Bring flowers into your home in a new way by pressing and preserving them. Not only is this a great way to extend the life of your blooms, but produces lovely decorations for your home.
Pressing flowers is an ancient art form, with flowers having been reportedly discovered in a 3,000 year old coffin of Tutankhamun’s mother in Egypt! Botanists from both the Greek and Roman periods were known to preserve plants using techniques that continue today.
Prepare for pressing
Choosing the right flowers is essential. Opt for blooms that are naturally flat in structure, such as pansies, daisies and violets.
Your flowers should be clean and dry and for best results, choose flowers not yet in full bloom.
To maintain the vibrancy of colour once pressed, condition your flowers first. To do this:
- Submerge the stems in water as soon as you can.
- While underwater, cut the tips of the stems at an angle for optimum water absorption.
- Transfer the flowers into a clean vase containing water and flower food.
Pollen has a tendency to get everywhere and stain your petals, so if you’re pressing pollen-heavy flowers, such as lilies, snip the stamens first.
Book pressing: The traditional way to press flowers is also the simplest as you don’t need any specialised equipment. Place flowers directly between the pages or between two pieces of absorbent paper with a pile of books placed on top.
Choose a book with absorbent pages, such as the phone book, as glossy pages won’t be able to absorb the moisture. Place more books, or a heavy object, on top for extra weight and leave the flowers for seven to ten days.
Using a flower press: There are hundreds of different types of flower presses available online. Alternatively, you could create your own using ceramic tiles or wooden boards lined with absorbent paper and held together with rubber bands.
Ironing: For a speedier approach to pressing, place your flowers between two sheets of absorbent paper and lie flat on an ironing board. Empty your iron of water and set on a low setting without steam. Press the iron on top of the paper, without moving it, for 10 seconds. Allow to cool for 10 seconds. Repeat this until the flowers are dry.
Microwave pressing: Another fast-track way to press your flowers is by placing them inside a specially-designed microwave flower press and placing it in the microwave for 30-60 second bursts, allowing to cool down in between each one.
3 ways to display your flowers
1. Photographer and blogger, Gwen McMullin demonstrates how to display your pressed flowers in simple white frames in this beautifully illustrated blog post.
2. Display your flowers in mismatching frames of varying shapes and sizes (you can source these cheaply from charity shops) – then hang together in a cluster. See a great example of this at DIY & Crafts blog.
3. Glue your flowers onto glass bottles and jars. These look beautiful lined up on a kitchen windowsill. And it’s so simple to do, it’s explained as a children’s craft on the Red Ted Art blog.