Pressing plants at home is an easy activity and a fun way to learn more about the plants in your yard or neighborhood. This guide will show you how to mount your plant specimens.
- Pressed plant specimens
- White glue (Elmer’s school glue or similar)
- Jar with water
- Paint brush
- Paper plate and/or scratch paper
- Heavy paper for mounting specimen onto
- Forceps/tweezers (optional)
- Ink pen or pencil
Set Up Your Work Area
Fill a jar with some water, pour some glue onto the paper plate or scratch paper. Have your heavy paper for mounting the specimen onto in front of you. Have your pressed plant specimen on a scratch piece of paper next to it.
When collecting plants for a scientific collection, we collect as many parts of a plant as possible – stem, leaves, flowers, roots – as these aid with the identification process and can inform future study of the specimen.
Applying Glue To Your Specimen
Dip your brush into the water and then use your brush to gently pull out some of the glue, applying water a little at a time to thin the glue out and load it into your brush.
Decide which side of your plant you want to show, this will be the front side. Flip your plant so that the front side is face down. With your paint brush, gently paint the glue to the back side of your plant. Apply an even coat of glue on all parts of the plant.
Position Your Specimen
Gently lift your plant with your fingers or forceps and lay it glue-side down onto your mounting sheet. Gently pat the plant down onto the mounting sheet.
Let The Plant Dry
You can label the sheet with the plant name (common and/or scientific), who collected it, the date collected, and location collected.
Paint the mounting sheet beforehand, use several plant specimens to create a design, or make notecards.
Watch Dawn, our senior director of collections, walk through the process in this episode of Curious By Nature.