Have you ever squashed a sentimental flower into a heavy book, hoping to preserve its memory?

In an odd attempt to a capture disastrous evening, I squashed the rose that was presented to me at my junior prom by my sky-blue tux wearing date, in between the pages of a massive history book.

In truth, I never really understood how a flaky dull remnant of a flower, which seemed to leave a moldy imprint, would stir up any fond memory.

If this crushing flower sport has eluded you, don’t worry.

There is a new twist in flower art.

Here it is … painting and then pressing leaves or flowers onto paper is the new rage.

It’s no wonder that the crafty and not so crafty are flocking to this. You can make hand-made, silly easy, affordable art.

There no rules, you can work with any color that inspires you. I have a friend who is obsessed with using metallic paint on flowers and herbs that she plucked from her garden. She is cranking out some pretty amazing hand-made note cards.

These creations have inspired me to take a swing at pressing my own backyard botanicals.

leafLiving here in Sarasota Florida, I have plants with leaves so big they could be dinosaur treats.

The way I see it, using nature as your stamp offers up a couple of serious perks.

One – It’s like your plant is a massive free rubber stamp to play with.

Two – it looks like you know how to paint a perfect leaf, when in fact the leave is actually painting itself. So awesome.

There are only a few tips to consider when you start.

Pick a leaf or flower with lots of raised veining if you want a detailed print. I recommend painting the back of the leaf for a more dramatic effect.

That’s it, grab some paper and have at it. Try a few test smushes to see how much pressure and paint gives you a wow worthy image. Once you master a few lovable leaf prints, you may want to go big and work on one of those stretched canvas’s that they sell at Michaels.

Gotta go. If I start now, I may have a heap of canvases ready for Christmas.

The barefooted designer,