Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pressed Wildflower Bookmark Tutorial

I have had lot's of questions about this technique I use for my bookmarks, and also asked if I have a tutorial, well now I do.
I decided to put it all in one post for you and keep a link under "tutorials" on my side bar.

First let me say, this is a tutorial on " how I make my bookmarks", I do not claim in any way at all the wax paper and tissue technique as my own. As I have said in a previous post I found this technique in an article by Susan Hannen in the Spring 2008 issue of Somerset Life magazine. It really is a beautiful issue, I look at it over and over and never get tired of it.

Susan had found this technique in a 1950's Boy Scout handbook and then went on to fiddle with the recipe until she got it right. I have done the same thing, you may need to fiddle, or experiment with amounts of glue and water used to achieve the look you prefer.

Here are the products I use, 3 ply tissue, Aleene's tacky glue, and Reynolds wax paper which I purchase at the $1 , I hope you can find it at your dollar store too, I use wax paper all the time for working on when I am making a mess, and as a paint pallet, it's great stuff :)

The glue I have used just happened to be the brand I had at home when I first tried this, I am sure you can use any regular glue, but you will have to play with it and see how your brand works for you.

In the second stage of the bookmark I use these products, or gloss gel medium, depends what I feel like. Bits of fiber, and the ink for edging.

So let's get started. Combine a mixture of approx' 60% glue to 40% water. To be honest I just guess. You don't want it too watery and you don't want it too gluey either.
Mix it really well with an old brush. This is the one I use below just some old thing but the bristles are still soft.

For my bookmarks I use a piece of wax paper from the roll wide enough to make several at a time. Then position my pressed/dried flowers the way I want them.
You can add some fiber at this point too so it is under the glue mixture, or add it later with gel medium. I do it both ways.
I use the shinier or top side of the wax paper to lay my arrangement.
(Val has asked if freezer paper would work, but to be honest I have no idea. I have a feeling there would not be the waxiness in it, but let me know if you try it please :)

Grab a tissue from the box and separate it into 3 ply's, you are only going to use 1 ply. This part I find important because I tried using a 2 ply and I really didn't like the look, it wasn't as transparent.

Make sure you are not in a breezy room to do this, or have a fan blowing :)

Take your tissue and gently place over your arrangement. I hold a section of it lightly with a finger tip as I apply the solution to the tissue.
Dab it gently and not too much, don't over do it or the tissue with split open on you. I first do the section where the flowers are and they don't seem to move once that is done.
Then I work around the arrangement as shown below. I need enough to use as a bookmark so I cover a good area and then I will trim it later. I usually do a row of these so I can use up all the glue/water mixture.

Now you have to be patient and let it dry all day or overnight. Then it will look like this ....

Next step: If you are making a bookmark, cut out two pieces of white "watercolor paper" in the size you would like your bookmark. I am using 140lb cold press which is a heavy weight paper, and sturdy enough for bookmarks.

Using a metallic gold thread I now take it to the sewing machine and with one piece of the white watercolor paper I stitch the wax flower paper to it, around the edges.

Tidy up your threads and bring it back to your glue table :)

Turn over the piece you have stitched on and place some ribbon as shown below. Glue this to the paper and then glue your second piece of watercolor paper over top of this.

(Another option is to punch a hole in the bookmark when it is finished, then add ribbon. I do it both ways.)

Now I edge the back with the green ink and sign it if I remember. When that has dried which isn't long, turn it over the front again.

Now you can edge the front with the green ink too.
Don't forget these are just my steps, you can do whatever your little heart desires, use any ink, any thread etc etc, just do your thing :)

If you didn't add any fibers under the tissue, you can still do it now. Take a very teeny tiny amount and lay it where you like the look of it. I stick my little finger in the gel medium and rub it right on top of the bookmark. Make sure to let it dry well.
This is usually when I add "words" if I am going to, do it at the same time.

Now you have a pretty bookmark, which would make a lovely gift with a book or for a garden/nature lover, for anyone really, wouldn't you love one?

Here are two that I finished and put in plastic sleeves. I try to make them skinny enough to do this so it protects the bookmark, that way you can actually use it and not worry about it getting dirty, but sometimes the flowers I use are too wide for these plastic sleeves :)

I use a microwave flower press to dry my flowers and this is my wildflower series, but you can use whatever dries nicely for you, or has been in a flower press long enough to be dry.

Here are the links to my other posts featuring dried flower art....

Flower Art Continues

Flower Art and gifts from friends
Cut dried pressed and preserved
What are wildflowers anyway?
Microwave Flower Press

Hope you enjoyed my tutorial, and will show me what you have done with it :)
Lynn x