Pressing flowers and leaves is a great craft idea for anygardener, or anyone really. If you grow your own plants to press or take walksin the woods to collect samples, these delicate and beautiful specimens can bepreserved and turned into art objects.
Why Press Leaves and Flowers?
Pressing leaves, flowers, and entire plants is a time-testedcraft and art form. People have done this for centuries or longer to preservespecimens for study or medicine, to give as gifts, and to use in craftprojects.
Most people today who partake in flower and foliage pressingdo so for projects simply to preserve the beauty of spring, summer, and fall.During a long winter, these pretty pressed plants bring a little sunshine intoyour home.
How to Press Plants
Pressing plants is as easy as it sounds. You don’t even needa fancy flower press. Although if you plan to do a lot of pressing, you maywant one. They are useful tools but not necessary for the process.
First, choose the plants, leaves, or flowers to press. Youcan use literally anything, but some flowers work better than others. Yellowand orange blooms will hold their color the best, while blues, pinks, andpurples tend to fade. Red flowers turn brownish.
Smaller, less dense flowers are easiest to press. Think daisies,clematis,lobelia,pansies,feverfew,and QueenAnne’s lace.
To press bigger flowers, like rosesor peonies,remove some of the petals so you can flatten the bloom but maintain its overallappearance in two dimensions. Also, try pressing buds and all kinds of leaves.Pick specimens that are fresh but not wet with dew or rain.
If you are not using a flower press, you need a big book andsome weights. Place the plants between sheets of newspaper, which will helpabsorb moisture. Insert this between the sheets of a large book and, ifnecessary, add weighted objects on top of the book.
Using Pressed Plants
After about ten days to two weeks, you will have prettypressed plants that are dry and fully preserved. They are delicate, so handlecarefully, but otherwise you can use them in any kind of craft project. Ideasinclude:
- Arranging behind glass in a frame for a display
- Decorate a picture frame
- Set in wax when making candles
- Laminate to create bookmarks
With epoxy, you can use pressed flowers on just about anysurface for a lasting craftor art project as well.
What to do:
1. In a spot where you have permission to pick flowers, carefully pick a section from a plant. Try not to damage other flowers or take too many.
2. Open a book and line it with newspaper. Place your flowers (as flat as you can) on the page.В
Place the flowers you want to press on newspaper between the pages of a book
3. Carefully close the book and weight it down - additional heavy books work well as weights.
4. Store this pile in a warm, dry place and check on your flower specimens daily.
5. Once your flowers are dry, carefully remove them.
6. You can then create your own flower collection or make some beautiful art. Use glue to mount the pressed flowers on card.
7. If you are creating a collection or would like to record details about your flowers, add a label. The key information to note on a herbarium sheet is when and where it was collected, by whom and - if you know - what the flower is.
- Calendula (Calendula spp.)
- California poppies (Eschscholzia californica)
- Chocolate daisy (Berlandiera lyrata)
- Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
- Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
- Dahlias (Dahlia spp.)
- Delphiniums (Delphinium spp.)
- French marigolds (Tagetes spp.)
- Japanese anemone (Anemone japonica)
- Johnny-jump-ups (Viola tricolor)
- Larkspur (Consolida ajacis)
- Nicotiana (Nicotiana alata)
- Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
- Zinnias (Zinnia spp.)
7 Easy Ways to Press and Dry Flowers Perfectly
Jennifer is a full-time homesteader who started her journey in the foothills of North Carolina in 2010. Currently, she spends her days gardening, caring for her orchard and vineyard, raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. Jennifer is an avid canner who provides almost all food for her family needs. She enjoys working on DIY remodeling projects to bring beauty to her homestead in her spare times.
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Do you have flowers which hold special memories to you? Do you like to use your fresh cut flowers for art projects?
Whether your love is for all flowers you grow or flowers received for a special occasion, wouldn’t you like to have a way to preserve them?
Well, you can through two processes known as drying and pressing flowers. I’m going to share with you multiple ways to preserve your flowers.
