Hi everyone, it’s Autumn again and winter will soon be here. Wouldn’t you love to preserve the beauty of Summer/Autumn flowers? Let’s talk flower pressing—a fun DIY project.
Pick flowers on dry days, collecting blooms early in the morning after the dew has dried or in the early evening before it returns can help prevent picking wet flowers. Walk around your garden or up and down the street near parks and choose the newest or freshest blooms. Snip and let it fall into the basket.
Get picked flowers into a press as soon as possible, before they start to wilt. Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight to keep them fresh.
GROUP SIMILAR FLOWERS TOGETHER
Sort fresh flowers by type and arrange them face down, making sure that none of the blooms are touching. Sandwich the blooms between smooth typing or blotter paper, which will absorb the flowers’ moisture during the drying process.
It’s important that none of the flowers touch; otherwise, when they dry, they will be stuck together.
Two factors determine which flowers press best. Since pressing blossoms is a way of drying them, flowers that contain less moisture when fresh dry quicker, whereas the thick and fleshy petals of impatiens and begonias will become moldy after a few weeks in a flower press. The second factor is color retention. Undesirable flowers lose their color during the drying process or become muddy, whereas desirable flowers retain their color and sometimes intensify in color. Here are a few ideas:
Acidanthera (Gladiolus callianthus)
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
Larkspur (Consolida ajacis)
Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)
Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota)
California poppies (Eschscholzia californica)
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)*
Nicotiana (Nicotiana alata)
French marigolds (Tagetescvs.)*
Verbenas (Verbena X hybridacvs.)
Pansies (Viola X wittrockianacvs.)
Zinnias (Zinniaspp. and cvs.)*
*These flowers don’t press well whole because their centers are too thick to flatten. The trick is to remove the petals from the center, press each separately and reassemble the petals without the center.
A HEAVY BOOK WORKS JUST AS WELL AS A FLOWER PRESS
There are two ways to press flowers and both methods work well. The method you choose depends on what’s better for you.
It’s important to keep the flowers evenly weighted during the drying process. If you choose the book method, a cinder block or a flat piece of stone that covers the entire surface area of the book will do the job. The blooms in a flower press are weighted by tightening the wing nuts on the long bolts at each corner. Tightening the nuts creates evenly distributed pressure between the top and bottom layers of the press. To ensure that the distribution of pressure is even, make sure that each of the wing nuts has been tightened to the same level on each bolt.
DO NOT DISTURB THE FLOWERS FOR AT LEAST A MONTH
I know that it’s tempting to look and see how the flowers are doing but DON’T!! If you take a look to soon, the flowers can be ripped apart. After a month has passed, take a look at your beautifully pressed flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors. Now for the extra fun part: use your flowers in a scrap book, stationary, business cards, garden journal, ornaments, candles or pretty much anything you can think of.
HOW TO MAKE A PRESS
Photo/Illustration: Vince Babak
Cut two pieces of plywood for the top and bottom layers of the press. These pieces can be as big or small as you want them to be. They just need to be the same size.
Drill holes through the four corners of both the top and bottom pieces of wood. The holes must be large enough to accommodate the lag screws.
Insert the lag screws through the holes drilled into the bottom piece of the press.
Layer alternate pieces of cardboard, white paper, and flowers inside the press. The number of layers depends on how many flowers you have to press.
Place the top piece of wood onto the press, threading the lag screws through the holes.
Tighten the layers together by spinning the wing nuts down the bolts onto washers to create even pressure.
Questions? or comments: