Pressing Bits of Sunshine
Updated: Nov 5
The art of pressed flowers can be dated as far back as 16th century Japan in an arrangement called Oshibana. And even today, most will agree that there is just something so sweet and sentimental about a single dried flower or a whole arrangement.
No one can argue the fact that there are numerous ways to press flowers. And some ways of pressing might be a better choice depending on what you are going to do with the flowers once its pressing period is over. But like with every good art, there has to be a starting point from where one learns. And through my own trial and error, I have found this technique to be a great way to start one’s pressed flower endeavors.
What you will need:
Your choice of flowers
A heavy hardback book preferably. But if one is not available, a paperback book and something heavy to put on top of it to way it down will work.
Something to put the pressed flowers in after they are done drying.
The types of flowers:
Most flowers can be used for pressing, though I have found some to be more difficult and not yielding the result I would have liked. As such you should use your own discretion. Even so, never be afraid to experiment on any flower that strikes your fancy. Here is a list of the ones I find to yield the best results for me;
Daisies, Violas, Petunias, Sunflowers (their petals work best individually), Lilacs, Sweet Williams, Roses, and an assortment of wildflowers.
Prepping and pressing your flowers:
I have noticed that the morning is the best time to pick your flowers for they are not wilted. And they are slower to wilt as they are waiting for you to get your “books in a row” so to speak. Even so, life can get busy during the time the flowers are prime for picking, and one may not have time to both pick and press the flowers during the same day. If you are unable to press your flowers right away after gathering, you can simply lay them out on a plate(s) and put them in your fridge. This of course, will keep them from wilting and stay fresh until you can press them. It is good to know though that they will only last for about a day. So, you should try to press them that night or early the next morning.
If out walking, hiking, or just away from the house and yet find that perfect flower to press but know it will wilt before you get back, don’t worry. Just simply put it in a glass of water once you get back and wait until it is renewed (this can take a whole day sometimes). Then when ready to press, dry off the flower lightly with a towel and you are good to go. (Note: depending on how bad the wilting damage is, this will not work. Agine, use your own discretion.)
Once you have all of your flowers ready to press, it is time to ready your books. Open the book in the middle with equal amounts of pages on either side as to have equal amount of weight. Cut out a strip of wax paper the whole length of the open book with some extra. (I keep the paper together and not cut it into two separate pieces as the paper and flowers themselves move around too much and this meses up the niceness of their press.)
Then start layering you flowers down on one side of the paper with some space between each flower as to not overlap.
Some of the flowers you will have to destem or fan out in order to get them to lay flat.
Slowly fold over the top layer of wax paper over the flowers and watch to make sure they aren’t moving or bending on themselves.
It helps if you have a pair of tweezers to go under the wax paper and smooth out the flowers that you can’t reach with the paper folded over. Then, once all the flowers are nestled nicely between the two sides of wax paper, close the book making sure the wax paper doesn’t move. After this step I will sometimes cut off the excess paper that hangs out of the book so I can fit it on my bookshelf.
In about 2-3 weeks the flowers should be ready to collect. Again, for some of the more delicate flowers, the tweezers will be helpful to peel the flowers off of the paper.
Then you are ready to store these little treasures in a glass jar, old mint tin, basket, box, or whatever you find the most appealing. Then the fun begins in you deciding what you will do with your dried bits of sunshine!
By: Nikole Norman
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