Here’s how you can dry and press your flowers:
Collecting and Prepping Flowers to be Pressed
Flowers must be selected a specific way to prepare them for pressing. It makes the process much more manageable. You’ll begin by cutting any flower’s stem at an angle.
Be sure to get rid of any excess leaves on the stem you won’t need for the project. Clean any dirt remaining on the flower with a moist cloth.
Thicker flowers will need to be cut in half to make the pressing process easier and to avoid them from turning brown.
If you have any flowers which wilted, first stick them in a vase of water. When they come back to life, they’re ready for pressing.
However, if they remain wilted, go ahead and toss them. You don’t want to use wilted or browning flowers in your art projects.
Once your flowers are prepped in this way, you’re ready to choose which pressing method will work best for you.
Pressing Flowers in a Book
I’ve pressed flowers using this method since I was a little girl. I have fond memories of pressing fall leaves and spring flowers with my grandmother’s phone book.
Begin the process by placing parchment paper on a page of an open book. Be sure the book is a more substantial book, such as a phone book.
Place the flower on the parchment paper face down. If you have flat coffee filters, you can use them in the place of parchment paper. You need a paper which will absorb the moisture of the flower.
Add another sheet of parchment paper on top of the flower and close the book. If you’re concerned about the weight of the book, add more books on top to ensure the flower will be adequately pressed.
Leave the flower in the book for a week to a week and a half. You’ll know the pressing process is complete when there’s no moisture left in the flower, and it feels like tissue paper.
Pressing Flowers with an Iron
This next method is faster than pressing flowers in a phone book. Start the pressing process by placing the flower face down on a hard surface. Place a heavy book on top of it.
It will flatten the flower and make the drying process go smoother. While you’re waiting on the flower, heat the iron on low, dry heat.
Be sure you don’t turn the setting to steam. Steam will only add moisture and have the exact opposite effect of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Place a piece of paper on your ironing board, put the flattened flower on the paper, and add another layer of paper.
Next, place the iron on top of the flower for approximately ten seconds. Don’t move the iron around as though you’re ironing. Allow it to sit still on top of the flower.
Remove the iron when the ten seconds are up and allow the paper to cool off. Once the paper has cooled, apply the iron again for another ten seconds.
The process is complete when the flower has no remaining moisture and feels firm to the touch.
Pressing Flowers with a Press
You can purchase a flower press or create one with two pieces of wood. If you choose to build one out of wood, you’ll need to make two 9×12 rectangles.
Either way, you’ll lay the first rectangle of wood on a hard surface, add a layer of parchment paper, and place the flower face down.
When the flower has been placed, add another layer of paper, and the final layer of wood. You can either bolt the press together (if you purchased it) or screw each corner of the wood sandwich together with a C-clamp.
The paper in the press will have to be replaced every three to four days because of the amount of moisture it will remove from the flower.
Leave the flower in the press for a month. When the month is up, your flowers should be ready for use.
Drying Flowers in a Dehydrator
The goal of pressing flowers is to pull as much moisture from them as you can and flatten them for ornamental use.
Well, you can dry your flowers first and flatten them. Another way of drying your flowers is to use your dehydrator.
When the flowers have been prepped, placed them in your dehydrator. The secret to this is to make sure they’re spread out and not touching.
If your dehydrator has settings, you want to dry them around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the flowers in the dehydrator for approximately two hours.
However, if you’re only going to dry the flowers, they may require another hour or two in the dehydrator to remove all moisture. If you’re going to press them, the flowers can continue drying while going through the pressing process.
When most of the moisture has been removed from the flowers, pull them out of the dehydrator. From here, use the book method for another 48 hours to flatten them and ensure all moisture has been extracted.
Pressing Flowers in a Microwave
You can create your own flower press, or purchase a press meant to go in your microwave. If creating your own microwave-friendly flower press, place a ceramic tile on a flat surface. Add a piece of cardboard on top of the tile.
From there add a sheet of paper and the flower. When the flower is correctly placed, add another layer of paper, a piece of cardboard, and another ceramic tile.
