I am from Australia, but have been living in the UK for the past year. I have quite green fingers. I absolutely love nature and the beauty of Europe. Unfortunately I can not take seeds or cuttings back into my home country. Anybody that has traveled to Australia knows how strict our Customs and Quarantine laws are.
So while living in the UK country side I figured out a way around this problem. I decided to create some paper weights using the beautiful flowers of the UK.
Resin + Hardener (often sold together as Part A and Part B)
Round Silicone Mold
Flowers of your choice
Clear Spray Paint Lacquer
Plastic Disposable Cups
Digital Kitchen Scales
Step 1: Prepare Your Silicone Mold
Prepare your silicone mold by washing it lightly with detergent and then drying it with a lint free towel. It is very important that the mold is thoroughly dry and that you use a lint free towel such as a microfiber towel, to avoid any lint being stuck to the mold.
Step 2: Prepare Your Flowers
Depending on the flowers you use, depends on the preparation needed. In this case I have air dried my flowers for a week prior to doing this paper weight.
Many flowers will not need to be dried, however, thicker flowers will need to be. If this is the case, you can either air dry them. Or dry them in a bucket of silicone beads to draw all the moisture away.
After you have your flowers selected, you will need to spray them with clear lacquer spray paint. This is a key step in preserving the flowers colours. If you skip this step, all the flowers will turn yellow (which can still look beautiful). The only flower I advise not to do this to, it dandelions that have bloomed white, as your seedlings will fly away.
Step 3: Arrange Your Flowers and Prepare Your Surface.
Prepare your working surface by covering it in aluminum foil. Resin is very hard to remove if you spill it onto any surface. Why aluminum foil? Because it is a conductor and retains heat well.
I highly recommend arranging your flowers in the mold prior to mixing or pouring any resin. This way you can see how things will look.
Step 4: Mix Resin
Every resin is different and depending on the one you purchased, depends on the instructions you need to follow. Some resins follow a 1:1 ratio. Some follow a % ratio, and some go off their weight, while others go off ml. Depending on your resin purchased, also depends on who long your mixing time is. Most resins have a congealing time of 15minutes - 1 hour. This means you have to work fast!
This particular resin I used a was 1:1 ration based off weight. It had a congealing time of 15 minutes.
Measure out the amount of Part A (resin) into a cup on my kitchen scales. Then press tare on the kitchen scales and poured the same amount of Part B (hardener) into the cup.
Using a wide dentist stick, mix the resin and hardener thoroughly for approx 5 minutes while trying to avoid creating too many air bubbles.
Use a heat gun to remove any air bubbles before continuing on.
Step 5: Pour Resin
Pour your resin into the silicone mold.
You can either add flowers and pour resin or pour resin and then add flowers.
This particular cast, I added flowers first as I was adding quite a few flowers.
I recommend pouring the mold to the half way point, so you can see everything is covered evenly.
Add the top of the silicone mold and continue pouring the resin until it reaches the top.***
Gently use the heat gun to warm up the silicone to remove any air bubbles that may have formed again during the pouring process.
***NOTE: If you are using a small silicone mold you should be ok, however, if you are using a large silicone mold, I highly recommend at this point, to tape the top and bottom half of the mold together to avoid seepage from the middle seam. You should use at least 4 pieces of tape, taping over the top, and not around the seam.
Step 6: Leave to Dry
Leave your mold to dry in a safe place.
Again, depending on the resin you purchased, depends on how long you need to leave it to set. This particular resin was 10hours before de-molding.
Step 7: De-Mold
De-mold your botanical paper weight by carefully and gently pulling away at the seams of the 2 pieces of silicone mold.
Your beautiful paper weight is ready to use.
I often do half cups/ molds on purpose. This is for smaller paper weights and so that i am able to glue magnets on the back when I return to Australia. This will allow them to be used as fridge magnets as well.
I hope you enjoyed my little Instructable tutorial. Let me know in the comments what you thought of it.