What memories are stirred by opening the pages
of a forgotten book and coming across some pressed pansies or
poppies, and other charming reminders of seasons long since past
Drying plant materials by pressing presents an artisitc challenge
of two completely different kinds.
First , the thrill of the hunt for flowers and leaves that will retain
their characteristic shape and their original colour, a hue that is pleasing
Then after the pressing process comes the creative joy arranging petals
flower stalks, and leaves into designs.
From anything from a gift tag to a full scale picture.
The Equipment you need is minimal though you may choose to
enlarge your kit as you progress. Highly absorbant paper is the main
essential item. Blotting paper is hard to beat, though somewhat
expensive. kitchen roll and toilet tissues are suitable for small, thin subjects-
be sure to choose a smooth paper without a waffle or ridged surface
and newspaper is servicable for large leaves, which may be pressed
under anything heavy.
large books were traditionally used for pressing.Flowers may be enclosed
directly between the pages, but check that the printing ink is not likely to
transfer to the petals.
I use grease proof paper, layed on the page , then lay your flowers on the
grease proof paper, then put another layer of grease proof paper on top.
I also use newsaper to sandwich between the paper...
Open your book... lay some newspaper on the page, then the greaseproof
paper..then your flowers, then another layer of greaseproof paper on top
then newspaper. Thats it close the book, and put something heavy on it.
Leave the book for about 21 days, then when you open it to have a look
you will be so surprised at the result.
As an advance on the book technique you can buy or make a flower
press. This is a series of alternating sheets of flat card and blotting paper
enclosed top and bottom betweeb boards and held together at each corner
by thumb screws. The trick is to extract similar pressure on each screw.
So that the flowers are evenly dried.
Choice Of Materials
The world is your oyster when it comes to deciding exactly what to press
and it is fun to experiment with new subjects now and again.
Flowers and leaves with thin tissue are likely to give good results.
Snip off flat flowers such as borage, daisy and hydrangea florets.
Pull off petals from thick flowers such as carnations and press them
Until you see a leaf which is skeletonized you can not
appreciate the intricacy of the vein structure.
To strip evergreen leaves- the only ones with a sturdy enough
structure- boil them for 30 minutes in 500 ml ( 1 pint) water to which
you have added 100g(4oz) blue biological household detergent.
Strain the leaves, rinse them under cold water and place them on
newspaper. Use an old tooth brush to brush off the leaf tissue, working
from the central vein and out to the sides. Rinse them again, dry them
and press them between the sheets of blotting paper for about 14 days.
once the pressed flowers and leaves are ready, you can store them
in a box, using tissue paper between each flower. it might help to
put the name of flower or leaf on each one with a label, so you can go
straight to the flower.
You will need tweezers to pick up the dried flowers as they are
so delicate,once they have been dried.