A Little About Press Flower Art
Pressed Flower Art started about 500 years ago when people started collecting botanical specimens. Initially, specimens were glued on paper with a small index card indicating the plants name, location, and etc… Gradually, specimens were arranged in more artistic ways. And then Pressed Flower Art started… In the Victorian period, pressed flower art was very fashionable among ladies. Pressed Flower Art has continued its evolution with introducing new techniques and new processes. Especially with the introduction of modern drying techniques and chemicals, pressed flowers are retaining their natural colors a lot better. Many people have been asking how can we retain the wonderful natural color. The secret is to select top quality of fresh flowers, process them and dry them as quickly as you can. We press flowers with desiccant board and place the flower press in a sealed plastic box filled with silica gel for fast drying. The color and texture of flowers will come out much better with this technique than by simply pressing them between sheets of paper.
Pressed Flower Art Material List
Go to your nearby home improvement center. Get a piece of peg-board (they are good for ventilation too) make sure you have chosen the thicker one. Ask them to cut two 12" X 8" pieces. The important thing to know is that you do not care about the precise measurement of the boards, but not to cut through the holes. Make sure you tell the person cutting the board to cut between holes. Purchase two packages of foam air conditioning filter and 4 sets of bolts (1/4" X 2") and wing nuts. Each package of foam can be cut into 4 pieces making a total of eight pieces of foam. Cut out the corners of the foam to make room for bolts. As for lining paper, you can use scratch computer printing paper (or any copier paper). If you like to smooth the flower press' edges, you can file it. You can also paint it any color you want. However, these steps are for decoration and will not affect the results.
Larkspur is one of my favorite flowers to press. Its color remains vivid after dry. It has a lovely form and beautiful line. This instruction will serve as a guideline for all flowers listed in the beginner's selection.
Cut all blooming flowers off and carefully pick leaves off too. Lay flowers and leaves on a piece of paper. Flowers facing down would work the best. Scratch skins off from the stems on one side and line on paper. Scratch computer paper can be used here. Sandwich flowers between paper and foam and place them in flower presser. Flowers should not touch foam. You can have maximum seven layers of flowers in a presser. Secure presser with nuts and place it into a box fill with silica gel on the bottom. If you sandwich the flowers between desiccant boards, they will dry even faster.
After the flowers are dried, handle them carefully since they might be very fragile. There are many methods to store pressed flowers. The important thing to remember is to keep the flowers away from moisture and sun. The least expensive way to store pressed flowers is this: Fold a piece of letter-sized white paper 1/4 up along the length of one side and then 1/4 down on the opposite side (see illustration). Then fold the four corners in and use scotch tape to secure as shown below. This paper folding can pop up and become a box when needed to store or retrieve material, and fold down flat for storing. Mark the outside of the folded paper with the flower name or tape a small sample of the flower for easy identification. When you are done, fold flat and store in a plastic box with some silica gel inside.
After I have accumulated so much, I needed a more effective way to store and organize so I can be sure my flowers can last long and I can find them easily. Below is the way I keep my flowers today:
Place already pressed flowers on a piece of watercolor paper (or heavy card stock).
Cover the flowers with a tissue paper to protect them.
Put the flowers along with a piece of activated desiccant paper into a zip storage bag.
Squeeze out air and zip the bag. Flowers would not move inside.
File the pressed flower bag. I can easily thumb through the materials to find what I need later.
Periodically, I re-activate the desiccant paper inside of the package to make sure flowers are kept at optimal condition.