How-To: Dark Botanicals

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Always eager for a chance to show off our favorite plants, we've spent the spring devising new ways to display garden specimens, from glass cloches and garlands to pressed and framed flowers. Inspired by vintage apothecary artifacts and scientific specimens, Caitlin C. from our Westport store shared a popular new method for crafting dark botanical prints with remarkable depth and color, using only a standard office scanner and a bit of ingenuity. One look at these dusky, slightly mysterious pieces convinced us that we had to find out how they were made.

What You'll Need

Scanner (we used a 8.5" x 11" scanner)
Cuttings and flowers, sized to fit your scanner
Soft brush
Dark workspace

1. Choose your specimens. Any cuttings will work-- because the lid of the scanner doesn't need to be closed, your flowers don't have to be flat. We selected a mix of seasonal snips from the garden and some favorite blooms from our local flower shop. 

2. Rinse and dry your specimens carefully, removing all soil and water. Dry thoroughly and use a soft brush to make sure your specimens are clean. Stray particles of soil or water on the scanner will reflect light and cause imperfections in the scanned image.

3. Set up your scanner in a room that can be darkened as much as possible-- we suggest working at night or in a space with no windows that can be completely closed to natural light. Arrange your specimens as desired-- Caitlin advises mixing them up in unexpected ways, such as pairing foliage and blooms of separate specimens or leaving the roots of a bulb in-tact. 

4. Once the specimens are arranged, turn off all the lights and scan with the lid of the scanner open. The darker the workspace, the easier it will be to achieve a black background. (For a white background, choose flat or pressed specimens and scan with the lid of the scanner closed.)

5. Print, frame, and hang alone or in a group for the feel of a vintage wall garden indoors.

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1 Comment

  • deb said...

    What a neat idea. Need to try it when I get the time. Would make excellent gifts Thank for sharing *hugs8deb

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