Summery Pressed Seaweed Prints by

Issue 76 · Nautical Notes · June 14, 2013

Summery Pressed Seaweed Prints

Issue 76 · Nautical Notes · June 14, 2013

As a native Cape Codder, I've always been fond of seaweed. So when I recently ran across designer Karen Robertson's pressed seaweed DIY on Garden Design, I had to give it a try.

Above: Any project that starts with, "Step 1, head to the beach," is going to be a-okay with me. Here I employed my little helpers (Oliver and Solvi) to assist in finding seaweed specimens. We carried them home in a bucket of clean seawater.

Materials: For this project all you need is: seaweed, 140-lb water color paper, cardboard, weed cloth or other mesh fabric, an artist's brush, two pieces of wood, and something heavy to weigh the prints down. 

Above: After you gather specimens, place them in your sink or a white bucket filled with clean seawater.

Above: Fill another bucket with 2 inches of water. (I used the other half of my double sink.) Then slide a piece of watercolor paper into the tub and arrange the seaweed on top keeping both paper and seaweed submerged.

Above: Carefully lift the paper out of the water tilting it this way and that so the water drains away, but you still maintain your design (more or less). Then using a small brush, reposition the seaweed into the desired composition and brush away any unwanted bits of seaweed or sand. 

Above: Carefully place your arrangement on a piece of corrigated cardboard and then gently place a piece of mesh fabric on top. You can layer several prints this way.

Above: Place all your prints between the two flat boards and place something heavy on top, like a brick or your Introduction to World Art books. Wait several days depending on the relative dryness of your climate. A fan also helps.

Above: After several days, remove the weights and layers to reveal your prints. (If they are not yet dry, then it is fine to just put them back under the weight.) Using Google, I looked up the names of my specimens and wrote them in pencil.

Above: Two framed prints now grace my mantel. The most delicate specimens and simple compositions turned out to be my favorite.

Above: After trying this project, I do have one addition to Karen's tutorial: more translucent and delicate seaweeds make better (and less messy) prints. 

N.B. This project is also a great summer project for kids. For a kids' friendly homage to spring, see my DIY Leaf Prints.

Have an opinion? Care to comment? We'd love to hear what you have to say.