One of the easiest ways to create keepsakes from your garden is to make pressed flowers and leaves. There are four common ways to do this, but it depends on the quality of the flowers and leaves you choose.
The flowers you want to press should either be freshly bloomed or still in buds. If you take them from your garden, do it in the morning after the dew has evaporated from the blooms and buds.
You Must Prep Your Flowers First
Leaves don’t usually need any prep work. You can skip this section if your goal is to press leaves only.
Flowers are a different story. You’ll need to have them prepped for this process to work. The good news is that you can store prepped flowers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days if you don’t have time to press them immediately.
To prep a flower, follow these five steps.
- Cut the stem of the flower at a 45-degree angle.
- Remove all the low leaves from the stem.
- Place the flower in a vase with 1 teaspoon of sugar for 4-6 hours.
- Split any thick flowers, like a rose, down the middle.
- Lay the flower flat-side down on the paper for pressing.
Once you’ve prepped the flowers, here are the pressing methods to use.
Best Ways to Press Flowers and Leaves
Your best option is a wooden flower press. Take two plywood rectangles that are identical, then drill holes in each corner, so that they are properly aligned. Place the flower or leaf between two pieces of paper to make a sandwich. Then use bolts and wingnuts to tighten the wooden press together. Change the paper sheets every 3-4 days to prevent browning. It will take up to 4 weeks for a successful press.
Books are a popular way to press flowers and leaves. Take the biggest book you can find that you don’t mind having the pages becoming wrinkled – like the phone book. Create a paper sandwich with the flower or leaf, then place the item inside the book. Then use more books to create the pressing action. You’ll need to swap out the sheets every 3-4 days here too, with the process taking up to a month.
If you want your pressed flowers or leaves to be useful immediately, then you can iron them. Use a hot iron, not a steam iron, for the pressing work. You’ll want to flatten the flower or leaf first between two pieces of paper. Use the low heat setting on the iron, pressing on the top paper sheet for 15 seconds or less. Do not move the iron like you’re removing wrinkles from a shirt. Then wait for 15 seconds to have the paper cool before repeating. Continue until the flower is dry and stiff.
Pressed flowers and leaves are very delicate, so take care when removing them from whatever pressing method you’ve used. When you follow these steps, you’ll be able to press the items from your garden successfully.