Everywhere you look, there are flowers of all heights and sizes, textures and colors. Buttercups and dandelions live in the lawn, cosmos and poppies along the highways, daisies and black-eyed Susans in neighborhood gardens, butterfly weed and coreopsis in fields and more. With every sighting, there is a small sigh of wishing it could last year round or at least much longer.
Well, take heart. There is a way to enjoy and share the glory of flowers by pressing them and making decorations, note cards, jewelry or simply a little paperweight for your desk. Of course, it’s hard to know how a three-dimensional flower will look in a flattened state, but you can consult photos in books and online or test a few that you like. Once you have the flowers, all you really need is absorbent paper, pressure and warmth.
The simplest way to press flowers is between paper placed under or between pages of a large book, with heavier books placed on top. Computer paper is okay, but coffee filters, thick paper towels and blank newsprint are a little more flexible and give a better result. Acid-free paper is the best because it doesn’t transmit unnatural chemical oils to the flowers. They will last longer and retain their colors better. Placing cardboard on the top and bottom of the paper will assure that both thick and thin parts of your flowers firmly stay in place. There are botanical flower presses, microwave flower presses and other types, some which work better with certain flowers, but the coffee filter, cardboard and book are a good place to begin with minimal investment.
If you want to appreciate the blossoms in a vase first, pick them in the morning with dew on them. Choose buds and half-open blooms for longest enjoyment before pressing. If picking to press, select flowers at the freshest peak of blooming and gather in the late afternoon on a dry summer day when there’s no moisture on them. Or, order a bouquet from bloomstoday.com, enjoy it, then press some of the blossoms.
Some of the best flowers for pressing are those which have about the same height when laid flat, like ~
You can accent the flowers with a variety of leaves. Many kinds of herbal leaves work well because they are small and flat. For best results, press flowers immediately after picking and place in a very warm place, like an attic or garage. Drying time ranges from a few days for small flowers to more than a week for large ones. Flowers shrink if taken out before they are completely dry. Once dry, they can be stored between layers of tissue paper.
Of course, once fall rolls around, it’ll be time to think about pressing leaves. But while it’s summer, and the days are long, kids are home, air is warm, and the livin’ is easy, think about preserving some of the season’s prettiest bounty. It’s something even the smallest of children can participate in and if you think ahead, there could be Christmas gifts for grandparents, a special teacher and friends.
By Joanne M. Anderson