Since I love nature so much often I like to be able to use some of nature from my own yard to create a variety of different things that can be used in different crafts. One thing I like to do as one of my hobbies is to make pressed flowers because you can use pressed flowers for a variety of different things. Pressed flowers are a way of preserving a certain moment in time as well. Pressed flowers are also ideal for framing, putting into a locket or use them for decorating handmade note cards or greeting cards.
Selecting the Right Flowers for Pressing
The first thing you need to do is go out in your garden and pick the right flowers for your project. It’s important that you make sure that all of the morning dew is gone off the flowers before you start picking your flowers. It’s best to pick flowers before they are ready to open up their buds or to pick them just before the bloom reaches it’s peak. If you are going to use your flowers for framed artwork sometimes it’s best then to use flowers picked at different stages so you will have a nicer design to be framed.
If you want the best results you should choose flowers that have really bright colors and then cut those flowers and take the stems and plunge them into water right after you cut them. You need to hold the stems under the water in your sink and then you should recut the stems making sure it’s at an angle so the water is absorbed better. Once this is done, put them in a vase with fresh water and some floral food.
Of course the flowers that are the easiest ones to press are ones that already have flat blooms like daisies, single petal roses, pansies and violets. You can also press different kinds of leaves and ferns to add color and texture. You can use roses and carnations as well and you can even use fruits and veggies however, these take longer and require a tad more attention when pressing.
Here’s what you will need for pressing flowers:
2. Blotting paper
3. Printer paper
4. Flat, coffee filters that are non-corrugated
5. Flat cardboard
6. Untreated facial tissue to help with drying up moisture
Avoid using paper towels because their texture might be imprinted into the flower petals.
There are different techniques that you can use to dry and press your flowers, all of them work and all of them are good techniques.
The Book Technique
This is the easiest technique of them all. Using a book requires no special kind of equipment other than some absorbent paper and a heavy book or even a phone book will do. The pigments of the flowers, stems and leaves might stain the paper so it should be a book you don’t care about.
When using this technique you can put the flowers, stems and leaves between two layers of paper that is absorbent and then put the heavy book on top of this. The other way is to simply put the flowers in the pages of the book leaving about 1/8 inch between any multiple pressings you might be doing. Next weigh down your book with a heavy item.
The Iron Technique
This technique like the book version starts with pressing your flowers between two pieces of paper that’s absorbent.
Once you’ve done that heat up your iron to a low setting. If it’s a steam iron don’t add water to it. Now take the flowers that’s in the paper and put a heavy book on it first to help flatten down the flowers. After you have done that take the warmed up iron and put it on top of the top sheet of paper for about 10 to 15 seconds. There is no need to make any gliding motions like when you iron. Wait for your paper to cool off for about 10 to 15 seconds and then repeat this process. You will want to carefully check the flowers to see if they are dry by lifting the paper gently. Once they are stiff and dry you can use your pressed flowers for your project.
The Microwave Technique
Whenever you use high heat on flowers you do have the chance of turning the flowers brown, however, if you are really in a hurry you can use your microwave to help speed up the flower drying process.
If you want the best results for this technique it’s a good idea to buy yourself a professional microwave flower press from a crafts store. Follow the directions of the flower press and then put the flower between two pieces of paper that’s absorbent and use 30 to 60 second zaps with the microwave, letting the plant cool off between the microwave usage.
If you don’t have a professional microwave press you can make your own by taking a couple of ceramic tiles you might have on hand, even ceramic coaster will do and then use some rubber bands in order to keep the tiles pressed together tightly. Put the flowers between two sheets of paper and then press them between the two tiles. Next you will heat for 30 to 60 seconds at a time making sure to let the flowers cool off before you repeat the process.
After the flowers are dried you will need to finish the total process with traditional air drying with a book or a heavy object. The flowers should be ready to use in a day or two if you use this technique.
I hope that you find these techniques helpful in pressing flowers and leaves to get them ready for your next craft project that requires dried and pressed flowers.