Step by Step DIY Plant Press
Plant presses are designed to dry and preserve specimens for identification. The preserved plants are later stored in an herbarium where they can be cataloged systematically for research purposes. KOPEL’s new plant press and herbarium will serve as a vital resource for conservation management and forest restoration plans. Tree species for each sampling plot and linked forest types will be easily referenced when deciding which trees to plant in designated reserves. The largest herbarium in the world is in The French National Museum of Natural History located in Paris which has a collection of eight million plant specimens!
Boards of equal size x2
Straps for cinching down the press x4
Corrugated cardboard cut to the size of your press x20
Herbarium acid-free paper x40
Acid-free mounting glue
The first step is finding two pieces of plywood and cutting them down to your preferred size. Sand it down well and decide if you would like to decorate it with paint or etching.
Think about whether you have something lying around that could be used for straps to cinch down the boards. We found broken life jackets that we were able to obtain the straps from. Use a few nails to secure them on the bottom side of the press.
You need at least 20 pieces of corrugated cardboard depending on the size of your press. We used closer to 60 sheets after cutting them to the proper size with a box knife. It is most efficient to create a couple templates for tracing and make an assembly line where you can stack one sheet of cardboard, followed by a piece of folded newspaper and another piece of cardboard.
After collecting the samples immediately place them on acid-free paper with any additional information between the sheets of newspaper. We include GPS points, species ID, tree measurements, leaf structure, etc. Continue repeating layers of newspaper and cardboard and place the final board on top before cinching down tightly. Monitor every 24 hours to check if the specimens are thoroughly dry. Once everything has dried what you do with the preserved plant material is up to you. A binder will be used to store all of our data and will be placed in a cool, dry environment. Happy pressing!