I love making junk journals and all the bits of ephemera that goes into them, but one of my favourite things to make for them at the moment is faux specimen slides!
There are a lot of different ways to make them, but I find the easiest way is with a laminator… Although I will also show you some other things you can use if you haven’t got a laminator.
What You Need To Make Specimen Slides
- Card – I used 220gsm cream color
- Templates for slide shapes – I have some free for you to print out
- A laminator – I’ll show you alternatives if you haven’t got one
- Laminator sheets
- Scissors – or an electronic cutting machine (I have a Cricut maker)
- Something to put in the slide windows – I used dried flowers, paper butterflies and paper leaves.
- Glue – I used Art Glitter glue (t doesn’t have glitter in it)
- Labels to add design to the front – I have some free for you to print out
- Ink and stamps – or other ways to decorate the front
- Sewing machine – I did some decorative sewing, but this is optional
Free Specimen Slide Templates
When I made my specimen slides I did lots of different shapes, some were square and others were tag shaped.
I also did some with square windows and some with round windows.
I used my Cricut Maker to cut mine out, which works really well and saves a lot or time, but I know not everyone has a machine like this, so I designed some templates to print and cut out, which are available to download for free. You can find them by clicking on the the ‘Freebies Library’ tab in the menu at the top of this page, or click on the image below.
I find it easiest to cut out the shape and then use a craft knife to cut out the windows.
For each specimen slide, I cut out 2 of the templates as they are placed together to hold in the plastic window.
I use tea dye distress ink around all the edges, including around the slide window to give it an aged look.
How To Make Windows For Specimen Slides
I use a laminator to make mine, I place a laminator sheet on top of a piece of card, this is just to give it a bit of support (I don’t put the card through the laminator)
I buy these laminator pouches from Amazon and they work really well.
I arrange the dried flowers, leaves and butterflies onto the laminator sheet, making sure there is plenty of room in between them to cover the card around the edge of the window. (You can see how I do this on the video below, or you can watch it on YouTube HERE.
I put it through the laminator twice, just to make sure it is nice and flat, and then I cut around the laminated pieces and glue them onto the cardboard, making sure I have it centred.
How To Make Specimen Slides Without A Laminator
You can actually buy cold laminator pouches, which are self adhesive so you don’t need a machine to heat them up!
So you would make them in the same way, by laying all the bits between the 2 sheets and then peel the paper off the adhesive part and flatten it over your designs as you fold the top layer over.
These are great to have on hand and really do work well for making specimen slide windows… You can check them out on Amazon HERE.
I also tested out some clear packaging tape in the video, and it did work well, but the packaging tape I had wasn’t quite wide enough for the bigger windows, but worked great on the little mini one in the picture below.
As you can see, I added an eyelet and a bulb pin to turn it into a cute little dangly.
Sewing Around The Edges Of A Specimen Slide
I did straight stitching and some zigzag stitches to help hold it all together and to add a bit of detail, although the art glitter glue is really strong enough to hold it together if you don’t want to sew it.
If you wanted the stitching look, but don’t want to sew it, you could draw some stitch marks on instead.
It’s just a case of adding detail however you choose, I did some stamping on the front and back of mine, and I think they look great.
The final step was to add the labels and I stamped over the top of them to make them blend with the rest of the specimen card.
I’ve made some labels to share with you, which you can get for free in the Freebies Library at the top of the page.
I think they turned out fab and would look great in a botanicals junk journal!
If you are trying to choose a theme for your junk journal, I think you might find this article interesting… The Ultimate List Of Junk Journal Theme Ideas: With Prompts
If you want to watch the video of how I made mine, you can click HERE to watch it on YouTube, or click on the video below to watch it on here.
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