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How to Make Pressed Flowers

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How to Make Pressed Flowers

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Overview

Pressing flowers allows you to preserve the blooms of summer for years to come. Pressed flowers add a colorful, natural look to art and craft projects such as scrapbooks, collages or greeting cards. You can also use pressed flowers to create your own herbarium of local wildflowers or favorite garden flowers. Pressed flowers are often made with a plant press, or you can use an old, heavy book.

Step 1

Choose the flowers you'd like to press. The best candidates for pressing are small, simple flowers like violets, forget-me-nots and strawberry blossoms. Big bulky flowers like roses will be more difficult to work with and won't dry as flat.

Step 2

Pick your flowers at the peak of freshness when they have rich colors and superior form. For an herbarium, choose flowers that are in good condition, with all their leaves, petals and reproductive parts accounted for. Store the flowers in water in the refrigerator if you cannot press them right away.

Step 3

Prepare your plant press or book. Plant presses are available at science, hobby and art supply stores, or you can make your own by attaching two thin boards together with bolts and laying sheets of blotting paper between boards. You can also press flowers in heavy books, like dictionaries or phone books. Since color from the stem and petals may bleed into the paper, it's best to use an old book you don't care about. Open the book to a section near the middle and insert two pieces of newspaper, typing paper or blotting paper.

Step 4

Lay the flower on the blotting paper and arrange the flower to your liking. For an herbarium, spread out the leaves, petals and other parts so you will be able to easily identify the flower later.

Step 5

Compress the flower by tightening the bolts of the plant press or carefully closing the book. You may need to add additional weights, such as more books or cans of food, on top of the book.

Step 6

Tighten the bolts of the plant press every few days as the flower continues to dry. Change the blotting paper, newspaper or typing paper every day to dry the flowers quickly and retain the most color.

Step 7

Remove the flower when it is thoroughly dry. The drying process will take between two days and two weeks, depending on the size and moisture content of the flower. Dried flowers are very fragile, so handle them carefully.

Step 8

Mount pressed flowers on paper. Choose stiff, acid-free paper, and for herbariums use bright white for maximum contrast. Attach the flower to the paper with a high-quality art glue.

Step 9

Store pressed flowers out of direct sunlight to prevent the blooms from fading. Store herbarium specimens in clear, plastic sleeves, such as those used for photographs.

Tips and Warnings

  • Take care in gathering wildflowers. Never gather any rare, endangered or threatened flowers, and always leave at least 10 flowers growing for every one you pick.

Things You'll Need

  • Flowers
  • Plant press or heavy book
  • Newspaper, typing paper or blotting paper
  • Weights
  • Mounting paper
  • Art glue
  • Plastic sleeves

References

  • Preserved Gardens
Keywords: pressing flowers, drying flowers, herbarium

About this Author

Sonya Welter graduated cum laude from Northland College in 2002, and has worked in the natural foods industry for nearly seven years. As a freelance writer, she specializes in food, health, nature, gardening and green living. She has been published on Ecovian.com, LIVESTRONG.com and several local print publications in Duluth, Minn.