How to Press and Frame Flowers
An Excellent Gift
For an upcoming wedding, I have been struggling to find the perfect gift for the soon-to-be-married couple. When it comes to gifts, I take an honest amount of time to find something that will be both unique to whom I am gifting it to yet also useful, so the act of finding a gift with a perfect harmony of the two quickly becomes a labor of love. Because I know the couple personally, I want to gift them something more thoughtful than the typical toaster or dinnerware set.
After brainstorming, I recalled the memory of pressed flowers as a frequent gift from my grandmother when I was younger, and her gifts always felt purely personal. I decided pressing flowers would be perfect! The couple met in California, moved to Arizona, and will be moving once again to Tennessee while the groom works toward his masters degree in business. I will be framing the state flower of each state they have lived in and will be traveling to, as a reminder of "home".
This idea is just one of many. It could be a similar gift to someone you know who is traveling often and/or is missing their home state. Research a particular state flower and visit a local nursery to see if the flower is in stock. There are an enormous range of floral species that can relate to a specific place. Get creative! Brainstorm a favorite place of someone you know and research the types of flowers that are local to an area they identify with. You will be pleasantly surprised that most flower varieties can be found just about anywhere (unless they are very indigenous to the area).
Pressing flowers can also add color and character to any room. Don't stress too much on the perfect flower. Any flower will make a wonderful gift.
The Art of Flower Pressing
Flower and plant pressing is a wonderful way to capture the feeling of a season or even a particular day. A walk in your garden evokes certain feelings, often of calmness and tranquility. Even a walk down your neighborhood in search of flowers will remind you of the bountiful nature that surrounds you. It is sometimes disheartening when a flower dies, or the spring and summer months turn into winter and the flowers soon disappear. Flower pressing is a beautiful and effective way to keep that spring feeling alive.
The first step to pressing flowers is to select and pick the flowers you would like to press, and this involves a stroll through your garden, neighborhood, or a flower nursery. It's best to have an image in your mind of the type of flower or plant you would like to press, however, an image can be conjured up the moment you see the plant(s) or flower(s) of your choice. What are your favorite color combinations? How do these colors make you feel?
For this DIY project, the end result is open-ended and the outcome will be different for everyone. If you like minimal art, pressing a rose or an orchid would be a good idea. If you love color, pressing a variety of small and colorful flowers creates a fun and abstract outcome. Although it does help to have an idea, flower pressing is not always so predictable. The results will vary, but this is what makes flower pressing such an intriguing form of art! The best part to this project is that there are no limitations. Don't be afraid. You have the freedom to pick apart stems and petals to create something totally unique and never done before.
What You Will Need
- Flowers or plants. These can be found in your own yard, or if the flower/plant is more specific, a plant/flower nursery.
- A flower press. You can usually buy these at craft stores or online, but if you can't find one the alternative is to use a thick book. However, flower presses allow for more adjustment.
- Tissue or blotting paper: Usually this will come with a flower press. It is necessary to place your flowers or plants between the tissue/blotting paper to sustain its shape and color.
- Frame(s). I used three 5x7 frames for my project but you can choose the frame size based on your creative needs.
- Optional: Floral adhesive
This is just one of many flower presses available online. This is very similar to the flower press I used for my project.
How to Use a Flower Press
Once you have found and picked the flower(s) or plant(s) you would like to frame, make sure to promptly press the flowers before they wilt. Most flower presses include blotting paper. It is important to press the plant or flower you have chosen gently between the two papers to keep its shape. Once the plant or flower is placed properly between the two pieces of paper, place that in between two pieces of cardboard. It is recommended to avoid moisture or overlapping. Depending on your flower press, there may be conflicting instructions on the next step, so I recommend following the instructions included. Most often, a flower press has two wooden slates with holes in each corner for wing nuts, that can be used to loosen and tighten the press. When you are satisfied with your arrangement, tighten the wing nuts on the press and leave your arrangement in the press for at least a week or more, tightening the wing nuts each couple of days.
Framing Your Flowers
Once your flowers are fully pressed (for a month at most), it is time to mount them. I used a 5x7 frame to mount my flowers, but the choice is up to you on the sizing of your frame. I used black card stock to use as the background of my flowers. First, I deconstructed the frame. Second, I placed the flowers face-down on the frame. Make sure the flowers are arranged how you want them, then (optional) use floral adhesive sparingly on the back of the flowers. Finally, insert the paper you would like (or clear framing/window mat/glazing depending on the frame you purchase) into the frame. Place the backing board in and secure the frame. Allow the glue on the flowers to set before moving the frame as it may take time to dry. There you have it, a beautiful new piece of art for your walls or furniture!
More Than One Way to Gift Pressed Flowers
Framing is just one way to do this project. There are numerous techniques and styles that compliment your pressed flowers in addition to framing them. Pressed flowers make excellent decoration to any medium. Scrapbooks are a great place to place them as they often add context or a dash of color. Another fun idea is to use your pressed flowers on stationery or greeting cards — providing an inviting and personalized way to add flare and charm. Candles are another creative medium to place your pressed plants on, and may also add an unexpected scent. Another fun and simple decoration is sun catchers. Simply use two pieces of glass and seal the edges (with metal or plastic) with a chain or metal for hanging.
There are several ways to play around with pressed plants and flowers. What is your favorite?