Pressing flowers is a lovely old art form. In the Victorian era woman used pressed flowers from the garden to create wall hangings; pioneer woman used them to create samplers and note cards. Over the years the creative use of pressed flowers has taken on wonderful new shapes and forms, and for good reason! It’s simple to do, costs next to nothing, and it’s something than everyone can enjoy – both young and old.
Although there are a number of ways to press flowers, for these projects we’re using the traditional method, pressing/drying the blossoms between pages of a large book.
- Freshly picked dry, unblemished flowers
- Stationary paper
- Glue stick
- Thick books (at least 3-4 inches if possible like a good sized telephone book)
- Frame (with glass or plastic insert)
- Item to be decorated/enhanced with flowers. (Wedding or birth announcement or something you’ve typed yourself like a favorite quote or passage).
- Optional: printed images of birds, dragonflies, butterflies, etc.
1) Pick unblemished flowers that are colorful but not too thick. Wildflowers like Queen Anne’s lace, chicory, goldenrod, asters and Johnny Jump ups work nicely. Garden flowers and herbs like roses (with petals separated), marigolds, creeping thyme, bachelor buttons, borage, pansies, calendulas, dianthus and lavender are also great. And don’t forget foliage! Oxalis heart-shaped petals are perfect for wedding announcements and birth celebrations. Fern fronds and fern-like foliage used in your arrangement can help to pull everything together.
2) If your harvest is damp, lay everything out on a paper towel or cloth to dry before beginning the pressing process.
3) Starting from the back of the book (preferably black & white pages only), open the book and carefully place a few of your flowers face down on one side. (You can place them between pieces of tissues or parchment paper but it’s not necessary unless you’re concerned about harming the book. Do not use paper towels, as they will leave a pressed texture.) Move forward into the book a few inches and add another layer, being careful to not upset those already placed. Once you’ve filled the book, close it and secure it with rubber bands. For extra measure, weigh it down with more books or a heavy object. Leave it for at least 7-10 days to allow the flowers to dry out.
4) Items to be decorated with dried flowers could range from a favorite quote that you’ve typed onto lovely stationary, or a pre-printed wedding or birth announcement. If it’s a pre-printed piece with limited blank space to add flowers, mount it on a piece of stationary and do your flower arrangement on that.
5) Once you’ve selected the item to be decorated, carefully remove the flowers from your book and lay them out on a paper towel or paper. Think about the colors and shapes and how they might work together. Once you have a design in mind, start by dabbing a tiny spot of glue onto the paper and gently pressing the flower into the glue. A pair of tweezers helps, particularly when working with small flowers. Continue until you’re happy with your finished design.
Remember to leave a little space along the edges so it your design doesn’t get covered with the frame edges. Once you’re certain all the glue is dry, carefully place your pressed flower print in the frame and that’s it!
Click here for another simple project – creating pressed flower journals!