When I was little, my mom would ask me to pick wildflowers, and we would put them into big books to dry. Then months later, I would look up a word for school, and this beautiful dried flower would be there. I remember (or this is a sweet made-up memory) that my mom would slip a few into a letter she was writing. She had this beautiful, even cursive; I love the idea that these dried flowers would drop out of the envelope. Fast forward, I watched an Instagram live video of @modernpressedflower; she was quietly pressing flowers in this simple press and explaining each step. I am fascinated. I bought a press.
A press is just two pieces of wood and long screws with wingnuts. Here is the link to the one I bought. I took flowers from the pots in my yard, from random bushes on my walks with my dog, and I bought a hydrangea bouquet because that is what Tricia from Modern Pressed Flower was pressing. I wanted to include pressed flowers in my September Hail the Snail Mail subscription. I had to preserve a lot of flowers!
I used two different methods; the first is from Tricia.
- Get a flower press; there are many out there, or make one.
- Choose soft, thin petal flowers or leaves. Avoid thick flowers, there are methods, but it gets more complicated. Hydrangeas picked off the bloom so that you have small petals is perfect.
- Cut 5 pieces of absorbant plain paper to fit your press and place the flowers on the paper. (I used plain newsprint) Then 5 more pieces of paper, then a piece of cardboard (the cardboard came with the press, the paper did not). Keep layering until the press is full.
- Set your calendar for three weeks, most of my choices dried in that time, but a few were still a little moist.
- Enjoy their details! I was amazed at the results. I needed a lot of flowers quickly, so I set up a dehumidifier in my closet and started another round. They dry in about a week!
Here is my second method found on the internet. Buy silica gel for crafting and bury the petals you want to dry. Set the microwave to half power and microwave for 1 minute, about three times. The petals will take on that texture depending on the size of your silica gel. They look unique but are very different than the traditional drying method. I pressed them in the regular press for 24 hours, and I was pleased with the results, but it was too time-consuming for the number of flowers I needed. Also, silica seems toxic, and the process should be slow.