So you’ve decided to delve in to the wonderful, magical, & occasionally mysterious world of flower pressing; welcome!
While flower pressing (& most botanical preserving techniques) is largely experimental, it always helps to know which blooms will give you the best chances of a successful press, especially when you’re starting out & are maybe after a little guidance.
Choosing & cutting your botanicals is the first, & perhaps most important, step. The best time to do so is mid-morning, once the dew has dried & before the heat of the day causes them to wilt (this may vary depending on your location, climate, & the type of bloom you’re collecting; essentially, you want them at their prime for the day). Try to choose flowers that are in good condition, with no holes or damage. You can find them in your garden, roadside, in fields, even display gardens (though if you’re collecting wild blooms, i.e. plants not deliberately planted & maintained by people, best to only collect a few, ideally already fallen pieces, so as not to upset the natural ecosystem & lifecycle of the blooms). Another option is to collect & press blooms from bouquets; your wedding bouquet, mother’s day or birthday bouquets, or ‘just because’ bouquets. These have the added bonus of sentiment, & preserving them by pressing then journaling is one way to ensure it’s a gift you won’t soon forget.
Flowers & leaves that are great for pressing & easy to access
When looking for flowers to press, there are a few things to consider that will give you a clue as to how easy they are to preserve. Thin or flat flowers, petals, or leaves will press faster & retain more of their shape. Pressing only the petals is a simple way around a bulky stem. Bright colours like blues, yellows, & oranges are most likely to keep their original colours, whereas darker colours like purples & reds may go darker or turn brown or black, & lighter colours like white or pastels may go either way; they may fade, go darker, or yellow. Leaves, however, will retain most of their colour.
Once your flowers are pressed, the list of things to do with them is endless. Framing them is very popular at the moment, as is use in arts & crafts or potion play for children. Preserve them inside one of our nature or botanical journals, or make your own! Make your own greeting cards, or mix them in to your recycled paper mix for beautiful floral-embedded paper (tip: you can also do this with seeds for your own seeded paper!). You can place them in ornaments to adorn your christmas tree, on gift tags, or in clay when making trinkets. Use them to decorate any number of things, from coasters to pots to photo albums. There’s a world of things you can create from here, & the sky is the limit!
Part of the joy of pressing is in the experimenting. Your end results will vary plant to plant, even petal to petal; as you go, you will learn what works & what doesn’t, & you will find that you yield better results each time. Our best advice? Simply get in to your garden & give it a go. Expect to fail, and expect to be pleasantly surprised – often at the same time. Be warned though – once you start pressing, it’s hard to stop.