A few years ago I had an idea to use dried flower petals on a canvas to make life like flowers on a painting. I spent month collecting flower petals from wild flowers, roses, and from the garden. I spent more months dying and pressing the flowers. Once I had the petals, my vision could come to fruition. After making my painting I still had left over flower petals. I saved them for when I had another idea.
I came up with using them on a wood canvas and wood burning images onto the wood. I used the flower petals and colored pencils to bring color to the pyrography of the wood.
In this Instructable I will show you how to use flower petals to make a world map. I hope you can get the creative bug and come up with your own awesome flower designs!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Wood Burner
- Sand Paper
- Paint Brushes
- Printer Paper
- Carbon Paper
- Pencil Sharpener
- Wax Paper
- Paper Towels
- Dye or Food Coloring
- Dried Flower Petals
- Colored Pencils
- Mod Podge
- Wood Stain
- Spray Enamel Gloss
- Wall Fasteners
Step 2: Collect, Dye, and Dry Flower Petals
- Collect your flower petals
- Flower petals can come from a variety of different flowers; wild, from your garden, or store bought.
- You can chose to keep the natural color of the petal, or choose to dye them. Just know that some natural colors won't keep their bright hue after drying.
- I like to dry them both ways.
- I also like to dry a variety of different types of flower petals. I have dried rose petals, daisy petals, lily petals, gladiolas petals, along with any good wild flower petals I can find.
- Dye your flower petals
- There are a few different ways to dye flower petals, and only certain petals will take dye.
- First start with light colored petals that don't have a lot of natural pigment. White is the best.
- Then pick your dye. I have had success dying petals with both dylon fabric dye and food coloring.
- Wearing gloves, mix your dye in a container you don't care to get ruined with warm water. Stir thoroughly until all dye is saturated into the container. It does NOT take a lot of dye.
- Choose how you want to dye the petals. You may either pull the petals from the flower and totally submerge them in the dye solution, or you can place the flower stems in the dye solution.
- Total submersion will dye the whole petal in a rich dark pigment vs. allowing them to soak up the pigment from the stem will result in a light color petal showing the dye in the veins of the petals.
- Wait a few days for both methods before you take them out to dry.
- Take them out and place the petals on a paper plate and allow them to dry a little bit. They will be a little soggy.
- Press your petals to dry
- I like to press my petals between either parchment paper or wax paper.
- Gently lay your petals on the paper. Keep in mind that however you lay them will be how the turn out flattened and dried.
- Place another sheet of paper on top of the petals. Cover paper with a paper towel to absorb extra moisture.
- Continue to layer the paper, petals, and paper towels until you have run out of petals.
- Then place your petal layers on a flat surface where they can be left undisturbed and put something flat and heavy on top like a book.
- Allow your petals to dry for weeks. After two weeks check your petals to see if they are dry. If they are dry they should be very fragile and easy to break. If they aren't, then they need to continue to dry until they get to this stage.
- Store your petals
- Once your petals are fully dry, remove them from the paper and store them in an airtight container. I like to keep mine color coded in Ziploc baggies stored in a larger Ziploc bag.
- If your petals are kept dry, they will keep for years and years.
- I like to regularly dye and dry petals for projects for later use. I have petals in my collection that are over 5 years old and they are still as colorful and brilliant as when I first dried them.
- They also continue to smell fantastic!!!
Step 3: Prep Wood and Trace Design
- Pick the type of wood you would like to use and prepare it
- Be aware that hard woods take longer to wood burn on, and some softer woods like pine have a lot of sap that can get in the way of burning.
- I used an oak piece from Lowes that was already edge glued and pieced together. I have also used pine on other projects. You don't have to use lumber that is edge glued, you can use one solid piece, however I like the extra character the different edge glued pieces give.
- Cut your lumber to your desired size. If you don't have tools to cut lumber, most stores will cut the lumber for you at little to no charge.
