Tuesday, 25 January 2011

PROJECTS: Pressing Flowers

There was a reason why I had all the dried and press rose petals I posted about in my last post. They started when I got a flower press for Christmas. Here's the background;

One of the items I saw a lot over the run up to Christmas in crafty based outlets were presses for pressing flowers. I think I tried once or twice when I was little with huge heavy books (my mam's Golden Hands craft books from the 1970s if i remember rightly). But I never had the patience or the idea about really doing it properly. 

As a craft it was the Victorians that gave it's popularity through preserving a gift, a memory associated with the flowers with ribbons. You can still often find old flowers especially grasses and heathers pressed in the family bible or similar thick and weighty books of that era and later - we have some heathery like flowers still within what's seen as the family bible - we don't know how long they've been there but the bible with my great great grans (or could be aunt - I forget) name inside.

The pressed heather flowers kept inside the "family" bible, no idea how old they are or why they were originally pressed, but they've stood the test of time all the same

Nevertheless pressing flowers is a craft with a much later history dating as far back to the 1600s in Japan whereby a leaf or flower was designed into a painting, embellished into becoming a mountain in an abstract manner.

So for Christmas the parents brought me a little - I will admit, children's kit to pressing flowers, complete with a mini press, some paints and a selection of materials to display and present your final items. Hinting gets you everywhere at times.

So, you select your flower(s) and/or foliage laying them out gently and as little of them touching each other as possible pressing them between two pieces of blotting paper. Then the laying the sandwiched flowers at the bottom of the press, it's filled up with sheets of cardboard topped with the top wooden layer to the press. Tighten with bolts you're suggested to leave the press for two weeks to work its magic, however if your not feeling as patient the process can be quickened by up to one week through leaving the press in a place such as an airing cupboard. Once they are "cooked" as I term it, I've been mounting them with a scrapbook, writing the odd little note of where the flowers came from, what they are, etc. Just a little way to mark them all together.

I'm not sure if i'm either pressing them for two long (although the leaflet does suggest two weeks) or maybe too tightly within the press. They just don't seem to maintain the richness of tones in their colour compared to some images you find of pressed flowers. Maybe it's all just trail and error, these are just the second attempt and honestly, there's a lack of flowers available at the moment to press. The ones "cooking" at the moment are just some fir tree leaves of various kinds and some more orchid flowers.

Just have to wait another two weeks to see how they turn out!


  1. keep trying!:-)

    you're right, alot of it is just trial and error...but, you will also get some remarkable results!:-)

    good luck!:-)


  2. A flower press? What a cool idea for a gift. I think they look beautiful! I have a HUGE dictionary I keep my pressed flowers in. I should invest tho in a flower press tho. Can't wait to see your new ones!

    Melanie's Randomness

  3. Roll on the spring when there's proper flowers around! Hehe