Pressing flowers, preserving nature

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I’ve recently rediscovered my battered old plastic flower press and scrap book (shown to the right) during a bit of a spring clean. Flicking through the scrapbook brought back so many happy memories. I had forgotten how I used spend hours foraging in the garden, then carefully sandwiching my finds between layers of kitchen roll. The hardest part was always the waiting. I would impatiently check their progress, peeking between the layers nearly every day. After a few weeks I could carefully open up my little press to see the final results of my handy work. This was followed by a joyous afternoon of crafting. Gluing all my pressed and dried specimens into my little scrapbook, onto the front of cards or into picture frames.

Sadly my plastic flower press is now well over ten years old and looking a bit worse for wear so when I saw a beautiful wooden one while out shopping, I took it as a sign to get back to this lovely little hobby. If you fancy giving it a go you don’t need a flower press to get started. I used to infuriate my mum by pressing flowers in kitchen roll between piles of her big heavy cook books when i ran out of room in my flower press. You just need to be careful that your layers of kitchen roll are thick enough to protect the books from the moisture leaving the flowers as they dry. It’s also worth periodically checking your flowers in case they aren’t drying out as expected. Sometimes if they are particularly high in moisture they can go mouldy before fully drying out.

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The possibilities of a flower press are endless; technically you can press just about any flower or foliage that's not to thick or woody. I do find that the flat faced flowers with thin petals are the most successful though and are a good place to start before getting more adventurous. Spring has finally arrived and there are beautiful little primroses popping up which are perfect for pressing. Viola’s are another favourite of mine as they come in a wide range of shapes, colours and sizes. They have lovely little flat faces and hold their colour well once dried. The little frame below is a group of Viola's I pressed last year and has bee hung in a window. If I had kept them in a book they would have kept their colours much better.

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Top Tips

1. Make sure you have permission to collect the flowers you wish to use. It's best not to take from the wild.

2. Always try to collect your flowers when the weather has been dry, the more moisture on them the longer it will take for them to dry out.

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3. When laying your flowers out into the press, make sure they aren't touching unless you want them to stick together.

4. If you're using books and kitchen roll as a press then make sure the books have a plasticised cover. Or use extra kitchen roll to protect the book from any excess moisture.

5. Check your flowers periodically to make sure they are not going mouldy.

6. Get Creative! Have lots of fun with your dried flowers. Put together landscapes, posies on thank you cards or fill a frame. Or if you're botanically minded create a book with Latin and common names to help you identify species in your garden. Just have fun with it :)

I hope this little blog has inspired you to give it a go and would love to see your creations. Either post them in the comments or tag me on Instagram @tytyddyn. Happy pressing.