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Forum topic by BobTheFish posted 1100 days ago 526 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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BobTheFish

361 posts in 1183 days


1100 days ago

So, once again, I’m going to go back to this idea this year for some jewelry and bookmarks using pressed leaves.

Last year’s results were so-so, probably due to a few reasons.

The leaves I’ll be using will be pressed from last year, but will probably gather and collect more from this upcoming season as well.

I’ll be laminating veneer to brass, rather than copper, in the hopes of avoiding tarnish a little less (the pure copper, though cheaper, tends tarnish instantaneously with my skin oils), but my biggest concern is spray adhesives and their reaction to finishes.

Last year I tested a number of solutions for this project. I started off with clear plastic laminate, figuring it was the easiest and cheapest method, and it would work considering it was originally more of a paper craft than a “serious woodworking project”.

I was so wrong:

The laminate left gaps and air pockets where pressing wasn’t helping. I then moved on to a bit of a combination of PVA glues, which, when I didn’t have glue marks under the finish or breakage (brittle leaves remember), I had issues with the water based adhesive dissolving in a variety of finishes. I didn’t even want to attempt something like a contact cement or super glue (the two side nature of CC would have left my wood ugly, and it’s too thick and goopy. SG bonds to skin WAAAAAAY too easily)

Finishes were another problem. Traditional polyurethanes and brushable finishes were also too thick, though I had modest success with a spar varnish, however, the yellowing that is natural with these finishes left more than just a “mild yellowish glow” to the project. It downright changed the color tones I was getting and I didn’t get the vibrancy I was looking for.

In the end, I used super77 with modest results, and a bit of semigloss spray acrylic. (not enough time to find a store that carried the satin finishes in a pure clear finish, which is necessary, considering that any yellow or amber)

The pictures don’t really show how shiny the semigloss actually was, and a number of the pieces still had to be tossed out as “unsalvageable” due to curling of the leaves, or broken pieces, or uneven finish. I was content with about a 33% wastage.

And you thought this was a simple project, eh? ;)

The cardstock backing was also prone to warpage (it warped even when my wood didn’t, and the veneer actually bent to the grain of the card stock), so when I went on to pendant and earrings, I switched to the copper. Much better, but as I said, going with the twice as expensive yellow brass (70% copper /30% zinc at about $20 for 1.5 sq ft compared to $11 for 1.5 sq. ft. copper).

again, you can’t tell from the picture, but the semigloss is WAAAAY too shiny, and also, due to the glue coming undone around the edges, there’s a few air pockets as well.

I’ll probably go with a spray acrylic again, unless a suggested glue can be string enough to truly adhere and press down during this stage, which means it might be able to take a wipe on or brush on poly (or acrylic) finish (probably water based again, for the clearness of finish).

Any suggestions? Maybe we can get this wastage down to 10%.

Thanks. :)


1 reply so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5092 posts in 2343 days


#1 posted 1095 days ago

Instead of brass why not handle the copper with latex gloves (or nitrile if allergic to latex) or even cotton gloves like they use in libraries for the rare books? How are you pressing the leaves? I used to collect botanical samples and don’t recall having trouble with leaves being brittle unless they had been removed from the press for some time.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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