Ask a Question Answered

from: Jacque

Your Question: Do you have a suggestion for a laminator that works well with pressed flower crafts such as cards and bookmarks?

Hot laminating using laminating film sheets is good for bookmarks when you want a little sturdiness to your product. There are many types of hot laminators on the marketplace at various price points from about $20 to well over $100 and the models change frequently. There are hot and cold laminators, but it seems the hot laminators do the best job of sealing for bookmarks. Some folks have found great laminators at the lower prices but sometimes those just aren’t strong enough to do a good job on pressed flower pieces, leaving bubbles or parts of the item unsealed or inconsistent sealing. It seems you get what you pay for! Also, you might want to try using iron-on vinyl on cards as sturdiness is not necessary in a card. Types of iron-on vinyls are Dry Tac and Thermoweb, which can be purchased online.

We are not able to recommend any one particular laminator because product lines change so quickly. Product comparisons are the types of questions that we discuss regularly in our discussion group, and we have many resources available in our members’ files that deal with these topics. You might want to consider joining the guild in order to benefit from the most recent experiences of our members in this area.


from: Lim

Your Question: May I check if I can press flowers by covering them with cloth and ironing at low heat? I tried that as well as pressing flowers using a heavy book. The book method has taken weeks and the flowers have not dried fully. I got dried flowers within minutes of ironing. Is there any side effect?

It’s possible to use an iron to press certain flowers. Leaves might work well that way, as well as possibly very flat flowers like pansies. There’s not too much known about this method of pressing or its long term effects, so you might experiment with trial and error. Chances are if it results in a pretty smoothly pressed item, it will work just fine with no adverse effects. However, most pressers use a variety of methods of pressing to achieve the best results for all types of botanicals. Heavy books are just one way of pressing botanicals. These days, there are a multitude of presses that are very effective. One is an air dry press you can make yourself with layers of air conditioning form, sturdy needlepoint canvas and air conditioner plastic grid that can be cut to size; even pressure is put on the botanicals but the airy grids used allow free air flow that speeds the drying process, especially if you put the press in the sun or a warm dry spot (some pressers swear by putting them in back window of their cars)!. Another popular new method is to use microwave presses; there are a couple different types, but one popular one is the Microfleur. The botanicals are pressed in a matter of minutes. The fast drying of these methods is thought to result in better color retention by some. You can purchase these types of presses online.

Product comparisons and discussions of techniques are the types of questions that we discuss regularly in our discussion group, and we have many resources available in our members’ files that deal with these topics. You might want to consider joining the guild in order to benefit from the most recent experiences of our members in this area.


from: Jenny Brooks

Your Question: I used to use Mod podge for sticking the flowers. Can I just use PVA glue?

Because Modge Podge is a decoupage medium, it can be used to stick flowers down, but it is meant also to be a protective coating as well. Modge Podge is not the stickiest of mediums to use to glue flowers down, so you might have to wait some time for it to adhere. Many pressed flower artists use white glue like Elmer’s acid free glue or a tacky glue like Ailene’s, that latter being a quicker bond, which may or may not be desirable. PVA glue is probably okay to use as well. The type of glue you use is based on preference; there’s no right or wrong glue to use, although you may want to gravitate to acid free glues.


from: Kathy Arnold

Your Question: Can dry fall leaves with your press?

We are not sure which press you are referring to, but in any event, leaves may be dried in any type of press. Leaves are one of the easiest types of botanicals to press; even an old phone book works well.


from Carli

Your Question: I want to adhere pressed flowers to a glass surface and am trying to research the best way to seal the flowers. Any tips on best adhesives and sealants that will be waterproof? Any non-toxic solutions?

