Techniques to Embed Flowers in Resin

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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.

Results:

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.

Results:

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.

Results:

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.

Results:

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.

Result:

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.

Results:

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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    9 Discussions

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    Yoruk

    2 months ago

    Great drying ideas; never though of using hair spray to fix the shape. Thanks for posting !

    To get the air bubbles out you can use a gas torch, heat gun, or some models of home hair dryers!

    Very nice documentation of the various processes - like a true scientist! :)

    What a great idea! May have to take this to Girl Scout Camp. One tip- I think what you are calling common daisy is known as an aster in Ohio.

    1 reply

    Nice idea. As for the name, this was the most difficult one to name. Even in Switzerland there are several different names for them. And we also have flowers called Aster, but they are purple. So botany is difficult ;-)

    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!

    1 reply
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    Laral

    4 months ago

    I made this many years ago, not knowing what I was doing. I pressed the leaf between pages of a book first. It has lasted all these years without fading.

    IMG_7387_PS.jpg

    I was also trying to make something like this for the casting contest, but it didn't really work. so i changed the plan. You will see it soon. anyways thank you for this amazing and clear instructions!