Things You'll Need
- Newspapers or other protective covering
- Silica gel (optional)
- Large wooden picture frame (from the thrift shop)
- Plastic gloves
- Two-part clear epoxy resin
- Disposable measuring cups
- Disposable mixing cups
- Disposable mixing tools, such as wooden tongue depressors
- Disposable craft paintbrushes
Preserving flowers with two-part epoxy resin is a somewhat messy, but not difficult, procedure that produces striking results. Choose flowers that have tightly petaled blossoms, such as roses, chrysanthemums, tuberoses, gardenias, asters, carnations, marigolds or tulips, for best results. When you have coated several flowers, use them for a centerpiece display, in vases or as components in craft projects. Work with epoxy resin in a well-ventilated area and wear plastic gloves, as the resin is difficult to remove from skin and can be irritating.
Dry the flowers. You can do this by hanging them upside down with the stems attached to the top of the picture frame with push pins. For quicker results, submerge them in a container of silica gel for a few days.
Place old newspaper or another protective covering on your work surface. Epoxy resin bonds permanently to almost everything, so you need to avoid spills and drips directly on your counter or table.
Measure out exactly equal amounts of the resin and catalyst. Use disposable measuring cups, such as those used to dispense medication, marked in milliliters. Estimate how much of the mixture you will need for one or two flowers, as epoxy resin sets quickly and your work window is correspondingly short.
Pour the pre-measured resin and catalyst into a disposable mixing cup large enough to hold the liquid and a flower blossom. Scrape the sides of the measuring containers to make sure all of the material ends up in the cup. Mix the resin and catalyst thoroughly, then mix it some more. Unequal amounts of catalyst and resin or incomplete mixing will cause the resin not to set.
Dip the flower blossom with the stem attached into the epoxy, and hold it there for a few minutes so the epoxy gets between the petals. Lift the blossom out of the epoxy and transfer it to the picture frame, which is now set upright over newspaper or your other protective covering. Use a pushpin to hang the stem from the top of the frame. If you intend to keep the stem attached to the blossom, use a disposable paintbrush to cover the stem with epoxy.
Wipe away any drips that form as the epoxy sets. You have about five minutes before the epoxy becomes unworkable. Allow the resin to cure overnight.
Tanya Lee is a professional writer with more than 30 years experience. She has published extensively in the field of education and as a journalist, the latter in such publications as "High Country News" and "News from Indian Country." Lee holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.