DIY Pressed Leaves Pendant

DIY Pressed Leaves Pendant

Ever since I started following the prolific former-editor-in-chief of Elle Décor and House Beautiful, Marian McEvoy (@gustthepoodle) on Instagram, my feed has been flush with crafting inspiration like nobody’s business. And I’m not talking the Pinterest fodder you’re probably used to – her work is the perfect mixture of naïve, tramp-art inspired glue gunnery and real deal, Devil Wears Prada grand dame-ness.

Stocked at the Upper East Side design and antiques shop KRB, where eight of your grandma’s cut-glass goblets might set you back $600, McEvoy’s prices make sense. (Expect to spend between $1,000 and $3,000 for a two dimensional leaf collage, or $1,800 - $4,000 for a “corkillage” sculpture).

As a lowly interiors blogger (with a day job, granted), McEvoy’s collages aren’t a splurge I can quite justify, at least for now. But the sheer number of times I thought back to them over the next few months meant, inevitably, that I would end up trying my hand at a few of my own.

What I ended up with isn’t exactly a copy of Marian’s. She sources her flowers and leaves pre-pressed rather pressing them in books, meaning her materials are much more densely organized and diverse than what I was able to press myself over a few weekends. I also strayed away from the reflected symmetry she tends to use, knowing that the overall composition I’d planned – a pair of two teardrop-like pendants – would be symmetrical enough in itself.

Process shot: Anemones layered atop hellebore and geranium leaves for the large, and a mixture of geranium, fern, anemone and pansy for the mediums.

Process shot: Anemones layered atop hellebore and geranium leaves for the large, and a mixture of geranium, fern, anemone and pansy for the mediums.

For my backgrounds I used a goldenrod-colored paper to contrast the soft turquoise and brick walls in the room. The color meant that as the flowers inevitably faded over time, the pendants would at least retain some brilliance in their negative spaces. (This is another reason I’m wary of shelling out for the real thing, if my eight semesters of art school taught me one thing it was that nothing matters unless it’s archival.)

Surprisingly, the most difficult part of the entire experiment was finding beveled oval frames to match my vision of teardrops, which I’d planned to gradually increase in size towards the bottom. Apparently oval frames are out! It seemed like nobody wanted to stock them, and if they did they were wildly overpriced compared with their rectangular compatriots. After many weeks of digging, though, I was able to find three in small, medium and large - I just had to hand-cut mats for the smallest myself.

My final pressed flower collages, hung beside my growing oyster plate collection.

My final pressed flower collages, hung beside my growing oyster plate collection.

The next step was the really fun part - taking the leaves I’d pressed over the past few weeks and arranging them within the frames. I traced the shape of the frame’s inserts onto my yellow backing, and after cutting used a faint pencil to trace the area that would be visible inside the mat.

I’d experimented a bit with the glue to make sure it worked, and ultimately ended up with the age-old Tacky glue, ever a crafter’s best friend.

Once I’d arranged my flowers and glued them in place in their frames, I hung them on 2.75” wide satin ribbon, which I’d prepared by sewing d-rings at the proper height for mounting each frame.

I pierced the backs of each frame and twisted wire through the backing and through each prepared d-ring, so that held from a fourth d-ring at the top, the three frames hung nicely along the ribbon. (This took some pretty careful planning, I’ll admit.)

Once I’d strung each frame along the ribbon just as I liked them, I hung both pendants on the wall and sewed little 3-point bows out of the same turquoise ribbon to hide the hanging mechanism. Marian will approve - I hot glued those directly to the brick wall!

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