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PART ONE: HOW TO PRESS FLOWERS

Updated: May 16

Coronavirus has caused us all to adapt to a strange way of life. We are all in uncharted territory and I truly hope we can navigate our way through this pandemic as quickly as possible. Trying to find any silver linings through this pandemic seem impossible but for many it has given us time to reflect and to pause. I think it has also been a time for self discovery and for taking up or reminding ourselves of earlier passions, activities and hobbies. After the initial shock of our busy wedding and events calender pretty much disappearing overnight we have spent the time developing our pressed flower range. We originally expanded into pressed flower art works whilst trying to address a more sustainable practice of floristry. Since then it has grown in to one of our favourite parts of our business and we create bespoke artworks, sell pieces on our shop and make large scale pressed flower installations for commercial and private use. We wanted to give our readers our top tips and a step by step guide to pressing your own flowers at home. Hopefully when we all leave lockdown you will have acquired one more skill and there will be a few more homemade art works on your walls!


WHICH FLOWERS ARE THE BEST FOR PRESSING?


The joy of pressing flowers is that you can have a go at pressing absolutely anything! We find that sometimes the most unexpected plants press so beautifully and surprise us! We are always scouring the grounds for beautiful foliage, leaves and flowers to press. These really range from foraged weeds to flowers that have been returned after a wedding and that we hate to waste.


Some of our favourite flowers to press through the seasons are:


SPRING - Iris petals, pansies, forget me not, violet, fern, fritillaria, hellebore, tulip

SUMMER - Astrantia, rose petals, scabiosa, nigella, carnations, delphiniums, geum, sweet peas

AUTUMN - Diablo physiocarpus, chocolate cosmos, dahlia petals, wild grasses, geranium, chrysanthemum, crocosmia, trailing jasmine

WINTER - Eucalyptus, trailing ivy, pine, ranunculus petals, anemone


DOES THE SIZE OF THE FLOWER AFFECT HOW WELL IT PRESSES?


We find that smaller flowers or the petals from a larger flower give the best results. In our experience the fleshier the flower or foliage the harder it will be to press, this is because it holds too much moisture. These often go mouldy and lead to very disappointing pressed flower reveals!


WHERE CAN YOU PICK FLOWERS AND WHAT ARE THE RULES?


If you are lucky enough to have a garden, excellent! You can slowly experiment with what presses well through the seasons! For those who want to pick flowers in nature please abide by the following rules:

CULTIVATED FLOWERS - It is illegal to pick any flowers grown by councils (such as in parks and on roundabouts and verges) or on private properties (unless you have had prior permission).


WILDFLOWERS - Picking wildflowers in Britain has caused much confusion and controversy over the years. If you want to pick leaves and flower stems this is absolutely allowed however it is illegal to uproot (dig up) any wild plant without permission from the landowner. In addition you cannot pick any part of a flower that is in a site of conservation such as an SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest). For more information and clarity Plant life gives a very clear summary please click here



MINDFUL PICKING IN NATURE


We are in awe of nature and all its beauty so please respect it and preserve it! Please pick mindfully and in moderation!

WHAT KIT LIST DO YOU NEED TO PRESS FLOWERS?


- Blotting paper

- A Flower Press ( You can buy these or I have made mine myself with ply board, a drill and wingnuts. If you don’t have a flower press using hard back books will also do)

- Newspaper

- Cardboard

- Scissors

- A bag or basket for collecting your flowers to press

WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO PRESSING FLOWERS?


STEP ONE – Grab a basket or bag if you have any florist scissors fab!


STEP TWO – If you’re picking from your garden observe each plant and assess whether you think they will be good for pressing. I usually think about size, thickness and colour in advance before you pick them to insure minimal wastage! If you’re out in nature follow the rules on where you can pick whilst also being mindful!



We also find it easiest to decide on what you are hoping to make ahead of picking your flowers. This allows you to fill up a basket or bag with this in mind and helps to avoid wastage!



STEP THREE – Flora and Forna identification (if this is your thing!)


We love trying to learn the names of the plants and foliage we are pressing. Some of our favourite books for helping are:


- RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers

- Collins Wild Flower Guide

- Wild About Weeds


STEP FOUR – Pressing your flowers


1) PRESSING WITH A FLOWER PRESS


- Open up your press

- Cut down bits of blotting paper to the size of your press

- Most presses have cardboard included. Please check that yours does. If it doesn’t cut down bits of cardboard to the size of your press.

- Lay a piece of cardboard

- Lay a piece of newspaper

- Lay a piece of blotting paper

- Place your flowers on the blotting paper. Insure you are not overcrowding the page and deconstruct the flowers if necessary.

- Lay another piece of blotting paper on top of the pressed flowers, please take care that they don’t get knocked and bruised

- Repeat the process until your press is full

- Close up your press ensuring the bolts are tightly done up


2) PRESSING WITH BOOKS


- Lay a piece of cardboard

- Lay a piece of newspaper

- Lay a piece of blotting paper

- Place flowers on to the blotting paper. Insure you are not overcrowding the page and deconstruct the flowers if necessary.

- Lay another piece of blotting paper on top of the pressed flowers, please take care that they don’t get knocked and bruised

- Repeat the process until you have pressed all your flowers

- Choose heavy books to put on top of your pressed flowers, this will allow you to achieve the same results as a Flower Press.



STEP FIVE - AVOID OPENING UP YOUR PRESS TOO EARLY!


Pressing flowers always takes longer that I expect! Allow between two/three weeks then open up your press!

PART TWO: CREATING FLORAL ARTWORKS WITH YOUR PRESSED FLOWERS WILL FOLLOW THIS BLOG POST SHORTLY...



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Contact: info@flowerandpress.com

 

Flower and Press

5 Empson Street

Cornelius Drebble House

Studio ESS04

London

E3 3LT

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