After stints as a stylist for Vogue Living Australia and Blueprint and editor of craft assignments at Martha Stewart Living, Shane Powers has culled from his years of experience this beautiful new tome that teaches you how to create decorative moments in your home, inspired by nature’s bounty. We love that Powers has provided an in-depth yet easily digestible breakdown of the tools, essentials, plant care, and step-by-step instructions for more than 20 awe-inspiring projects. Here are a few of our favorites that we can’t wait to try for ourselves:
Mushroom Spore Prints
1. Use a knife to remove the stem of the mushroom as near to its base as possible. Be careful not to damage the gills in the process.
2. Place the cap, gills-side down, onto a piece of paper. You may wish to print the image of one mushroom or several at a time.
3. Cover the mushroom cap with a bowl so that it won’t be disturbed. Some mushrooms might produce prints in a few hours, but for best results leave the mushroom undisturbed overnight.
4. Remove the bowl; then, with a gentle, steady motion, remove the mushroom cap. Allow the paper to dry flat for a few hours before hanging.
Flowering Branch Wall Art
1. For this project you’ll need dried flower heads and a backyard branch. Look for a branch you can imagine hanging on your wall; a central vertical line with two lines branching off is ideal, but you can trim what you find to size.
2. Working outside, lay down tarp or newspaper. Place the branch on top, and spray-paint it a matte bone white according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it is completely covered. Let dry for about 30 minutes.
3. Snip the dried flower heads from the stems.
4. Lay the branch flat on your work space. Apply a dot of glue for each flower head to spots on the ends of the twigs where blooms would naturally appear and in a few places along the branches; apply the dried flowers till you have a nice, full “blooming” look.
5. Tie a loop of waxed twine for hanging where it can rest under a branching point, about 6 to 8 inches up from the bottom of the stem. Waxed twine has a grip to it that will help hold it in place on the branch once the loop is placed over a nail. Hammer a nail into the wall and install.
Floating Pressed Botanicals
1. Press fresh-cut specimens (or skip this step and use prepressed botanicals). Pick your flowers and leaves at their freshest, and blot with paper towels to dry any moisture before pressing. Give some thought to how the foliage will look when flattened, then place the plants between two sheets of blank newsprint and insert between the pages of a heavy book. Weigh the book down with other heavy books and leave undisturbed for a couple of weeks until the specimens have dried completely.
2. Use a lint-free cloth and window cleaner to clean both sides of the glass panels in which you’ll be displaying the pressed botanicals.
3. Select the pressed botanicals to display. Create arrangements using multiples of a single plant type or a variety of plants in different frames to keep the look modern and create a graphic composition.
4. Position the specimens on one pane of glass as desired. Let the shape of the botanicals inspire you; experiment with random placement.
5. Once you have arranged the specimens, use a brush to apply a few very small dots of craft glue to secure the botanicals to one pane of glass. Let dry for about 2 hours.
6. Top with the second pane, then connect the two together with binder clips or friction tape.
For the full list of materials, plant-care tips, and Powers’s styling suggestions for these projects and many more, visit Chronicle Books to purchase Bringing the Outdoors In.