Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dried Flowers

Nature's beauty abounds on the hillsides and along the roadways. This is a picture of the sage in bloom among the other herbs in the garden. Its soft floral petals are a lovely shade of pink.

The Queen Anne's lace floats gently in the wind. I can see where it gets its name because the tiny floral botanicals look like bits of lace. As I touched the blossoms they felt like velvet in my hands. What beautiful gifts nature provides!

Tracie Lyn gave me this fantastic botanical press. It is a very large size ( 12"x 24") which allows me to dry many florals all at one time. I thought I would share a few tips on drying flowers in case any of you have thought you would like to dry some florals from your garden. You do not need a special press. A very heavy book will do. In fact, that is what Tracie Lyn and I used for many years. Purchase a tablet of NewsPrint paper at Michael's or Hobby Lobby. I would tell you to use a newspaper but the ink may rub off on your florals. Rather than cut the NewsPrint paper - fold it to a size that will fit in the book. That way you can reuse.

Then grab a sack and a pair of old scissors and go to your garden of favorite flowers. As you cut your florals leave a stem on them. You can always cut it off later once the floral has dried. With the stem left on you can use it that way if you want the look of the stem. Depending on the floral you may not be able to leave a stem. That is fine. Once I have the sack full of florals I start placing the blossoms between the NewPrint folds.

Gently lay each floral separately and press it flat with your hand so you can see it will show the petals once it is pressed. Once the paper is full place it inside the book. Then repeat this until the book is very full. It is okay if the stems stick out a little. After the book is as full as you can get it, close it and press the book covers together very tightly. You can then place it on the bottom of a stack of heavy books or you can have someone hold it together tightly and wrap a couple of times with masking tape to secure it. Set the book on the shelf for a few weeks

This is Queen Anne's lace that is waiting to be pressed. Notice the large lacy floral. I will lay these on the NewsPrint paper then take my hand and press the floral flat to the paper, cover the floral with paper, press all as flat as possible then slip into the book.

These are lovely florals and sage blossoms that I pressed about 3 weeks ago.

Here are some helpful hints:

1. Pick the florals in the afternoon or evening. If you pick them in the morning they will have dew and can be more difficult to dry or the excess moisture may form mold then you will need to discard them.

2. Use a used gift bag with handles so that it will hang it on your arm then both hands are free for cutting.

3. Use white paper plates or napkins to dump the freshly picked botanicals. This is a hint from Tracie Lyn. This enables you to see the small insects that came in with the botanicals.

3. Be sure to have a very heavy weight on the book that you are using for the pressing or tape very tightly. You want to ensure the botanicals are flat as possible.

4. Handle extremely carefully once they are dried as they crumble easily.

5. Store the dry botanicals in a box with a layer of paper between each layer of botanicals. I use printer papers.

6. Keep an open mind when collecting the florals. Sometimes very small blooms on bushes make the prettiest pressed flowers. Also, some flowers have very small individual blossoms that form the larger flower. I cut each blossom then I have some very small florals for projects.

7. If you want to make a press: Take corrigated cardboard and use between each of the NewsPrint. This allows for air flow. Here is how to layer: Corrigated cardboard, NewsPrint (with florals), Corrigated cardboard, NewsPrint, etc. Then weight down with something heavy. If you want to make a wooden top and bottom; cut 2 each 1/2 inch thick pieces of plywood (one for the top and one for the bottom.) The layers of corrigated cardboard and NewsPrint are sandwiched in between and wrapped tightly.

Tracie Lyn and I will be bringing many Missouri and Kansas botanicals for incorporating into your projects.

Art Unraveled is only 5 weeks away and we are very excited to meet all of you!


Doreen G said...

Thank you for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment-- much appreciated

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...


I can't WAIT to see them... SAVE ME a few Pretties....


Deb Silva said...

These are gorgeous!
Thanks for the inspiration, (and your kindness)!!

Dianne said...

Thankyou for all of the wonderful hints on drying flowers - they really are so special that we should preserve them. Wish I was going to Art Unraveled too!!!

Maija said...

Thank you for the amazing tutorial, Marylin! Unfortunately, I can't grow many pretty flowers in the desert!
I can't wait to see you at Art Unraveled!