Do you enjoy Mother Nature and crafty things? If so, making your own pressed flower creations is something you must try this summer!
For as long as I can remember, my grandmother has been pressing flowers, grasses, and leaves to make into gorgeous cards, bookmarks, notepads, and wall hangings, to name a few things. As a child, I was mesmerized by her process: she’d snip from gardens, fields, and roadsides and bring her basketful of findings back to her craft room to press. At 81 years old, she can still be found immersed in this wonderful hobby which connects you to nature, forces you to slow down, and requires both patience and creativity. Grandma was kind enough to share her pressing process so you, too, can make your own nature-made crafts. It’s a wonderful way to preserve your garden!
1. Step one is to pick your flowers, grasses, and leaves. You won’t want there to be any moisture on your pickings, including morning dew, so wait until the sun has dried the leaves and petals (typically after 8 or 9 a.m.).
2. Bring scissors and a basket outside with you, and begin snipping away, leaving a little bit of stem. Many things press well, but many do not. It will take trial and error to learn what presses best but it certainly doesn’t hurt to try. A rule of thumb is if the flower has a large lump, like a Black-Eyed Susan, then it won’t work.
Typically, you’ll have great luck with violas, pansies, bedstraw, Queen Anne’s Lace and their leaves, ferns, and buttercups. African violets, petunias, and impatients do not press well because they naturally contain a lot of moisture. During the pressing process, they will fade and turn soggy. Try selecting a variety of things, whether it grows wild or you planted it. Just keep in mind that they should be picked when they’re in bloom.
3. Remember, flowers must be completely dry before proceeding. As soon as possible after you pick them you will want to press them so they don’t turn brittle. Start by snipping the remaining stem as close to the flower or leaf as possible. Then, you’ll need an old large book, a phone book, or large Reader’s Digest which have pages that will absorb the moisture as the flowers dry out and flatten. A glossy magazine won’t work. Another alternative is if you have construction paper, lay the flowers on construction paper and put the paper in between the pages of a book. Again, if the flowers are wet at this stage, they will create mildew.
4. Place flowers and leaves face down flat on an open page. Leave enough space in between flowers. Move about 10 pages and place more; repeat this process as necessary. If you wish, write the date and what it is on the page you put it on. Put the book under a heavy weight, stones, Encyclopedia or an old fashioned iron — anything to make sure the flowers will flatten well. Leave them in the book for about two weeks.
5. When the flowers are completely flat, now it’s time to use them as you’d like! Dab a toothpick into Elmer’s Glue and tap the backside of the flowers. It will lift off of the page, but don’t fret if it falls apart a little bit in the process. At this stage, the flower is like pie crust: it can be worked back together with a little effort because how you arrange them is up to you. Place the flower on the toothpick, back-side down, on your card stock or other material from a craft store (depending on what you want to make). Arrange a scene of flowers as you wish – there are no rules. When your creation is finished, make sure to laminate it to protect the flowers.
And there you have it – your own pressed flower creation using nature’s beautiful elements. Enjoy!