Making Prints from Nature

Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletin A-177


By Laura Donnelly Bethmann

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ebook (Digital original)


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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 6, 1997. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Since 1973, Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletins have offered practical, hands-on instructions designed to help readers master dozens of country living skills quickly and easily. There are now more than 170 titles in this series, and their remarkable popularity reflects the common desire of country and city dwellers alike to cultivate personal independence in everyday life.


The mission of Storey Publishing is to serve our customers by
publishing practical information that encourages
personal independence in harmony with the environment

Edited by Kristen Campainha and Aimee Poirier
Cover image by Kevin Kennefick
Cover design by Carol J. Jessop, Black Trout Design
Text illustrations by Alison Kolesar
Text production by Jennifer Jepson Smith

© 1997 by Storey Publishing, LLC

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Bethmann, Laura Donnelly, 1953–

Making prints from nature / Laura Donnelly Bethmann.

       p. cm.

ISBN 978-1-58017-013-0 (pbk.: alk. paper)

1. Plant prints. 2. Leaf prints. 3. Prints—Technique

I. Title.

NE953.B47       1997

769.434 — dc21


Introduction to Nature Printing

Nature printing is the process of recreating images from the natural world. It is a direct, inexpensive process that requires some practice, but no particular artistic talent. Little-changed from former times, this unsung, centuries-old technique has been practiced as an art, a craft, and an aid to scientific study. It yields unlimited possibilities, restricted only by the imagination and the subjects available to the individual practice.

Simple nature prints can be used to ornament correspondence, form herbariums, and illustrate nature journals and herbals. Nature printing is an art form that can be framed and displayed, but it is also a craft that can be used to decorate linens, wearables, walls, and furnishings. Moreover, nature printing is a science, as exhibited by the beautiful volumes created by herbalists, physicians, and botanists for identification or research from the 13th through the 19th centuries.

This bulletin focuses on methods and applications for plant printing, but keep in mind that there are nature printers producing prints of anything they can find: spider webs, rocks, shells, vegetables, feathers, woodgrain, fish, and other animals — including human beings!

Pressing Techniques

Good results in nature printing depend on well-pressed specimens. Folded, wrinkled leaves and petals produce poor nature prints. It’s very important to take the time to press your specimens carefully.

Use your judgment in adapting these pressing procedures. Practice will be your guide, as it is impossible to describe methods for pressing every kind of plant. Experimentation is half the fun!

Pressing Small Plants

The simplest way to press small specimens is with an old telephone directory. Here’s how to press multiple specimens all at the same time:

Printing Supplies and Equipment

Nature printers use some of the traditional tools and supplies of printmakers, painters, and craftspeople, but useful supplies can also be found in pharmacies, junkyards, or auto supply stores, or even lying around the house. Nature printing lends itself to most media, so if you already have art or craft supplies, you can probably make use of them in nature printing. It is easy to get carried away with wanting to try all the wonderful art products on the market, but that can be expensive. If you are unsure of where to begin, buy only the minimum printmaking supplies needed to experiment.



On Sale
Jan 6, 1997
Page Count
32 pages

Laura Donnelly Bethmann

Laura Donnelly Bethmann

About the Author

Laura Bethmann, author of Hand Printing from Nature, is an artist who exhibits her nature prints and watercolor paintings in galleries, museums, and alternative spaces. She has demonstrated her nature printing techniques in many venues, including Home and Garden Television, Lifetime Television, The Discovery Channel, and Good Housekeeping magazine. Bethmann teaches workshops for a variety of organizations, including art and craft centers, colleges, museums, botanical gardens, and garden clubs. She lives and works in her home studio in New Jersey. 

Learn more about this author