As the summer season begins its final weeks, the gardens will start to peak and I can already feel the sadness that comes with saying goodbye to the blooms. The most classic way to "preserve" the memory of summer flowers is to press them. There are many beautiful flower presses available for purchase, but a very simple way to do this at home is to press them between old books. You may use salvaged books and press them directly between the pages, or you can slip paper into the pages to protect the book. I went the direct route as these are books I picked up for 50cents each last fall.
There are varieties of flowers that press better than others. Flowers that have thinner petals are great for pressing because they tend not to mold as easily. Flowers with flat faces, like daisy and violets press well as they tend to lie flat, face-down, to the page. Narrow flowers like lavender also hold up well when dried. Flat leaves like clover and ferns do very well also and add a nice bit of green. The best way to start is to remove the stems and unwanted leaves of larger flowers (like the daisy) and to place them face down on the paper making sure all petals are straightened and lying flat...
Leaves may be placed flat as well. Be sure not to overlap any of the specimens and to leave plenty of room between each one.
When things are placed and ready, gently close the book and lay flat.
Whether you've used one book or several it will be important to apply some steady pressure onto the book to keep the flowers and leaves tightly pressed. Placing the book under a heavy stack of other books works well, as does a nice rock. For a stack of books, an old leather belt is a great way to cinch them tightly together for safe-keeping.
After about 2-4 weeks your flowers will be dry. What kind of crafts and things would you make with your pressed flowers? I can't wait to see how my batch turns out. I have a feeling the ferns will be my favorite.
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