Pressing flowers for card making is a fantastic technique and one that is easy to master. Its also popular because it doesn’t require any expensive equipment or tools. Flower pressing was originally made popular by the Victorians who would gather collections of wild flowers in order to keep them in family albums and their bibles. And very little has changed with flower pressing today. This article will look at what flower pressing is, how to press flowers and which are the best flowers for it.
Essentially the method for pressing flowers is to create a type of ‘sandwich’ of flowers and blotting paper by putting them in between things like large books or phone directories with a weight on top. This exerts huge pressure on the flowers and paper.
Choosing the flowers that you want to use in your cards is an important step. Thankfully you have many options: pansies, buttercups, raised and really all the flat blooms are the easiest to press. Herbs and ferns also work well. You will want to avoid thick multi-petal flowers and chrysanthemums as you have to remove all their petals, press them individually and put the flower back together later. A long winded process! How quickly the plant dries once it has been pressed is also something to consider. The plants that dry the fastest usually hold onto their colour throughout the drying process. The thicker the plant the slower that drying and may become mouldy.
Just try to pick a variety of different flowers with a range of colours and sizes for the most interesting cards.
How to Press Flowers for Cards
Once you’ve picked your flowers you will want to ensure they’re as clean as possible. Use a small paintbrush to remove dust or anything else that may be coating or have settled in the flower.
What You Need
- Fresh flowers
- A small paintbrush
- Blotting paper
- A telephone directory or flower press
If you haven’t got a flower press, and you don’t want to buy one, you can make your own fairly simply. Get 2 pieces of plywood, drill a hole that will be big enough to take a long bolt with a wing nut in each of the corners. Use some newspaper to separate the batches of blotting paper and flowers. Then just screw tightly and leave.
- Start by cutting two pieces of blotting paper a little larger than your telephone directory. To ensure your flowers stay completely flat cut off the stems close to the heads.
- Use your tweezers or hands to arrange the flowers on the blotting paper in rows making sure they don’t overlap at any point. Keep a border free around the edges too.
- Arrange any leaves you’re using the same as you did with the flowers. If you have lots of flowers to press then do them in groups of colours.
- Take another piece of blotting paper and cover the first one with it. Put this ‘sandwich’ into a phone directory or book. Don’t out anymore than five in each. Label these with the date and type/colour. Put your weights on top of them (or heavy books if you don’t have weights) and leave for six weeks.
- Keep the flower press or books well ventilated as this will help them to dry faster. You can even put a small fan next to them to speed the drying process up.
- Check your flowers after a few days to make sure you haven’t got any folded leaves and petals. Also ensure that at the drying is happening properly.
- After six weeks are up remove the flowers with your tweezers.
- Store them in cellophane bags or envelopes in their groups of colours, types etc.
And there it is, you’ve pressed your flowers! You can now use them in your card making.
Any of your pressed flowers that end up wrinkled can be used to decorate potpourri or other craft projects.
If you now want to use those pressed flowers in a card then try our pressed flowers greetings card tutorial.