Pressing flowers, leaves and grasses is easy and fun, follow some simple steps to get the best results, and then enjoy making pictures, cards and bookmarks. Pressing flowers is a great way to preserve flowers and can be done throughout the year to record the Seasons, why not stick them in your Wildlife and Nature Diary or a Scrapbook.
Firstly, you will of course need a Flower Press!
Before beginning we advise that only flowers from the garden should be picked and pressed. It is against the Countryside Code to remove plants from the countryside and wild flowers should always be left for the enjoyment of everyone.
- When selecting flowers to press always choose those that are looking their best, and are clean.
- Removing moisture is the key, so begin by collecting the flowers when they are dry. Wet flowers can go mouldy.
- Press your flowers as soon as possible to avoid them drooping or wilting.
- Lay the flowers flat face down on the blotting paper. Take care to arrange leaves and petals as you want them to appear when the flower is pressed, try pressing flowers on their side to get a different effect.
- Place another piece of blotting paper or flower preserving paper on the top.
- Place the two pieces of paper between two pieces of cardboard.
- Place the layers into a flower press as follows, cardboard, paper, flowers, paper and cardboard.
- Depending on the press you may be able to fit in several layers like this.
- Tighten the wing nuts and leave to dry for a few days, longer if you use large, thick flowers.
- Alternatively place the flowers between sheets of blotting or flower preserving paper and place inside a large book such as the phone book and leave for a few days. Be careful to use enough plain paper sheets to protect the books from staining.
- Experiment with different types of flowers. Pansies and violas are particularly easy and tend to keep their colour well.
- Note if the flowers turn brown during pressing it may be because they are taking too long to dry out
Pressing flowers the traditional way can take time and lots of patience but if you want faster results flowers can be pressed and dried in the microwave. Repeat the process in the same way as above but if you use your flower press you will need to remove the wing nuts/bolts and secure the wooden boards with wide elastic bands 2 or 3 along each side, if you use a book check that it has no gold embossing and remove any staples. Place in the microwave for two minutes on medium heat, allow to cool then have a look at the flowers to see if they are dry if not return to the microwave for another minute and check again, keep repeating until the flowers are completely dry. This method may need a little experimentation.
Pressed flowers loose their colour if exposed to light so avoid direct sunlight or humid rooms when displaying them.
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