Pressed flowers are a wonderful way to add a lasting touch to your wedding decor! You can use them on invitations, place cards or to embellish pictures, your initials etc. And they can be done weeks AHEAD of time.
The flowers in the picture above are larkspur. They come in purples, lavenders, whites and pinks, and they will be coming into bloom in the Raleigh/ Cary area in the next few weeks. A good source for them would be flower vendors at your local Farmer's Market.
The first step is to remove the flowers and the ferny leaves and even the buds from the stems. Be sure to separate the flowers and lay them face down on several layers of paper such as newspaper. I also include the foliage and the flower buds- try to keep the flowers from touching each other. I cut the newspaper to fit my flower press, but you can put several layers of paper between the covers of a large heavy book. After you have added all the flowers you would like to use, cover them with several more layers of paper.
If you are using a large book, close the top cover over the papers and add some other books on top of this book so that the flowers will be pressed. I have a flower press that my husband made years ago by drilling holes in the four corners of two pieces of 12 x 12" plywood and adding 4 inch long bolts. I cut cardboard pieces that fit between the plywood boards and this is where I place the newspaper layers. I have about ten pieces of cardboard in my flower press and this allows me to press multiple layers of flowers. There are also flower pressing kits available at craft stores and online.
The picture above shows a gathering of new and old pressed flowers- I believe the pink larkspur is at least a year old.
I usually leave the flowers in the press for about two weeks, and then I inspect them to see if they are dried. If not, I close the press back up for a few more days. When they are ready to remove, I gently peel them off the newspaper and store them in a 2-4" tall cardboard box between sheets of paper. They will keep their color for about two years if stored in the dark.
Some of the best flowers for pressing in addition to larkspur, are pansies. Purples, oranges, and yellows hold their color the best. Blue and lavenders will fade, but are great if you only need the color for about six months.
The flowers on this letter "P" are purple larkspur and blue salvia- these are bedding plants that bloom from summer through fall.
The letter "S" has a yellow pansy, a red salvia floret and a larkspur bud.
Other flowers that are good for pressing are blue hydrangeas, baby oak leaves, red and purple verbena florets and dainty rose buds. For the rose buds, cut the flowers in half and put the cut side of the flower face down to press. Be sure to press foliage as well- pansy leaves, larkspur leaves and silvery leaves of Dusty Miller are some that press well.
Flowers may be added to papers with tiny dabs of white glue.
Please let me know if you have any questions- just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.