• By Rita M. Ford

The pressed plant art «Mermaid». From the beginning to the end.

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

The seafloor. Colorful seaweeds are growing on the seafloor. Different creatures of Marin life as fish, Jellyfish and others. A beautiful Mermaid is looking to the top.
The Pressed Plant Art "Mermaid".

What kind of hair a mermaid would have? They could be green. In this case, I do have exactly what I need – green slime from my pond.

Green slime in the water in the bowl standing on the piece of paper with watercolor.
Green slime in the water in the bowl.

Using that slime I can "draw" mermaid's hair. Sometimes I get inspired by special nature's material.

And now I would like to create a picture with a mermaid, where I can use green slime. I want to make mermaid curiously looking above


I would like to use the following materials:

stamens of daylilies;

plums of pampas grass, which are dried, then firstly bleached and secondly colored with food color in pink, yellow and green color;


thin round circles from the stem of water lily;

the skin of onions in red and light brown color;

flowers of fuchsia, clover, pansies, wisteria.

Pressed under press dried botanical materials and pieces of real shells.
Pressed under press dried botanical materials and pieces of real shells.

I am sketching my future picture.

The sketch for the Pressed Plant Art “Mermaid”.
The sketch for the Pressed Plant Art “Mermaid”.

I am going to use the watercolor paper for my background under the sea scene. I am tracing the contours of the size of my picture on the watercolor paper. Then start an experiment on the separate piece of paper with watercolor paint.

A watercolor paper. Brushes and watercolor paints lying on the watercolor paper with watercolor.
A watercolor paper. Brushes and watercolor paints.

After that, I put some watercolor paints on my paper.

Background for the Pressed Plant Art “Mermaid”. A watercolor paper with different tints of Turquoise watercolor paint on it.
Background for the Pressed Plant Art “Mermaid”.

Here is very important to me that the color must be darker on the bottom of my picture. Little spots of the light on the water

I plan to put on the top of my drawing. I imitate it by wiping little spots of the wet paint using some tissue paper. I let the paint dry.

I am printing a few copies from my sketch. On one of the copies, I cut out mermaid's figure and place it on the desired place of my picture.

I trace it using a pencil.

The figure of Mermaid made of paper lying on the background.
The figure of Mermaid made of paper on the background.

Using toothpicks, I give some depth to my picture. I will make a couple of plans - front and further one. I will start

with the further one. All featured objects will be placed on the watercolor sketch.

Taking from the pond slime resting in the bowl with water. If you take it out and put on the paper, cloth or something else and let it dry it will stick permanently on the surface. There is no need for glue. You can shape it as you want, spreading on the paper. While it's wet it is pliable. The figure of the mermaid is already drawn. My task now is to "draw "mermaid's hair on the background of the watercolor sketch. I take toothpicks in both of my hands and pick small pieces pf slime from the water forming the shape of the hair.

The green slime on the background of Pressed Plant Art “Mermaid” is Imitating the green heir of Mermaid.
The green slime on the background of Pressed Plant Art “Mermaid” is Imitating the green heir of Mermaid.

Meanwhile, I carefully gluing other pieces of my picture on the background. I take 3 light blue flowers of Wisteria and glue them on my picture. They remind m jellyfish. The petals of Coreopsis will be small fish. Pink colored plums of Pampas grass will be seeing grass. Real dark green seaweed from the lake will be what they are - seaweed. Using one of the sketch copies I make fin /tale/.

I glue red onion shell over cutout detail from the printed copy. After the glue is dry I cut out detail of the fin repeating exactly traced details on the paper base. I position it and glue on contour made before on watercolor sketch. I finished the background of my picture.

Turquoise color organza cloth is lying on the watercolor paper with watercolor.Pressed dried botanical materials glued on the watercolor paper with watercolor.

I cut a piece of turquoise color organza cloth a little bigger than my picture. I iron cloth before gluing it on the sides of my picture.

I use a cotton swab to put glue on the sides no more than ¼”. There is no need for extra glue. I put organza very carefully (face up) on my picture and leave it to dry. Now the base of my picture is done.

I will need 4 copies of my sketch for completing all necessary details of mermaid's figure: bottom, top, 2 different details of her left arm, face. And now I think which detail will be covering another one. I am shading details by color pencil. I use glass to draw the contour of detail on the opposite side of the paper.

4 copies of my sketch for completing all necessary details of mermaid's figure for Pressed Plant Art: bottom, top, 2 different details of her left arm, face.

It is time "to color" details by plant materials. For skin imitation, I have prepared petals of Southern Magnolia. Huge white petals become skin color of different shades from light to dark after drying in the press "Microfleur". I glue magnolia petals on details: "top of the body", "arm" from 2 parts and "face". I put the paper with glued to them magnolia petals under press between newspaper pages. After its dry I only have to cut out details, using contour from the reverse side.

For "fishtail" detail I am going to use dried red onion skin, but in two conditions: just dry onion skin and confetti made from it. I have chosen this on purpose. I wanted fishtail to be shiny and the inside side of onion skin is shiny. I use a hole punch to make confetti.

