Press "pause" on nature by capturing beautiful blooms to enjoy for years to come.
“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”
— Lady Bird Johnson
This spring was like an episode of Garden Wars (does that show even exist? If not, it should). With many people being home a lot more than usual, my neighbors have been out every day tending to their gardens, trimming the hedges, mowing the grass, and using ALL the lawn tools. Needless to say, the flowers are blooming, the ferns are unfurling, and the leaves are as green as ever. This summer, why not capture the beauty of all the nature around you and make great art while relieving stress at the same time? The art of pressed flowers is accessible to almost anyone and is a great way to introduce the natural world to children. Take a walk in your backyard and see what is available to you. Who knows, your neighbors might even let you take a petal or two.
There are many ways to press flowers using anything from an iron, a microwave or a heavy book, and some methods will be trial and error- find what works best for you. Here are a few tips and ideas for pressed flower art, but please check out the additional resources for a more detailed and complete tutorial!
On a warm, dry day select the best flowers for pressing- preferably ones that are single-layered and freshly bloomed. Great options include pansies, violets, knockout roses, cosmos, morning glories, most wildflowers, impatiens, and begonias, but even bulkier flowers can be pressed by removing each petal and pressing separately, reassembling once pressed.
After removing any stamens to prevent staining, lay your flowers or petals flat in a single layer without them touching on plain computer paper, a coffee filter, or tissue/blotter paper laying another piece of paper on top.
From here, you can either place in between pages of a heavy book, or into a flower press in between pieces of flat cardboard.
The time it takes for your flowers to completely dry (which is key to keep from molding and browning) will depend on a number of factors but ideally let them press for at least 2 weeks and as long as a month.
Build your own flower press with two pieces of wood, 4 screws, and 4 wingnuts.
Pressed camilla petals and clover flowers
There are so many creative ways to use flowers. One of my favorite ways is to make cards. Studies show that sending and receiving snail mail is a mood booster, stress reliever, and simple way to conjure some joy into your life as well as the recipient of your letter, so why not make someone feel special by sending a handmade card decorated with flowers from your own backyard? You can even send a letter to a soldier through Operation Gratitude to show your support of our troops abroad.
Once you've pressed the flowers you want to use, to make a card:
You will need heavy paper like cardstock that can handle a bit of glue.
Lay out your flowers in a design of your choosing. You can use tweezers to move them around if you'd like.
Add a thin coat of glue (I've found that Modge Podge works best) to the back of the flower and gently press down onto the paper.
Layer a coat of glue on top making sure to completely cover each part of the petal/flower. You could also find floral protective sealant at a local craft store or online.
Let it dry and send it off!
Feel free to add paint, doodles, stickers, washi tape, or whatever else you'd like to enhance your design.
Mother's Day cards
If cardmaking isn't your thing, that's okay! There are so many options when it comes to being creative with flowers. You can embellish candles, switch plates, clear glass like mason jars, make framed art or ornaments, you name it. Here is a brilliant idea to make lanterns from Creativebug, a free crafting tutorial site, access provided by Richland Library.