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"What the hell is a Plant Press and what is it good for?" I hear you ask? Well... as the name suggests it is something used to flatten and dry plants in order to make herbaria. It can be simply for hobby use or one can use it for scientific studies.

Most of the Plant press designs on the internet consist of just two wooden boards clamped together with bolts or straps. I decided to try out something bit more challenging in terms of woodworking. I am quite glad how it turned out - let me know in the comments what you think! What do you think what else could be pressed with this contraption (books, cheese, tofu, tortilla?!?)

The idea for this build came when I was finishing my studies at university and had a floristics course. I had to make herbarium consisting of 20 different plants. As you might have guessed the main tool in making a herbarium was a plant press. I saw the press that my university had and thought to myself "This is a nice woodworking project to try out!". I just needed a reason to build one as I was certain that a press in my hands would not get too much use. The reason came when a colleague asked me to build one for her. As I was really excited (as always) and decided to build two and give one as a gift to my university. I plan on giving the other one to the university as well since the client got cold feet.

This plant press is a cool little project that can be built in a single day with not too complex tools. Follow me along as I give tips and show you how I built mine. Be sure to check out the YouTube video (will be added soon!) that I made and if you like my work be sure to leave a comment and subscribe!

If you this ´ible worthy be sure to give it a vote in the Woodworking Contest!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

For this build, you will only need

  • A wooden board with a thickness of around 2.5 cm or 1 inch. It should be big enough to make two sides out of. The size of the press depends entirely on how big you want it. As newspapers are mostly used to dry plants, I decided to make mine so that one entire sheet would fit with a bit of space left over. You can also use this wood for the supports of the shaft or use scrap wood as I did.
  • Wood for the shaft. This should be something you can easily turn. In the end, the shaft should be around 7-10 cm in diameter and just a bit wider than the width of the press. Alternatively, you could probably find a round wooden post that you can cut grooves in ( Although I think you could even get away without the grooves and just with a straight shaft.)
  • Something to turn the lever handle out of. I used firewood which worked well.
  • Metal rod with a diameter of around 1,5 cm and length of 30cm
  • Rope of your liking. Should be at least 5 mm in diameter. (1-2 meters)
  • Wood glue (and epoxy)
  • A few screws
  • Finish of your liking


In this ible´ you will see me use quite a few scary power tools, but know, that it is not a must. As the saying goes "The best tool is the one you have"!

You will need:

  • Something to cut the board to size. I used a table saw but a regular circular saw, jigsaw or hand saw would work as well.
  • Coping saw or jig saw or scroll saw or band saw
  • A lathe when you plan on turning the shaft yourself.
  • Handheld drill or drill press with drill and spade bits
  • Something to cut the metal rod with - angle grinder with a cut off disc or metal saw.
  • Something to sand with
  • Clamps

As I quite enjoy woodworking I decided to try out some advanced joinery rather than just glueing parts together. If you want to make a similar-looking plant press you will also need a router with a dovetail bit.

Interested in my depth gauge? See how I made it over here!

NickB3423 months ago
Nice job, but remember: A table saw is the most dangerous part in your workshop. Always use a blade guard correctly adjusted, and a PUSH STICK. One slip or kickback and your finger is off.
A GOOD push device will make running your saw more enjoyable, AND will cut down on kickback.

Obviously, you know what a splitter is, and that's gooder than good. They cut the kick backs down more than a bit significantly. Since using one and [going back three or four decades] push shoes, as opposed to push sticks (which I abhor), I have not had a kick back on my three horse cabinet saw. I was always able to knee the kill switch, if things felt wonky.

To give an idea of how great a fan of push shoes I am, check out the photo of the storage above my saw, where, if I forget to grab a push device, I can just reach up and ....

P.S. Thanks for the ible. I downloaded it.
Over Table Saw Storage-2.jpg
WoodPrix3 months ago
Beautiful work. I love this style. It looks really so adorable.
CraftAndu (author)  WoodPrix3 months ago
AlexH73 months ago
You forgot Step 0: put on your darn safety goggles.
Seriously, 30s into the video you're running the power tools with earmuffs but no safety goggles.
CraftAndu (author)  AlexH73 months ago
Can't really argue with that....
jessyratfink3 months ago
That is stunning! I've always wanted to make a wooden press. :D
CraftAndu (author)  jessyratfink3 months ago
Awesome, now you really have no excuse! ;)
This looks really nice! I like to press flowers, but I always put them in books and then forget they are there :P
CraftAndu (author)  Penolopy Bulnick3 months ago
Thanks! ;) Well, from time to time you have a good chance of getting a nice suprise when reading a book! :D
Kink Jarfold3 months ago
You, sir, are a true craftsman!
CraftAndu (author)  Kink Jarfold3 months ago
Many thanks!