Information About Pressed Flower Art for Beginners
Welcome to the website of the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild! If you are new to pressed flower art, please take time to browse our offerings for Beginners below. We offer Beginners’ Tips, suggestions on Presses for Beginners, some Pressed Flower Projects. We even offer free classes for download for your enjoyment! And if you are curious, you can Ask a Question, and one of our experts will answer for you.
Peruse the website, where you will see many landscapes, bookmarks and other items that our members have made with pressed botanical materials. Look at the Members' Showcases to see a wide variety of artwork by our members. And don’t forget to look in our Shop, where you will find many pressed flower classes for sale from Beginners’ to Masters’ level classes. If you find that you like what you see here, and think you’d like to enjoy the benefits of being a member of the guild, we invite you to join this welcoming and informative group!
If you are new to flower pressing, there are a few basic tips that can help tremendously as you are getting started.
Always press flowers when they are newly opened. Older flowers will look tired when they are pressed. Some thicker flowers that have blooms that last for several days, such as daisies, get thicker each day. So pick when they first open to get a flatter flower.
Gather small amounts of flowers at a time, and get them into your books or presses promptly.
Gather around mid-morning, when the dew has evaporated completely, and flowers have not yet begun to wilt in the mid-day sun.
In the beginning, concentrate on flatter flowers which press more easily. Most thicker flowers require advanced pressing techniques.
Flowers are affected by many conditions that are beyond our control, so sometimes a flower that presses well one year, will not press well the following year. Remember that some flowers simply do not press well, and some do not hold their color.
Presses for Beginners
Botanical material has two requirements for pressing: pressure and absorbency. Heat and or moving air can accompany these two essentials if desired, but without these two, you cannot press flowers and leaves.
You can press simply with any book that has absorbent pages (phone directories are popular) with evenly dispersed weight placed on top of them. The simplest method involves placing flowers on the pages, (not too densely, so as to allow for good absorbency), turn over about ¼ inch of pages, place flowers, etc., until the directory is full. Place a large book on top of the phonebook, and then add more weight (weights, or 3-4 large books will do). It will take about 4-6 weeks to dry your flowers, depending on local humidity levels.
Flowers can be stored in phone books as well.
The botanical press consists of two hard surfaces (usually wood) that are screwed together around a sandwich of blotting paper and flowers. The blotting paper provides the needed absorbency, and the screws provide the pressure. Presses are available from many online sources, as is the blotting paper. Flowers dry in 4-6 weeks and can be stored in the press if desired.
Microwave presses have been in use for several years now and are available online. They consist of a hard surface (plastic or hardwood) that is clipped together to provide pressure, and absorbent wool pads that absorb the moisture from the flowers. They use heat from the microwave to accelerate the process of evaporation, and usually work best when used for short blasts with cooling time in between. We place the almost dried flowers in a book or other types of press to dry completely. Color retention can be very good with some flowers; others become too thin and brittle in the microwave. Flowers are dry in a few hours and are usually stored in a different location after the drying process is complete.
There are other types of presses and more advanced methods of pressing. One of the perks of membership in the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild is having access to our Pressed Flower Database, where we list recommendations for pressing specific flowers.
Pressed Flower Project
If you have pressed some flowers successfully, and you are looking for something to do with them, here is a beginner project: Pressed Flower Bookmarks.
Choose a simple background and cut to the size of a standard bookmark. Starting from the back layer of flowers and moving to the top layer, lay your flowers out on the bookmark until you are satisfied with your design. At this point, you have two choices: you can either remove your design and try to recreate it as you glue the pieces onto the paper, or you can remove a few top items, and attempt to glue the bottom pieces by lifting portions and pushing glue under them. Be aware that your finished design will never be identical to your beginning design—it’s just a fact of life for pressed flower artists!
There are several types of glue that you can use to attach your flowers: botanical glue, Perfect Paper Adhesive, standard white glue (like Elmer’s), or rubber cement. There are also a variety of ways to apply glue, but the most common are brushes or toothpicks. Use very small amounts of glue. Some sturdier flowers can have the glue painted directly on them, and then be placed on the paper. Other flowers are so fragile that the glue must be applied to the paper and then the flower placed on top of it.
When you are finished with your design, you can have your bookmark laminated to protect your flowers, or you can cover the flowers with an iron-on laminate. Thermoweb and Drytac are two options for iron-on laminate, and can be purchased in craft shops or online.
All pressed flower artists have their favorite materials and their favorite techniques, and you will develop yours as you go along. Look at our class offerings (free and for purchase) for more ideas on pressed flower projects. Consider joining the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild in order to have access to member prices for classes, the Pressed Flower Database, and our unique monthly classes taught by artists from around the world.