Pressed flower prints are a beautiful way to decorate your home and they also make a great gift. Here, a florist explains how to make your own and shares her expert tips on how to ensure they last.
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A bouquet of fresh flowers is a foolproof way to spark joy in your life and liven up your home. The only issue with flowers is that they wilt and die, at best, within a couple of weeks and, at worst, after a few days in water.
Dried flowers are one way to remedy this, but there is actually a way to preserve the vibrancy and original appearance of fresh flowers, which has proved popular on Instagram this summer: flower pressing. Flower pressing is the simple act of preserving fresh flowers by applying pressure to them for a short period of time and displaying them in a frame.
It’s the perfect way to commemorate an anniversary or an event like a wedding – pressing petals from your bouquet to keep forever – and once you have pressed and framed your flowers, you can display them in your home or give them to friends as gifts.
“Pressing flowers gives them a new lease of life,” says Sarah Butler, a seasonal florist based in the Cotswolds and the founder of the floristry business The Flower Crowd. “Pressed flowers last forever. The colours might fade eventually but they will still look beautiful for years to come.”
Here, Sarah has shared her tutorial for pressing flowers, which requires minimal equipment and time, as well as her expert tips to ensure your pressed flowers feel unique to you and last as long as possible.
What you will need to create a pressed flowers print
- Sharp scissors
- Clear glue
- Small paintbrush
- Baking paper
- 6-8 heavy books (or a flower press)
- Glass frame
- Brown paper washi tape
How to create a pressed flowers print
- Pick fresh flowers from your garden or another outdoor space.
- Snip the stems off your flowers and place the heads of your flowers between two sheets of baking paper.
- Place two books on either side of the baking paper and stack the rest on top.
- Leave your flowers underneath the books for a couple of weeks. Check them after this time. Some of the flowers will go mouldy, which is normal. Simply discard the mouldy ones and re-stack your books, leaving them for 1-2 more weeks.
- After this time, use the tweezers to peel your flowers from the baking paper and transfer them to your glass frame
- Place a tiny dot of clear glue at the bottom of your flower using your paintbrush and place them on your glass frame.
Sarah’s expert tips for creating beautiful pressed flower designs
Choose seasonal flowers
“The most important thing you can do to make your pressed flowers the best they can be is choose seasonal flowers,” Sarah says. This is because the flowers will be at their most fresh and vibrant when they’re seasonal, which is the state you want to preserve them in.
Here are Sarah’s recommendations for seasonal flowers to press:
Summer – delphinium and lavender
Autumn – hellebores and grasses
Winter – delicate leaves and ferns
Spring – blossom and anemones
If you can’t find any of these flowers, Sarah suggests asking your local florist for more seasonal recommendations. “Buttercups are a great easy-to-find option in London in summer,” Sarah adds, for anyone who is struggling to find flowers.
Try and find delicate flowers
“Flowers that are too heavy and bulky won’t work for flower pressing because they will go mouldy,” Sarah says. When you’re picking your flowers, you should try and choose the most delicate flowers you can find.
If you can’t find delicate flowers, you can separate bigger flowers like hydrangeas and take the petals apart to press.
Pick your flowers at the end of the day
You want the flowers you press to be fairly dehydrated, according to Sarah. “Try to pick flowers at the end of the day because they will have been sat in the sun and will be at their most dehydrated at this point,” she says.
Sarah also suggests avoiding picking flowers after it has been raining, as these flowers will not press well and could go mouldy.
Opt for tonal colours
If you’re unsure what kind of design to create on your frame, Sarah says that you should opt for tonal colours to help bring everything together. “This is really easy if you’re picking flowers seasonally. In autumn, for example, the flowers you pick will mostly be of red and yellow tones,” she explains.
You can place as many or as few flowers as you would like on your frame. Sarah says that she likes to scatter her flowers on top of each other to add texture.
Sarah Butler, florist
Sarah is the founder of The Flower Crowd, a ‘wandering florist’ horse box that offers fresh flowers, many of which are home grown in her own garden, at different pop up locations all around the Cotswolds each week.
Images: Sarah Butler