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Pressed Flowers

In Victorian times, children were encouraged to learn about the natural world by making collections. Pressing flowers was a simple craft, requiring only access to a variety of flowers, a heavy book, paper, and paste. Not only was it possible to preserve flowers, the dried specimens could be used as part of a botany project or to make decorations. Today, modern materials make it easy to use this old-time activity to create book markers, greeting cards, or wall hangings.

Img_02Instructions
Select flowers that are perfectly open, not wilted, and that do not have insect or other damage. Ferns, leaves, and even small whole plants can be used. Pick the specimens on a dry day after the dew has dried. To press them, you may purchase a plant press made specifically for the purpose and follow the directions that come with it, or use a large, heavy book. Open the book towards the back, place a piece of blotting paper (or regular notebook paper) on the page, then lay the flowers down on top, trying to spread the petals out so they will dry flat. Place a second piece of paper over the flowers, then close the book. If you need more space, flip over another twenty pages or so and repeat the process with a new set of paper and flowers. Keep the book warm and dry; after about two weeks the flowers will be well pressed.

Img_03To complete your project, you will need cold laminating sheets (one piece, two-sided), available in a number of sizes from craft stores. Place the flowers face down on the non-sticky surface. Once they are in place, slowly peel off the paper from the sticky sheet, pressing it down carefully with a ruler as you do so to squeeze out air bubbles. (If you do get a bubble, a tiny prick with a needle will let the air out.) Cut the laminated flowers to the size you desire. You can punch holes in the top corners and run a bit of yarn through for a nice wall hanging or sun catcher. To make a note card, write a greeting on a piece of paper, place it face down, and laminate it along with the flowers.

-George Christie
Program Coordinator

Pressed Flowers