Art and science meet in a plant press. Whether you want to include the interesting flora you find in your scientific journal, or make a beautiful handmade greeting card, a plant press is invaluable. They are very cheap and easy to make, too!


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Here’s what you need:


  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Belt buckle or large, strong rubber bands
  • Sheets of paper

 



Download Student Worksheet & Exercises


Here’s how you make it:


  1. Cut the cardboard into square pieces.
  2. Cut or fold the sheets of newspaper into squares the same size as the cardboard.
  3. Place 4 sheets of newspaper between each piece of cardboard. You can also use white copy paper.
  4. Place the plants you want to press in between the newspaper.
  5. If you want, you can sandwich the plant press with the wood planks for added pressure.
  6. Bind it tightly with the rubber bands or a belt buckle.
  7. Leave it in a dry place for two to four days.

How does it work? The pressure from the rubber band/string pushes the water from the plants. The water is then absorbed by the newspaper. Since the pressure is the key to the press, it’s important not to open the press for at least two days (more is better).


Troubleshooting: The press works by pushing the moisture out of the plants, so any way moisture can stay in (or get back in) to the plants will make the press less effective. First, storing the press in a dry place is essential. If the press is left in a moist area not only will in not work, but it will grow mold and ruin the press and the plants. Conversely, if the pressure is not great enough, the moisture will not be pressed out. Thus make sure that the plants fit in the press, are bound tightly, and that the press is stored in a dry area for at very least two days.


Exercises


  1. Draw and describe the functions of the following plant parts: root, stem.
  2. What two major processes happen at the leaf?
  3. Why are flowers necessary?
  4. Do all plants have roots, stems, leaves and flowers?

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