A hole punch and dried red onion skin are lying on the blue paper.

Confetti will represent scales on the fishtail of Mermaid. Firstly, I glue pieces of onion skin on the fishtail from the bottom and then I start gluing confetti from onion skin. It is not hard. But the good light area is necessary because we need to see, where the shiny side is.

I use cotton swabs and toothpicks. First, I put some glue on a small part of the detail. Then I take a tiny amount of glue on the tip of a toothpick, touch shiny side of the confetti that way, so it sticks to the toothpick and then I put it when I need it on detail. Using the clean side of the toothpick, I can move the confetti where I want on the detail. And using dry cotton swab I can press tightly one confetti to the detail.

I put glue gradually with the expectation of one-row confetti. I start from the bottom of the fishtail and moving up. I glue onion confetti overlap, I mean on top of the previously glued confetti.

Toothpick, cotton swab, confetti made of red onion skin, a detail of figure of Mermaid for Pressed Plant Art are lying on the blue paper.

Confetti has different shades. Besides that, this plant material is shiny. As a result, I’ve got a surface with a very interesting texture on the fishtail, iridescent under different angles of view.

The detail “fishtail” I place under press between newspaper sheets to look tidy after drying.

I will have to do jewelry work with the detail "face", using particles of plants of tiny size. I’ll use onion seeds, clover flower, seaweed, water lily petals.

Tiny onion seeds have dark dots on the white surface. It reminds me of some eyes. I can even do it so that the glance will be directed where I need it.

I do a mermaid, not quite a human, that is why I’ve decided to do her green eyelashes from particles suitable shape, taken from a clover flower. Maroon particles of the same clover flower are suitable to do the eyebrows. The shape of the eyes I’ll do from the finest dark green hairs, taken from the seaweed. And pink lips for the mermaid I’ll do from part of the narrow water lily petals. The place, where I need to glue all the components of the detail "face" is defined very easily - through.

I’m holding the detail "face" against the window in the daytime and “drawing” with a toothpick and glue on the eye line, eyebrows, lips. Then I’m placing the detail “face” on a table and putting the prepared plant material on it. To make sure, that everything is in their right places, I’m checking one more time on a gleam and if it is necessary I’m moving plant materials, were they supposed to be. I’m sticking mermaid’s lashes in the last place. To look lashes more natural I’m gluing them on both sides of the detail “face”: on the front and on the backsides. My jewelry work with the detail "face" is done.

It's time to put all the prepared parts into a single figure of the mermaid. I’m doing this by putting them on one of the sketch copies. I need to check if everything is okay. After making sure, that everything is good I’m beginning to glue the parts together in the sequence: "face" should be on top of the "neck" and "hand" and "fishtail" over the top of the "body", and all together should be within the outline of the shape on the copy of the sketch.

I must wait until the glue will completely dry not to shift anything and only after that I can attach the figure of the mermaid to the place, indicated on the picture with a pencil. I need to add more heir for mermaid now. I'm going to do them from a very dark green, almost black seaweeds. This color seaweeds from the lake acquired after drying them in the press “Microfleur” in the microwave.

I’m forming the mermaid’s strands of hair, sticking seaweeds on the picture. One fuchsia flower with petals of red and purple color I’m using as the mermaid’s "head decoration". I’m doing "air bubbles" above the mermaid from the rings, sliced and dried from the stem of the water lily.

Now I can add inhabitants of the seas to the foreground of the picture. I’m placing a flock of fish, made of coreopsis petals in front of the mermaid. I’m creating on the picture other species of the fish, using petals of coreopsis and pansies. I’m simulating the shine of scales, using mica flakes of some seashells and fish’s eyes, using minute amounts of ground coffee together with a microscopic drop of glue.

I’m using very small size pansy petals to create fins of such small size fish. I’m adding to the foreground of the picture jellyfish from Wisteria flowers.

I’m adding “seaweeds” from plums of pampas grass, colored in different colors. It took time to get them. First, I cut pampas grass plums and dried them on air. They became a light beige color after that. Then I bleached them and color change on cream. After that, I colored plums with food colors.

I’m gluing one branch of dark-green color seaweed.

I’m creating "jellyfish", which looks big because it is placed on the front of my picture. I’m creating a "jellyfish", which is placed on the front of the picture, that is why it looks large. To create it I needed: shiny inner side of light brown onion skin; petals of white crape myrtle flowers; stamens of daylilies.

I’m done with my art. The trustworthy plant materials were used for creating this pressed plant art.

I give my picture enough time to dry completely, then I’m packing it between aluminum foil and glass, fastened on the sides with sticky aluminum tape. This packing will protect the art from such destructive factors as air, moisture, physical impact, dust.

After that, I’m putting the art in the frame. The size of the art is 14” X 11” (35,7сm X 28сm).

Ready framed  Pressed Plant Art "Mermaid". The seafloor. Turquoise seawater. Different creatures from marine life. Colorful sea plants.

Here is my video "Fairies and Mermaids on pictures" on YouTube.

Pressed Plant Arts are HERE and HERE

Real butterflies in shadow boxes are HERE

Resin pieces of jewelry are HERE

27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All