Drying and pressing flowers is making rather a comeback. For many years it was regarded as old fashioned. There was hardly any choice of dried flowers and what there was just gathered dust in the corners of people’s living rooms.
And as for pressed flowers, that was something you did at school in your craft lessons.But now both crafts have become rather trendy. Pressed flowers in particular are great for enhancing cards, decorating boxes and in picture frames, while dried flowers have earned respectability in the floral world.
In all honesty it does help that dried flowers are widely available both in the floral wholesalers and larger department stores, and, they are also very reasonably priced. There are now many specialist growers in this country which produce and dry all sorts of flowers and foliage, so over the last few years prices have come down.
Saying that, there probably is nothing more special than drying out flowers that mean something to you – perhaps a wedding bouquet or a single red rose given on Valentines Day. You will have an everlasting reminder of a treasured moment.
And because more and more people are turning their hands to crafts, pressing flowers have become a perfect past-time and in some cases a very lucrative business.
Dried material has a very “country” feel and looks perfect in baskets, tied with raffia or arranged in a treasured vase or colourful jug. It does however appear to fit into most décor. Vases of seed heads or dried lavender look equally at home in a modern minimalist flat and a country cottage.
You are also seeing more dried flowers at weddings – in head-dresses and bouquets. Wonderful for a florist as they can be prepared in advance, but also perfect to be kept as a permanent reminder.
Drying fruit is also making a bit of a comeback. Slices of apples, lemons, limes and oranges can be dried in a warm airing cupboard and some people even use their ovens! Dried fruit is particularly lovely in Christmas arrangements and on festive wreaths.
How to Dry Flowers
The most popular method (and the easiest) way of drying flowers is air drying. Suitable flowers include, lavender, cornflowers, statice, mimosa, roses, peonies, achillea, celosia, pussy willow and eryngium, while foliage includes all types of grasses, seed heads and certain types of fruit.
For best results you should air dry in a warm dark room, or even the garden shed.
- Put the flowers in small bunches and secure with elastic bands to prevent any of the flowers from falling out
- You can hang lengths of twine or wire across the room and attach the bunches of flowers upside down. This ensure the flowers keep their general shape and don’t droop
- Depending on the conditions inside the drying area you can leave the flowers for anything between two and six weeks
- Once the flowers are dried spray them with a fire retardant which you can buy from floral wholesalers.
Traditionally people used to press flowers between blotting paper which was then placed between the pages of a large, heavy old book – generally the Bible. You can still do that or you can buy purpose made flower presses from your local craft shop. Either way you will lose some colour in the flowers. Pale colours end up with a slight brown tint while darker colours get darker again.
How to Press Flowers
- Ensure that your petals, leaves etc are in good condition and are very fine
- If you are pressing flowers to create a picture, remove and press all the petals, stems and leaves separately and reassemble once done
- Whether you use a book to press flowers or a flower press, it generally takes around two weeks to fully flatten and preserve the flowers
- When they are ready, they will be very delicate so store between sheets of tissue paper.
Suitable flowers for pressing include: violets, roses and rose petals, freesias, narcissi, jasmine and primroses, while foliage such as ivy, Acer, leatherleaf and types of fern is perfect.