A unique way to use your dried pressed flowers, leaves etc is to incorporate them in your next papermaking session as an *inclusion. Imagine your own picked wilderness swirling in the mix waiting to randomly fall onto your next newly formed sheet of handmade paper.Try *embedding a melody mix of delicate flowers &/or leaves, fine sea grasses, tiny feathers, dragonfly wings...as an arrangement which is then entwined between the paper fibre layers & pressed. They could also be incorporated in *creative pulp moulds or added as a decoration to the final layers of a *papermache bowl.
How to Press your Flower & Nature Specimens
Dual ~ Paper /Flower Press
Preserve the memories from your nature walks in your handmade paper!
Pressed flowers are extremely fragile, so slow & carefully attention is needed when removing the delicate specimens. If any have become stuck to the paper, slip a thin knife (nail file) underneath to help release them so they don’t tear.
Flowers etc can be stored in a box between layers of tissue paper in a warm, dry place until ready for use. If storing over a longer period place on acid free paper if possible.
There are endless possibilities in ways to use your beautiful pressed flowers & nature specimens. Try embellishing cards, decorating bookmarks or designing creative stationery.
Plants & flowers are at their best in the morning after the morning dew has dried. If you pick them too late they may have wilted slightly. Gather them just before they reach the full bloom stage & remember that some flowers open more as they dry.Press as soon as possible after picking, if you are unable to press your plants right away, put them in a zip-lock bag & place in the refrigerator, never freeze. Blow into the bag before sealing; the carbon dioxide will help your flowers stay fresh.
Botanicals: A simple rule to follow when collecting is that the thinner the flower the faster it will dry, thus preserving its colour better. If storing pressed flowers for later use, blooms with more intense colours offer the best results, others may fade over time. Choose perfect flowers that are naturally flat like Queen Anne lace, chrysanthemum, daisy, forget-me-nots, geraniums, pansy, violets etc. Ferns & foliage such as grasses, weeds & fronds look nice when arranged around pressed flowers & coloured leaves, seeds & bark also contrast well as does many herbs such as mint & sage leaves. It really is exhilarating being outdoors in nature, collecting tiny wildflower when in season then seeing these awesome specimens at the completion of the pressing process.
Let your flowers etc have their space! Very carefully mount your collection on the tissue paper, making sure that they are spread out & not touching or over lapping each other. Once they are dry, the flexibility of the tissue paper makes the removal & transferring of your botanicals easier. Never glue or tape plants or parts to the paper.
The absorbent materials used to remove the moisture will need replacements over time. Dry thoroughly in between use & store flat.
The main purpose of pressing flowers & other nature specimens is to remove moisture from the plant. Your gathered collection is sandwiched between wooden boards which are tightened regularly. Firstly your plants are arranged on tissue paper with absorbent materials either side, blotting paper & cardboard, layer upon layer till your press is loaded.
The leaver handles are tightened in a gradual process to prevent your stock from being damaged. It is important to turn the leavers alternately maintaining an even pressure throughout as the cover boards are lowered. Over time in the days & weeks following, the tightening of the leavers continues, exerting sufficient pressure to slowly extract the moisture from your contents & in turn flatten the specimens until completely dried. Drying time will vary depending on the temperature, humidity & type of flower/nature specimen you have in your press. Small flowers may be dry within four to five days. Larger flowers could take as long as eight days. Properly dried the flowers will be stiff & papery.
How to use as your Flower Press
A walk in nature discovering the many wonderful pockets of wilderness that exist can turn into a fun adventure indentifying botanicals to press. Keep your eyes wide & let your imagination be your guide!