Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Harvest

Flower pressing. Who even does that anymore? Old frilly spinsters? Star-crossed lovers? Laura Ingalls Wilder?

There's something really lovely about flower pressing, I think. Who can help but sigh when opening up an old book and rediscovering last spring's violets? What is not to love about preserving one of nature's most beautiful, fleeting gifts in a piece of artwork to be enjoyed for years to come? Spring is upon us, the dogwoods and lilacs are in bloom, and this is your chance to steal a little everlasting springtime for your home.

What You'll Need:

Freshly picked flowers and/or foliage
White vinegar
Flower press or heavy books and two sheets of paper
Paper for backing
Acid-free glue
Sealer (I used Modge Podge)

1. Help yourself to some of the beautiful spring bounty. Keep in mind that the denser and bulkier the flower, the more difficult it is to press.

2. Dip your pickings in a bit of white vinegar and allow them to dry completely before pressing. This step is optional, but helps your flowers and leaves to keep their vibrant colors.

3. If you don't have a flower press, you are in good company. A healthy book collection is just as effective. Open up a book, place a sheet of paper on top of the page you open to and lay your flowers on that paper. This is the most critical step to the quality of your pressings. Carefully arrange your flowers so that they will flatten in an attractive manner and avoid overlap. Any flowers that overlap here will be forever stuck together just as you leave them, so this will limit your possibilities when it comes time to mount them. Place a second sheet of paper on top of your flowers. Sandwiching your flowers between two sheets of paper will protect the pages of your book from stains that flowers could leave behind. Gently close the book and weigh it down, placing it at the bottom of a pile of books.

4. I would leave your flowers to press for a few days at the very least, longer if the flowers are dense, roses for example. But you can also leave them in this stage for years if you want to.

5. When you are ready to mount them, they may stick to them paper you pressed them in between, so be very careful when uncovering them. 

6. Arrange your pressings on a backing paper until you are satisfied with your composition.

7. Dab tiny spots of acid-free craft glue (such as Sobo) on the paper where you want to mount your flowers, and gently press them onto the glue. For small pieces you may even want to use tweezers.

8. Using a small flat or filbert-tip paintbrush, gently seal your pressings by painting a thin, even coat of sealer (like Modge Podge) over the entire page.

9. Let dry. If the glue causes your paper to warp and roll, you may want to return your finished piece to the book for a final pressing. 

10. Frame, hang and marvel!

All the best,


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