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Decorating for Less

 I first ran this article in our newsletter from May of 2009. What’s awesome is I think the technique and designs are still relevant today. Make it your own and have fun with it!

Instant Art, Always in Bloom–

These DIY garden prints add a lot of charm for not a lot of money.

So, you’ve been eyeing (or eying-whichever you prefer) that set of framed botanical prints but just can’t swallow The Gerbera Daisythe price. Or perhaps you love plants, but 19th-century engravings clash with your style. We’ve discovered it’s surprisingly easy, and stylistically liberating, to produce stunning contemporary botanicals from your home computer. At left, a Gerbera daisy is transformed into a color graphic when copied as a transparency in a flatbed scanner.

Picture Perfect Blooms

To create your own botanical images, you’ll need a computer, flatbed scanner, and a willingness to experiment.

Begin by placing plants directly on the platen glass of your scanner. Plant juices will stain the underside Scanning the Imageof the scanner cover, so place a sheet of mounting board over the flowers before closing the cover. Don’t worry if you flatten the plants; part of the surprise is seeing them in two dimensions.

Dramatic Shapes

Overlap multiple flowers on the scanner or zoom in tightly for abstract effects.

HibiscusMost scanning software allows image adjustments. Play with the scan color, contrast, and brightness to create the most vibrant images. If your scanner includes a transparency adapter, you can shoot through translucent plants to reveal delicate veining and unseen detail.

Experiment With Greenery

Think outside the bloom.

Don’t limit yourself to only flowers. Greenery, such as ferns or plants scanned with the roots intact, Fernmakes for dramatic botanical studies.

Play With Patterns

Play around with different effects.Rose Petals

Create repeating patterns and color fields by scanning masses of flower petals or autumn leaves. A basic color scanner captured the velvet-like texture of these rose petals

Get in Close

Back it up.

TulipsYou can change the mood of your botanicals by using different backing boards. A black piece of card stock placed above this trio of tulips creates a striking background.

Frame your new prints.

Cut to Fit

Save your work by printing to a quality inkjet printer or writing to a disk for output Cut to Sizeat most photo finishers. The first step to displaying your work is centering the printed image in the glass provided in a frame. Trace around the glass, and cut the image with scissors. Install the trimmed image into the frame.

Bring the Garden Inside

Tips for Displaying Prints

Place your botanicals in a line on the wall or find a sunlit window where you can showcaseFramed Botanticals your favorites. Before you turn your flower scanner back into a document copier, remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning the platen glass.

By Rex Perry, Cottage Living