3 : Fresh Sealed With Hairspray
Fast and easy. Cover both sides with several layers of hairspray and let it dry. Then put them into the silicone molds and pour the resin over them.
Lilacs: the spray and the resin discolored the flowers into an ugly brown blob
Cherry blossoms: petals get a bit transparent and tend to fold an stick together
Common Daisies: petals stick together and turn greenish
Japanese maple: the leaf turns a bit transparent
Buttercups: the petals crumpled a bit
Daisies: petals turned a bit transparent
Step 9: Method 4 : Dryed
After drying the flowers for several days they are dry, flat but still kept their colors. Just put them into the silicone molds and pour the resin over them.
Lilacs: color stayed the same, but lost the volume
Cherry blossoms: gets very fragile and difficult to handle
Common Daisies: petals have gotten very thin
Japanese maple: looks very nice
Buttercups: flat but nice
Daisies: looks very nice
Step 10: Method 5 : Dry Sealed With Glue
The dried flowers get covered with a layer of a glue-water-mixture. After they dried, put them into the silicone molds and pour the resin over them.
Lilacs: the glue discolored parts of the flowers
Cherry blossoms: the petals crumpled and stuck together
Common Daisies: the petals stuck together
Japanese maple: looks fine
Buttercups: petals crumpled a bit
Daisies: looks fine
Step 11: Method 6 : Dry Sealed With Hairspray
The dried flowers are covered with several layers of hairspray. When dry, the are put into the silicone molds andpoured over with resin.
Lilacs: the spray discolored the flowers a bit
Cherry blossoms: the petals turned a bit transparent an shrunk
Common Daisies: the petals stuck together
Japanese maple: looks fine
Buttercups: looks fine
Daisies: looks fine
Step 12: Best Methods for Each Flower
So here are the best methods for each type of flower.
Take note: this may vary a lot with different types of resin, some might require some type of sealing or the flower will be discolored.
Lilacs: Best and only real method that worked with the lovely purple color was the simple dry method
Cherry blossoms: nothing worked as I would have liked, but the best was the fresh sealed with glue method
Common Daisies: the only thing that let the daisy stay in the best shape was the fresh method
Japanese maple: every method worked quite well, but the best result was with the dry method
Buttercups: quite uncomplicated flower, but the best method was the dry method
Daisies: glue and spray changed the colors of the petals, so the best version was the dry method
Now you can drill a hole into them to make a pendant, key chain, crib mobile... or just use them as table decoration.
I hope you liked this Instructable an can take some useful information out of it for your next project. Which I would like to hear about
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You can use kitty ltiier to dry flowers in the microwave. Pour some into a bowl gently press the stem into the litter than slowly sift the litter over the flower making sure to support the petals. Once the flower is fully submerged pop it in the microwave for three to five minutes. Leave the flower under the litter for at least 24 hours. Flowers come out dried in 3D!
Sounds interesting. I will try that, thanks.