Nature,  Projects

Botanical Papers – Part 1

This project uses a humble office scanner and foraged natural materials to produce simple decorative papers with a wide range of uses.

As regular readers of Artful Adventures will know, one of my favourite creative tools is our home scanner. I love the way it is simple to use, and creates images which are somehow both 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional at the same time. This project is one of those which started off with us all experimenting with the effects we could get using natural materials on the scanner, as indeed we have in the past, but ended up with me continuing alone, to push some of those ideas further. This is a familiar pattern for me, and I’ve written before how I find the sheer fun and experimentation of ‘children’s’ art activities often inspire me to pursue new ideas and projects on my own.


So, although perhaps not a project for the kids as I’ve shown it here, the basic idea for these Botanical Papers, is in fact ridiculously simple and straightforward, in that you just lay your items on the scanner and scan away. As long as what you are using is fairly flat, you can use any material you like. I’d really have liked to do more with flowers and petals, but there weren’t many about, so I had to make do with leaves and foliage. It would also be fun to try this with autumn leaves I think.

To achieve the best effect, you do have to take a little care in how you arrange your plant material – I often ended up previewing and adjusting the arrangement several times before I was happy enough to scan it in properly. It’s also important to make sure that as far as possible, leaves aren’t folded or crushed against the scanner glass, and that you keep the scanner glass clean and blemish free.

I confess that once they were scanned in, I did ‘optimise’ the images by brightening them and correcting colour and contrast where necessary, but some didn’t need much at all, and I am a perfectionist!

I took my inspiration for these papers from botanical prints and sprigged muslins, and think they are perfect for wrapping small gifts. I also created some matching tags by cropping a detail out of the scanned image.

If you want to explore more Scanner Art, you might like the following:

Scanner Art

Forest Critters

Halloween Scanner Art

A Christmas Gift for You

Part 2 will  be coming soon, with more ideas!