My youngest daughter, Lily, gave me a flower press for Mother's Day 2021 but I wasn't sure where to start as I'd never pressed flowers before. However after watching a couple of 'how to' videos and reading a few online articles I had a go at pressing my first flowers. I chose to press violas because I had some lovely blooms in my garden and I'd read that they press well and hold their colour. When I opened up my press a few weeks later to check on my violas I was really pleased with the results and from then on I was hooked.
Over the summer I went on to press hundreds of flowers from my garden, it's really been a case of trial and error, I've had a lot of successes but also a lot of failures. However by the end of the growing season I had produced enough pressings to create some botanical art which I now frame and sell to raise money for Make 2nds Count, a charity which supports people living with secondary breast cancer.
Here's a selection of my botanical art, all featuring flowers and foliage from my garden.
I can highly recommend having a go at flower pressing; it's a very mindful activity, it's a low-cost craft and it's a great way to enjoy your cut flowers long after the season has ended.
Here's what I've learnt along the way - my top tips for pressing flowers:
Choose flowers when they are at their best and freshest.
Select flowers and foliage which aren't too dense, roses for example are difficult to press because they hold too much moisture, while delicate flowers like pansies press well.
Ensure the flowers and foliage are dry before pressing, if they are damp they will rot in the press.
You can't beat pressing flowers using the traditional method - place the flowers and foliage between 2 sheets of blotting and press using heavy books or a wooden flower press.
Don't be afraid to deconstruct your flowers and foliage while positioning on the blotting paper, for example if I am struggling to get the flowers and the leaves to lie flat I will detach the leaves and press them separately. I'll then reconstruct the flower and it's leaves when I'm putting together my botanical art.
Check your pressing after 5 days and, if the blotting paper under the flowers is damp, adjust the flowers to a dry spot. Most flower pressing advice suggests you leave your pressed flowers for at least two weeks before opening up your press however once I started checking and repositioning after 5 days, I have had a lot more successes.