- Sand your piece until the surface is smooth. I typically like to sand to a 320 grit.
- If you are fortunate enough to have a power sander use that, but you can use elbow grease and hand sand your piece too (just remember to sand with the grain).
- Pick your design to wood burn
- For this project I picked a world map. I have made other designs including a butterfly and tortoise. You can really pick any design you want that can be colored in like a coloring book.
- You will need to make adjustments for the design to fit the size of your wood. I typically just do this in a program on my computer.
- If the design is bigger than a sheet of computer paper you will need to tape the pieces together once the entire design is printed.
- Trace your design to the wood
- I use old fashioned carbon paper to trace the design to the wood. You can get carbon paper at any office supply store and some box stores that sell office supplies.
- Lay the carbon paper carbon side down facing the wood. You will need multiple sheets if your design is larger that 11 x 8.5.
- Lay your paper design on top of the carbon paper and tape it to the wood. Taping it to the wood makes sure the design wont move while you are tracing it.
- Use a pen with a good point to trace over your design. A good ball point pen works great. I like to use a red pen so I can see where I have traced over already.
- The image will transfer from the carbon paper onto the wood.
Step 4: Woodburn Outline of Design
- Wood burn the outline of your design
- Using a wood burning tool and a tip you feel comfortable using, burn over the carbon paper lines transferred to the wood.
- If you have never wood burned before, use some scrap wood to practice. It is a slow process and you will have to move the burner slower than you would a pen or pencil. Also remember that you can't easily erase what you have burned.
- Be safe while burning you can burn your hands. I like to wrap a wet paper towel around the handle as I hold it, it keeps my fingers from getting too hot.
- I would not recommend allowing children near any wood burner.
Step 5: Select Colors and Petal Shapes
- Pick your colors
- Pick the petals and colors you think will look best inside each space.
- Then find the colored pencil that closely matches the color of the petal.
- Begin coloring in each country with the color you have chosen. It is easiest to color with the grain.
- Make sure when coloring close to the burned lines to have a nicely sharpened pencil to stay inside the lines.
- Prismacolor or any other nice soft leaded colored pencil does a great job with coverage over the wood.
Step 6: Glue Flowers to Wood
- Glue your flowers
- After you have colored all the countries, practice arranging your petals where you want them to go in each country.
- Then using a paint brush and mod podge, lightly brush the mod podge on the back side of each petal.
- Gently place the petal where you want it and using your fingers press the petal onto the wood.
- Continue until all your flower petals have been glued.
- Mod Podge your flowers
- To keep the dye in the petals from bleeding you need to lightly paint a coat of mod podge over the petals.
- Only paint over the flowers, and try to go from light colors to dark colors because the dye will bleed into the mod podge and onto the paint brush.
Step 7: Stain Wood and Spray Finish
- Stain your wood
- Pick your wood stain color. I like ipswich pine. Make sure your stain is stirred, because all the pigment will fall to the bottom of the can.
- Use a fine paint brush to stain around the designs.
- Apply the stain about 1/4 of an inch away from the wood burned lines. Then gently paint it over to the line. Do this around all the designs.
- Then using a cloth apply stain to the remaining bare wood and on the edges.
- Dry for 24 hours.
- Apply spray finish
- Take your project outside or in a well ventilated area and spray a clear gloss enamel on it.
- Wait a few hours and apply another coat.
- Repeat how ever many times until you feel the petals are properly sealed and the artwork has a nice shine.
- Dry for another 24 hours.
Step 8: Connect Fasteners to Hang Your Work
- If you would like to hang your work on a wall, make sure to connect sturdy fasteners to the back of your work.
- Hang it on nails that are in the studs of the wall. The art work is very heavy being made of wood, and even heavier if you choose to use hard wood.
Step 9: Enjoy Your Work
Once you are all done, admire your work, try new designs, and find other ways to use your pressed flower petals!
First Prize in the