While strolling through nature this June, pick a flower and make a little memento of Great Outdoors Month. Pressing flowers or leaves is a fun activity for all ages and can be a great way to make the beautiful and temporary flora of summer last longer!
Gathering and Preparing
The best flowers to press are fresh and recently bloomed, picked in the morning after the dew is gone. If you can’t press what you’ve picked right away, they can be saved for a time in a plastic bag inside the refrigerator. When you are ready to begin pressing, remove any extra bunches of leaves and run the stems under water. Thin flowers usually work the best for pressing as they lay flat naturally, but thicker blooms can be used if they are split down the middle to be flush on one side as they dry.
There are many different ways to press flowers - perhaps the most traditional being between the pages of a book. Using this method, it’s important to remember to initially press your flower in folded scrap paper before you press it in the book. Pressing it directly into the book could damage book pages. Once the flower is prepared inside the pages, add weight on top of the closed book to keep pressure bearing down on the flowers. Every few days, the inside paper can be changed to keep the flowers drying. After a few weeks, the flowers should be completely dry and finished.
If you don’t want to wait quite so long, you can also press flowers by ironing them gently between papers without using water or steam. You can also ‘press’ flowers in the microwave by either using a special kit made for this purpose or by putting the flowers and paper between pieces of cardboard and then two ceramic tiles. Then, on a low temperature, the flowers can be microwaved for 30 to 60 seconds at a time, with a cooling period after each round, until they are dry.
Finished flowers make wonderful decorations and are an easy addition to many different crafts. They can be framed or taped onto bookmarks, glued between glass tiles to make coasters, and added to candles. They can be added to greeting cards or gift tags through decoupage, and even included in homemade potpourri. Check out these fun ideas to use up your pressed beauties.
At our Trilogy campuses, we have many beautiful flowers (thanks to our Campus in Color program) carefully cultivated by our residents. Our gardens provide wonderful opportunities for a lazy afternoon stroll or a chat with friends on the patio. If you would like to see the results of our residents’ gardening efforts, we welcome you to visit our campus for a tour. We’d be happy to let you snip a flower to press!