The materials for constructing this press can be found at home-supply stores. For best results, press plants at their freshest. To keep them moist, place small leaves in plastic bags with damp paper towels, for up to eight hours. Transport larger cuttings in garbage bags, also with damp paper towels.
Tools and Materials
- Router, fitted with a corner-round bit; wood file; or coarse sandpaper
- Two 4-by-6-foot sheets of 3/4-inch birch plywood (#165-921), by Keeper, at Home Depot
- 2 or 3 nylon band clamps (also called ratchet tie-downs) (#85543), by Keeper, at Home Depot
- Several 4-by-6-foot sheets of corrugated cardboard (#692092), officedepot.com or uline.com
- Sheets of printed or unprinted newsprint, uline.com
- Plant cuttings
How To Build a Plant Press
1. Prepare Plywood: Using the router, file, or sandpaper, round over the plywood sheets' edges so that the band clamps will slide easily.
2. Build Bottom of Press: Lay band clamps across the width of a large rectangular table. Place 1 plywood sheet on top.
3. Add Layers and Foliage: Put 1 sheet of cardboard on top of plywood; this will let air circulate around the plants. Then add a layer of newsprint. Carefully position the cuttings; you may need to adjust them to fit or trim a few stems with clippers.
4. Add More Layers and Foliage: Add another layer of newsprint. Top with cardboard, then more newsprint. Position a second layer of cuttings, creating as many layers in this order as you want.
5. Seal Press: Place the second sheet of plywood on top of the final piece of cardboard. Pull the straps of the band clamps tightly, ratcheting them in place. Let cuttings dry for about 2 weeks. You can check on them intermittently, but be careful: Before they dry completely, many leaves become as fragile as wet tissue paper.
6. Add Pressed Plants to Your Decor: Bring nature into your living spaces with one of our plant-pressing projects.