Pressing Flowers and Flower Crafts
Pressing flowers is a craft that we might not think of too often, but it is a great way to combine a love of the outdoors with love of crafts. The art of pressing flowers does not take too much preparation, and it can be pretty inexpensive. It is also a craft that can be enjoyed at any age. You can press flowers with your friends, your siblings and your parents. Once your flowers are dried, there are many wonderful things you can do with them.
Before you pick your flowers to press, you will need a few items. Find one or two very heavy books, like an encyclopedia or dictionary. You will also need a few sheets of plain printing paper. Once you have located these items, you are ready to start picking your flowers. To pick the flowers, you will want some sort of basket or container that you can place your flowers in as you pick them so they don't get smashed. You may also want a pair of garden scissors so you can cut the flowers (make sure that you have adult supervision if you are using sharp garden tools).
Now it is time to go out and pick your flowers! Keep in mind that the best time to pick flowers for pressing is when it is dry and warm. You want the flowers to have a low moisture content, since they will dry better. This means that you don't want to pick them in the morning when they have dew on them or after it has been raining. The best time to pick them is in the afternoon on a sunny summer day.
Once you have picked your flowers, bring them back inside and let them sit and dry out a little bit. You will want to separate them by type of flower. Each variety should be pressed together -- or you can press each flower individually.
Now that your flowers are separated you will want to lay them onto their sheets of paper. Your flowers will look best when they are dried and pressed if you make sure that they don't have any creases when you lay them out before pressing. You want the leaves and flowers to be as flat as possible. Place the second piece of paper on top and put them between the pages of your heavy book, or place the book on top.
It is best not to put the flowers directly in the book because the colors of the flowers can bleed into the page of the book.
Once your flowers are being pressed, they need to be placed in an area that is a consistent temperature and low in moisture. The time it takes to dry your flowers will depend on the type of flower and where they are being dried. Smaller flowers can take five or so days to dry while larger flowers make take over a week. Your flowers are dried and ready to be removed when the are stiff and paper like.
When your flowers are dry, there are all sorts of crafts you can use them with. Create a scrap book of different flowers where you can identify each variety or learn to make beautiful homemade paper. Some people like to send dried flowers them in cards or use them as decorations.
If you find that you really love pressing flowers, there are a variety of methods that you can try. Some people like to place their flowers between two sheets of paper, then place the paper between two pieces of cardboard, then place one or two large books on top of the cardboard. Using the cardboard method is a good idea if you are pressing large flowers, since the cardboard will protect their shape.
Some people like to use a flower press. You can get a small flower press at most arts and crafts stores. Or, if your parents are craft-oriented, they may be able to make you your very own flower press. Finding directions for building a flower press is easy. You can look online or try looking for craft books at your local libra. You can even purchase microwave presses or you can find instructions for making a microwave press online.