The thing about weddings, or any special occasion for that matter, is that it seems to go by in a blink. Sure, you’ve got all those photos to remind you of your special day…but for those of us who are true sentimentalists, we always want to keep as many physical mementos as we possibly can. Pressing flowers are preserving can have the same effects as a photograph…sending you back in time to that day when you were surrounded by the fragrance, color and joy those flowers first brought you.
Pressing and Drying Flowers
Pressing flowers is exactly what you’d think: It’s creating dried flower petals and dried leaves by flattening, or placing them under pressure, removing the moisture while leaving the flower’s color and structure largely intact. Pressing flowers makes them appear flat and can often mean a change in color, ranging from a faded hue to becoming even more vibrant.
The rule of thumb is that the fresher your flowers, the better they will press. It’s important to properly condition your flowers by ensuring they’ve been adequately hydrated to this point. Make sure to remove any wilted petals or curled leaves and be sure to remove the stamens with pollen that can cause the flower to stain. Your flowers should be dry to the touch but still well-hydrated before you begin the pressing process.
There are several different methods to apply the pressure needed to achieve this desired end result:
- Pressing Flowers in Books: Any heavy book will do the trick…but make sure it’s one you’re not planning on opening for at least a month because that’s how long this method may take for all the moisture to be removed. Also realize that this process may stain the pages of said book, so you might want to go with an old phone book or outdated encyclopedia. To prevent the petals from absorbing ink, try placing the flower between some acid-free or printing paper. The more pressure (the heavier the books), the faster the process. They’re done when they feel dry to the touch and are rigid…not limp.
- Use the Microwave: Simply make yourself a flower sandwich by placing several sheets of paper towel on a flat plate with a sheet of blotter paper on top, then place your flower on the blotter paper, cover it with another sheet of blotter paper and add more paper towels and finish with a second paper plate. Use the low-medium setting or a power range around 2 or 3 and begin heating for 1 minute at a time. On average, this method takes less than five minutes. Again, when they’re rigid and dry to the touch, they’re basically done but leave them a bit longer in the microwave to finish drying with the power off.
Once your flowers have been pressed and are thoroughly dry, you can use them for crafts and projects or simply store them carefully to preserve their beauty. They need a moisture-free environment, so consider placing some silica gel packets (like the ones found in shoe boxes) in your container of choice. Or, try mounting and framing them…enclosed in glass and proudly displayed on a table or wall where you’ll be able to gaze, smile tenderly and take a quick walk down memory lane.