Making Microscope Slides

As the title of this page suggests, here I will be going through the entire process of making a permanently-mounted and stained microscope slide from the very beginning. By “the very beginning” I mean the choice of a plant from which to make microscope slides, for personal study, education, collection or the sheer pleasure of viewing details from within the inner-world of plants.

The plant selected may be growing wild, perhaps as a ‘weed’ such as a Dandelion for example, or a pot-plant kept at home, such as a Coleus maybe. Even dried plants, such as those collected for a herbarium collection (maybe pressed also) may have slides made from them if the material (the dried plant parts such as leaves etc) is treated appropriately and prepared correctly for processing.

It’ll be no surprise I’m sure to learn that slide-making for permanent slides is a complex and multi-stage process, that however is not to say that it’s an unduly difficult undertaking for the ‘home hobbyist’ – of which I’m one. I have no technical training whatsoever in this field, just a love of plants, a desire to study their secrets, and yes, a certain amount of determination!

All of the equipment that I use has been bought pre-used, via the internet. Many items are simply everyday bits and pieces found in most kitchens and cupboards containing ‘useful things’ that our houses these days have. As for chemicals and ‘reagents’, they too are available online to the private, amateur individual to buy. As I have no professional affiliation I buy all my equipment and chemicals as needed, on this basis.