You might want to look at "Download Free Classes" under our "Newcomers" tab. The second class listed is "Flower on Glass". That will give you basic instruction on how to adhere botanical materials to a glass surface. It does not list a sealant as a final coat, but most spray acrylic sealers can be used. I doubt that they are "non-toxic" however. We should have a more detailed class available in our store with Holiday ornaments soon. And this is the type of question we discuss regularly in our Guild Discussion Group, so you might want to consider joining the Guild.


from Susan

Your Question: When creating a book mark or card, for example, do you laminate or cover the flowers to protect them? What kind of glue is recommended? Also, do you recommend any particular type of paper to which you will glue them. Are their classes available somewhere?

Pressed flowers should always be sealed in some way if you wish to preserve the appearance they have at the time you make the item. When making a card, you can use iron-on vinyl, like thermoweb or drytac. For bookmarks, most people laminate them, so they can stand up to being pushed into books repeatedly. Paper choice is up to the artist, but should be acid-free if you wish your art to last for a long time. For cards and bookmarks, a nice cardstock is fine. If you check under the "Newcomers" tab on the website, you will see that there are several projects offered there, including bookmarks, and we have many, many classes available in the "Store".


from Ellen

Your Question: I've experimented with dyeing white flowers blue. I've used both a brand of floral dye called "DipIt" and also some dry pigment that I purchased and mixed with alcohol. With both types of dye, my flowers turned out a slight turquoise. I was wanting a light sky blue. Can you give me any suggestions as to how best to dye flowers and to achieve a light sky blue? Thank you.

You might try the Absorbit floral dye. They have both an "Ice Blue" and a "Larkspur Blue" that might produce a less turquoise color. But dying flowers is a tricky process. These are the types of questions that we discuss regularly in our discussion group, and we have many resources available in our members files that deal with these topics. You might want to consider joining the guild in order to benefit from the experience of our members in this area..


from Julie

Your Question: I am a mosaic craftsperson and my husband has just bought me an old iron book press at an auction. I have done quite a lot of pressing of flowers - mainly poppies from northern France - in books, but after a period of time (and I have framed the pressed flowers), their color fades. I am not a professional artist and this is really a hobby but I would like some guidance on how to keep the color fresh as possible, over time, of the flowers I do press and would like to retain. I have in mind using some under glass within a mosaic piece.

Pressing in books or in presses with blotting paper was the time honored way to press flowers in the 19th century. While many still use these methods for some leaves and flowers, the disappointing loss of color makes them less desirable methods for retaining color. Microwave pressing or pressing with desiccant paper are methods that maintain color more effectively. If you were to use desiccant paper, you could still put it in your book press, since you will still need to apply pressure to flatten and squeeze out moisture properly. Some flowers and all greens will always lose color, so color enhancement is necessary for some items. Both pressing methods and color enhancement are topics that are covered in in-depth free classes that are available to all Guild Members, and are discussed often in our Guild Discussion group. So you might want to try joining the Guild to learn some pointers and discuss with others how they have handled these issues.


from Mary

Your Question: Hello WWPFG, I am glad to reconnect with you. I have been an inconsistent member since 2007. I would now like to reconnect consistently. My business name is Door County Botanicals, in Wisconsin. I have taken some of your classes: cottonwood, jewelry, stamps, painting crystal vases, light and shadow, masking and cartoon people. What do I need to do?

To join the Guild, click on the "Join Us" tab on the website. Follow the instructions to pay via paypal (membership within 48 hours) or by check (membership within 48 hours of our receipt of your check). After we receiver your payment, we will contact you with your log in information and also invite you to join our Yahoo discussion group.


from Lisa

Your Question: What are the factors that judges look for when judging Pressed Plants? What technical/craft skills are most important?

Two of the most important factors in preservation of pressed botanical materials are shape and color. Pressing your material in a pleasing shape, and using a pressing method that preserves color are very important. Also key is the absence of visible glue marks. This last is difficult to achieve in a challenging picture where you are using small pieces of plant material of differing widths and textures. Judges are also going to be evaluating how closely you have followed the instructions for the particular category of your submission. If they specify that painted backgrounds may not be used, then they will disqualify anyone who uses a painted background.


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