Making a large-scale press from strips of wood allows maximum airflow through the press, which is key to drying large fleshy plant material. Narrow strips of wood are available in most home improvement stores in many sizes depending on your needs. This project can easily be increased in size, as desired.
7 pieces ¼" x 1 1/2" x 2' pre milled wood
5 pieces ¼" x 1 1/2" x 3'pre milled wood
6 to 8 pieces recycled cardboard cut into 2' x 3' rectangles, with corrugation running in the short width
6 to 8 pieces blotter paper cut into 2' x 3' rectangles
Old newspaper sheets
2 ratchet straps, at least 7' long
Staple gun loaded with ½ inch staples
Tips for pressing large, fleshy specimens:
- If plant material is particularly fleshy, put plant press in front of a fan, allowing air to blow through corrugated cardboard.
- Using foam in between layers of plant press will increase airflow and accommodate bulky plant materials like acorns or pinecones.
- Blotter paper will absorb moisture
- Press plant material immediately after collecting
1. Lay two 3' lengths of wood on work surface parallel to one another about 2' apart. Lay two 2' lengths of wood in opposite direction on top of 3' lengths to make a 2'x 3' rectangle. Put a dab of glue between wood strips at each corner. Attach further by putting two staples into each corner. Staple 45-degree angle to wood grain to avoid torquing.
2. Lay three, 3' lengths under 2' sides. Evenly space lengths while centering and squaring them to rectangle. Put a dab of glue under ends of each 3' length. Staple lengths in place, as above.
3. Lay five 2' lengths on top of 3' sides. Evenly space lengths while centering and squaring them to the rectangle. Put a dab of glue under each intersection of lengths and staple in place.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 to make the other side of plant press.
5. Layer paper and cardboard alternating one then the other in a stack. Put stack between two wood panels with 2' lengths facing inward. Lay plant material between a fold of newsprint, then between blotter papers then between corrugated cardboard in plant press. Tighten straps of plant press and allow specimen to dry.