Some people will recommend using books. The downside is if the books have any metal holding them together at all, you’ll have sparks flying in your microwave.
For this reason, it’s easier to use items you know are microwave-safe.
Place the flower in your microwave-safe press in the microwave, and microwave on low for approximately one minute.
Depending on your microwave, it may not take the full minute to do its job. Allow the flower to cool and put in the microwave again for another minute.
You’ll continue the cooling and heating process until the moisture in the flower has been extracted. Use the book method after this process for two days to ensure the flower finish drying.
Drying Flowers in an Oven
Our final method for drying and pressing flowers is in the oven. Begin the process by placing your oven on the lowest heat setting and allow it to preheat.
When the oven is ready, place the prepared flowers on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the oven but be sure to leave the oven door cracked. The open door will allow the moisture extracted from the flowers to evaporate.
Keep an eye on the flowers, but it’s common for them to need eight to twelve hours to remove most moisture from them.
It’s essential to remove a great deal of the moisture while in the oven, but it’s okay if they aren’t thoroughly dry if you’re going to press them.
If you’re only going to dry them, remove all moisture via the oven.
Remove the flowers from the oven w hen most of the moisture has been pulled from them. You’ll place them in a heavy book which has been lined with parchment paper.
Again, be sure to place the flower face down and add another sheet of parchment paper on top of the flower. This paper is there to help remove any remaining moisture from the flower.
Close the book and leave it alone for approximately 48 hours. When the flowers are fully pressed and dried, you can remove them from the book and use them as you see fit.
How to Dry Flowers Without Equipment
You have a special night such as prom night, a first date, or even a wedding, and you want to hang on to the flowers which came along with it. A sentimental and natural reaction.
But you don’t have any equipment to get the job done. The great news is, you don’t need it.
Instead, you remove any extra leaves from the stems of the flowers and attach each stem of the flower to a clothes hanger with string.
Be sure to hang the flowers upside down and in a room which gets plenty of air flow. Leave them be until the moisture has been removed.
When you feel the flowers are dry, you can store them in a keepsake box, or you can put the bouquet back together as it was to display it.
How to Store Dried or Pressed Flowers
If you’re not able to dry the prepared flowers immediately, it’s a good idea to place them in an airtight bag and refrigerate them until you can dry them. Doing this should help retain some freshness until you can begin drying them.
However, if you’ve dried flowers but aren’t ready to use them yet, store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them.
Keep in mind you can use a few of these processes to dry your flowers without pressing them. Dried flowers can be displayed around your home out of direct sunlight for a beautiful presentation as well.
If you’re going to display dried flowers, it’s important to dust them with care. A feather duster does a wonderful job of knocking the dust off the flowers without harming the flowers themselves.
The most significant difference between dried flowers and pressed flowers are dried flowers tend to show more signs of browning.
But it’s important to remember this can be a beautiful vintage look and a great way to hang on to a special memory as well.
Well, you now know how to press and dry flowers with multiple different methods. You have options of using fresh cut flowers for art projects or keeping a full bouquet intact for home décor.
Whatever your preference is, you don’t have to purchase specialized equipment to get the job done, and it isn’t a labor-intensive task either.
Hopefully, you can create many gorgeous pieces of art and save many memories by using these methods.
What To Do With Pressed Flowers
Now that you’ve pressed them, what should you use them for? Here are some of the most common ways to use pressed flowers:
- Glue them to a piece of paper and put them in a frame.
- Paint a canvas and add the pressed flowers to the wet paint.
- Make a decorative candle by glueing pressed flowers onto the outside of a plain one.
- Create a unique vase by attaching pressed flowers to the outside with mod podge.
As you can see, there are all sorts of ways that you can use pressed flowers. The key to making them turn out great is to make sure that the flowers you choose aren’t starting to wilt and that they are as fresh as possible. By utilizing one of the methods listed above you can easily press your flowers and use them as part of project that you can display around your home or give them as a gift to others.