Flowers bring great joy and colour to our lives. In their natural setting they are a glorious symbol of the beauty and variety of nature. In our homes they bring light and colour to any room. Once blossomed and picked however, flowers have a regrettably limited lifespan but there is a way to extend their existence and the joy they give us by preserving them and using them for a whole range of decorative projects.
Flower pressing is an ancient skill and an incredibly easy one to master. The ways in which pressed flowers can be used for arts and crafts is limited only by our imagination.
Flower pressing also adds a new dimension to our appreciation of nature and to our daily lives as we become more aware of the flowers that grow in our gardens and in our local area and our eyes become attuned to seekng out new specimens to add to our collections.
Picking the Right Flowers
You can press almost any flower but it’s best to start off with smaller flowers to help you master the technique. The more delicate flowers can be among the most beautiful when pressed.
Freshness is the key. For beautiful pressed flowers, gather clean flowers free of spots or blemishes. Try collecting them on a sunny day when they are not wet from rain or dew. Look for flowers that are freshly bloomed. If you’re picking them from a garden, do so in the morning right after the dew has evaporated.
Don’t worry, if you don’t have time to start pressing them right away, simply place them in a freezer bag and store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh until you are ready to begin.
Paper to Use
To press flowers, you must dry them out as quickly as possible to prevent browning. There are a number of different types of paper you can use to accomplish this, such as ordinary newspaper, printer paper, flat cardboard or plain non-treated tissue. Things like kitchen towels are not ideal for drying small delicate flowers as the textured surface may end up imprinted on the petals, but it can be useful as an outer layer, outside the pressing paper, to help absorb the excess moisture from larger flowers.
By The Book
There are lots of techniques used for pressing flowers but doing it “by the book” is easily the most straight-forward and it utilises items you’ll have around the house. Choose the heaviest book you can find, such as a dictionary or phone book.
Note: There is a chance that the moisture from the flower may cause the book pages to wrinkle slightly so choose a book that you don’t mind damaging a little.
- Place the flower between two pieces of paper, and place them within the pages of the book. Depending on the size of the book, you can press multiple flowers at once. However, be sure to space them out so that the moisture from one flower doesn’t transfer to another.
- Close the book and weigh it down. You could use more books for this or something heavy like a brick. Be sure not to disturb the arrangement of the flowers upon closing.
- Leave undisturbed for seven to 10 days or longer if necessary. You will want to check to make sure all the moisture is gone and your flower is papery before removing.
- When removing, use a pair of tweezers, or very carefully use your fingers, as a completely dry flower is very delicate.
Using A Microwave
If you don’t have the patience to press your flowers the old fashioned way you can speed things up a lot by using your microwave. Here’s a little video tutorial that shows how.
Once you’ve mastered the art of pressing flowers why not embark on a craft project. You could use your pressed flowers to decorate special cards for family and friends, create beautiful art, or make a collection of “herbarium sheets” (a collection of preserved plant specimens) recording the plants growing in your area?
We really love this creative way of using your pressed flowers to decorate a plain candle.