Flowers bring us joy in every form. Their aromatic essence and aesthetic appeal create a mood of fresh natural beauty. We give and receive flowers on a multitude of occasions, and often gather them in our wanderings in the wilderness. To preserve a flower is to preserve a memory, and here’s how you can get started!
Step 1: Harvesting Fresh Flowers
Freshness is essential! When making your selection, choose freshly bloomed flowers picked in the morning after the dew has evaporated away, cutting the stem at a diagonal angle. If you aren’t going to immediately press your harvested flowers, store them in an air-tight ziplock bag in the refrigerator.
Step 2: Hydrate Your Flowers
Once you cut the stems diagonally, remove all the lower leaves and small bits that would be below the waterline of the vase that you will put them into next. If any leaves are left below the water, they will rot and cultivate bacteria that will shorten the life of the flowers. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the water in the vase if you don’t have plant food, and place the vase in a cool and ventilated space out of direct sunlight. Hydrating the flowers is only necessary for two to three hours, but it will make all the difference! Flowers and plants with a naturally flat face will be easier to press, but if you wish to press thicker flowers such as roses or orchids, you will need to cut the buds in half before laying them flat on paper.
Step 3: Select The Paper For Pressing
After hydrating for several hours, flowers must be dried immediately to prevent browning. The ideal surface for pressing flowers is one without texture, so avoid paper towels, toilet tissue, or textured cardboard. Instead, try printer paper, sheet music, books, or smooth cardboard.
The easiest option is to use a book that is heavy and thick, although it’s better to use one you don’t mind damaging a bit from the moisture of the flowers. A good option is a phonebook, or an old dictionary or encyclopedia from a used bookstore. Place the flowers between two pieces of paper, and then in the middle of the book. Once you gently close the pages of the book, place the book beneath a stack of other books, bricks, or anything else that will enhance the compression of the flowers with weight.
After two or three weeks, the flowers or plants will be completely dried, and ready to remove for framing and crafts! Use tweezers to remove the flowers or plants from inside the pages of the book and for further handling, as they will be extremely delicate and require gentle or little contact with the oils on the surface of our skin.
Step 4: Framing and Crafts!
First decide how you would like to display your newly pressed flowers, whether it be upon parchment in a picture frame, or mounted between two pieces of glass to display in a window or in a locket. Measure and cut the paper you would like to mount your flowers on, or clean the glass well with windex so there are no fingerprints or marks on the inside. Always use tweezers to handle your dried flowers and plants, and use a Q-tip to apply glue gently to one side of them. Place the flowers in your desired design, and then gently add the top piece of glass on top of the paper or bottom piece of glass.