Sometimes when you receive a beautiful flower bouquet from someone special, you can be fascinated by its beauty and do not want them to wilt or die. One way to save a lovely arrangement from a loved one or commemorate flowers from a particular event is by pressing flowers. Pressed flowers are an easy way to capture a moment in time. By learning how to preserve and frame them at home, you can ensure that their beauty and sentimental value last for years. Drying your flower bouquets, of course, is another way to preserve them. However, unlike dried flowers, pressed flowers are ideal for framing and presenting as art, giving as a heartfelt gift, or decorate handwritten cards and messages. There are a few different methods for pressing flowers, but you can quickly get the job done with just a few things from around your house, plus it does not require any special tools.
Pressed flower art involves flattening and excluding light and moisture by pressing flower petals and leaves in a flower press. The art form has long been practised in China and in Japan, where it is called oshibana. Some artists have continued to employ the art outside of Asia, it underwent a rebirth from the 1970s to the early 2000s, and it gained prominence in the Victorian era in the United Kingdom. Plants were collected and pressed in the West for both scientific and decorative purposes. Herbaria, or collections or libraries of pressed plants, were built by botanists for research and education. These collections can last for centuries if properly cared for.
Blooms that have been pressed become flat, and the colour of the flowers often changes, varying from muted colours to a greater intensity of brilliant colours. Flowers and leaves that have been pressed can be applied in various craft projects. They are commonly placed on special kinds of paper, it can be Ingres paper, handmade paper, Japanese paper, or marbled paper. Pressed flowers are often accompanied by watercolour washes and they can also be mounted on wood furnishings and fabrics like linen, velvet, silk, or cotton. Decoupage is a technique for applying petals and leaves to wood furnishings.
1. Choosing the Flowers to be Pressed
Freshness is essential in pressing flowers, so choose flowers that are either still in bud form or have just bloomed. If you’re pressing flowers from a bouquet, start as soon as possible; do not wait until the day before you will have to discard the arrangement. While all of the blooms are still fresh, select a few flowers to remove from the bouquet. If you are selecting flowers from your garden, remember that it is best to do it in the morning after the dew has evaporated. Harvest them when the buds are ready to open or just before they reach their peak. The better the blossoms are when picked, the better they will seem when dried and pressed.
Adjust the foliage and blooms you picked to your design needs. Some design intentionally displays the flowers at different stages of growth. It is fine to pick most plants in your own garden, but there are some things to consider if you are picking wild plants. Always remember to be sensitive to nature, do not exploit them, and pick wild plants with moderation and care. Picking in moderation ensures that there is enough for others to enjoy while also ensuring the plant’s survival. Following the “one in twenty rule” is an excellent idea. This means that if there are twenty plants, it is permissible to take one of them as long as it is not a legally protected species.
After you have decided on which flowers to press, you will need to prep them. Place them in a Ziplock bag and keep them in the refrigerator if you cannot press them right away. When you are ready to press the flowers, there are a few things to keep in mind to preserve the colour and freshness of the flowers. Hold the stems under water immediately after cutting to allow for maximal water absorption. The stems should then be recut at an angle. Remove any leaves from the vase that will be below the waterline. Those leaves will decay if left on, and germs will form, shortening the life of the flower. Fill a clean vase halfway with water and floral food, then place them in a cool, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Your flowers only need a few hours to hydrate.
Violets, daisies, and single-petal roses are the easiest to press because their flowers are naturally flat. If you want to press heavy flowers like orchids or full petal roses, cut them in half with scissors or a knife. Stamens are the part covered in yellow pollen. It is recommended to remove the stamens from flowers with visible stamens, such as alstroemerias and lilies, to avoid pollen staining. You can also flatten ferns or other sorts of leaves, and even some fruits and vegetables.
2. How to Press the Flowers
There are many different ways to press flowers, you can use a book, an iron, or even a microwave. Experiment with different pressing procedures to see which one works best for you and your flowers. Through trial and error, you will learn how to put the blossoms on the paper so they look their finest when pressed.
To use a book, place the flower between two pieces of paper before inserting it into the pages. You can press numerous flowers at once, depending on the size of the book, but always make sure to space them out. To weigh down the book once it is closed, use extra books or bricks. Be careful not to damage the flower arrangement as you flip the pages, and make sure the sheets are changed every few days. After two to three weeks, the flowers will be totally dried. When removing the flower, use tweezers or use your fingers carefully, because the dried flowers will be fragile.