How to press flowers
As I write this blog we are in a very strange position. Covid19 has swept through the world and here in New Zealand we are on Day 1 of Lockdown. It's a scary time for most of us. Lonely for some and just downright strange. So, unable to sell my flowers or hold workshops at the moment, I am making the best of things and have decided to start my blog going again and to put together a few posts that will hopefully inspire you while you're house bound. The first activity I want to talk about is pressing flowers. An old fashioned past time that I used to do as a child and with my children too when they were younger. You don't need specialist equipment so read on and I'll show you how.
How to press flowers and leaves
You might think that you don't have any flowers in your garden to press but take some time to go outside and really look. Don't discard leaves or tiny little buds. These will all press well and add interest to your project. Here are some plants that you may have in your garden already that make great material for pressing. Ivy, fennel, herb flowers like oregano, jasmine, marigolds, acers and roses. But this is just a list to get you going. Try anything you see. It's all about experimenting and seeing what happens.
Take a piece of A4 paper and fold it in half. You will arrange the flowers on one half of the paper and use the top half to fold over and protect them as they dry. When preparing flowers you will need to take a sharp pair of scissors and cut the stem off as close to the back of the flower as you can. You're aiming to get the flower to sit as flat as possible on the paper. I like to snip off individual flower heads from fennel. Tiny parts of flowers look fabulous pressed flat. Make sure you leave space around each flower or leaf.
Once the half piece of paper is full carefully slide the paper taking care not to disturb your flowers into the pages of a sturdy book. Select a book that isn't too precious to you just incase the flowers leave marks on the pages. Carefully fold over the top half of the paper then fold over the pages of the book and the cover. I usually add two lots of flowers per book. Then I stack a few books on top of it as the weight will speed up the drying process and keep the flowers in place.
You can leave flowers whole or for a slightly more botanical look you can cut them down into separate parts. I cut a marigold down completely in order to press it's individual parts. They are quite bulky flowers so if you press them whole cut as close to the back of the flowers as you can without breaking it apart. As you fold over the paper make sure you flatten the petals as you go.
I try to fill spaces with leaves and smaller flower parts so I get as much on one page as I can.
Don't forget to include leaves. I've used some eucalyptus and jasmine leaves along with verbena bonariensis on this paper.