Herbal Crafts - Make Bookmarks
Are you looking for a fun crafts project involving herbs? Think, laminated bookmarks.
Here at the Ornate Bird Garden you will need a small lamination kit. Mine, a Bestech Laminator, I bought for maybe ten or fifteen dollars at OfficeMax or Staples. It comes with different sizes of lamination pouches so you can laminate luggage-tags or photos. I used one 6.5-inch by 4-inch lamination pouch cut in half on the vertical so I ended up with two 6.5-inch by 2-inch strips that are standard bookmark size.
So, first you pick your herb leaves or flowers. Consider what will work best. You want to stay away from three-dimensional stems and flowers like daisies with thick centers. Your best bet is a flat leaf like mint or sage, or single petals such as rose-petals that will dry flat.
Pick your leaves and flowers in the heat of the day when the morning dew has burned off, and they’re bone-dry. Then, if you’re a traditionalist, you could dry your herb leaves either in a flower-press or between sheets of wax-paper under a heavy stack of books. You’ll have to wait two to four weeks for your herbs to dry.
But why wait? I dry mine in the microwave oven. You can actually buy a microwavable plant-press if you plan on doing this a lot. To start, I put my two mint leaves, a sage leaf, and an orange flower from a sun-star plant between two sheets of wax-paper. Then I put the wax paper between two small wooden stakes, and used rubberbands to press the stakes tightly together.
(You can get these stakes for something like five bucks per bundle of fifty at your local garden center – very handy if you’re landscaping or defending yourself against neighborhood vampires.)
Then I microwaved the herbs once on medium for 60 seconds. I took my press apart and let everything cool. Then I repeated the process once more. Done – in under five minutes.
My first photo shows you my plant press made from wooden stakes and rubberbands. I’ve put my watch into the photo to give you some perspective: this press isn’t very big at all. The second photo shows you the finished bookmark.
(One thing I would do differently next time: I’d cut the 60 seconds down to 30 seconds, and maybe adjust the microwave setting to low. You can probably see in the photograph that I really nuked the poor flower though the leaves were hardier and came through just fine.)
Now, with your dried herb leaves in hand, you get to the fun part where you can customize the look of the bookmark. You can get trim pretty cardstock to the right size, glue your leaves upon it, and laminate that for added structure. Or you could just laminate the leaves inside the lamination pouch, which is what I did for a simple, semi-translucent look. You could also add small typed labels next to your leaves to identify them by common- or Latin-name.
Whatever you decide to do, try to leave a quarter-inch of space around the edges of your lamination pouch. You don’t want part of the leaf to stretch to the very edge and keep the pouch from sealing.
Warm up your lamination machine (it takes maybe 15 minutes), and put your lamination pouch on through. In the next instant, you have your bookmark. This can make a pretty gift for yourself or someone you know who likes to read. It could also help you preserve unusual leaves in a three-ring binder if you ever want to put together a wildcrafting field guide!
If you’re looking to further your knowledge of the art of pressed flowers/leaves, the following books may be of interest. The Klutz Press one makes a great all-in-one gift to get kids interested in botanical crafts. These books are available at Amazon through these links: