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How to Press Flowers

How to Press Flowers

How to press and preserve flowers. Learn how to make a homemade mother's day card and guest soaps with flowers in them

It is spring and it is beautiful out, and if you are anything like us you might be wishing there were always this many flowers year round. Right now there are so many varieties blooming at once, in both our planted gardens as well as in the wild. If you wish you could put the garden on pause to enjoy the flowers for a longer period of time, then we think this craft is for you.

Pressed flowers are easy and fun to make, and there are so many ways to use them! Ranging from educational and scientific to artistic and crafty, we encourage you to try this out regardless of your background. This is the perfect time to get some flowers drying, so they will be ready for a delightful Mother’s Day card. For a DIY pressed Mother’s Day card, follow our tutorial below. 

This is also a great activity to do with children. If you are stuck at home with your kids and need to give them a project, it is easy to make this activity into something both educational and fun, that involves exercise. See our “Educational Nature Walk” activity and printable below. 

How to Press Flowers in a Book

Pressed flowers in a book

You will need:

  • Thick, heavy books
  • Fresh flowers
  • Plain paper (can use scrap paper)

This craft, popular in the Victorian era, and dating back to 16th century Japan, where it is known as oshibana, is a wonderful, approachable craft, and requires almost no tools or supplies. Just find yourself a book that you don’t care terribly about, (we suggest not using any collectible or expensive books as slight damage can occur to the pages) and some fresh flowers or leaves. Heavier books work best, such as dictionaries, phone books, and textbooks.

First, you will need to gather some flowers. When choosing flowers, make sure they are clean, free of bugs, and dry. The easiest flowers to press are those that are delicate and have somewhat of a flat structure. If you want to dry a larger flower, like a rose, you are better off picking the petals and drying them separately. The bulky center will not press well. You don’t need to collect fancy flowers, sometimes flowers that are considered weeds and have been overlooked for their commonality, can be very appealing to the eye when made into botanical art. This is a place where even the humble dandelion can shine. Pick some greenery too, because later it will be fun to contrast the flowers with pretty leaves. Cut flowers from a bouquet can also work well. We encourage you to experiment and get creative, we only suggest avoiding woody stems, as they do not press well.

Take care not to bruise the petals and leaves when picking the flowers and leaves. Lay them gently in a basket or on a tray. If this is your first time pressing flowers, we suggest picking several types, as each will dry in their own unique way and might surprise you. Sometimes the colors will change too, but that is part of the fun!

Once you have your flowers gathered, you are all set to start pressing. You will need some loose paper to protect the pages of your book. This can be scrap paper, or nice white pages. Open the book to about the middle. Lay down a single sheet of paper. Arrange the flowers on the page, leaving plenty of room around each flower or leaf. Once you close the book, the flower will be flattened and will take up more space than it does when it is three dimensional. When your flowers are arranged, place another piece of paper on top, and take care to close the book so as not to disturb the arrangement, close the book on the flowers. Repeat until all of your flowers are pressed into a book. If pressing more than a page worth at a time, be sure to leave a section of pages without flowers between each round for the best effect. Now, place some weight on top of the book. Other books, or a heavy box work well. Leave your flowers for 1-2 weeks.

Now is the moment you have been waiting for! Gently page through your book to find your pressed flowers. Check to make sure they are dry. If they seem damp, close the book, return the weight, and check on them in a few more days. You may want to use tweezers to lift them from the pages to avoid damaging them. As we mentioned in the beginning, there are so many things you can do with these. Decoupage, cards, laminated bookmarks, resin jewelry, DIY botanical body care, and so much more! Below are a few flower crafts we made, but we would love to see what you come up with on your own! 

Pressed flowers in a book

Mothers Day DIY Pressed Flower Card

homemade gift for mothers day, homemade mother's day card, handmade gifts

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Additional art supplies

Fold a rectangular paper in half, matching up the corners, and run your finger along the edge to make a nice crease. While even copy paper will work, you can have fun with this. Look around your house for scraps of wrapping paper, cut up kraft colored grocery bags, or scrapbook paper, old book pages. Using tweezers, play around with the arrangement of the pressed flowers until you find a composition that you like. Then, taking note of where you want to place them, lay down a thin layer of glue, and place the pressed flowers on the paper. Gently press the flowers down, so the entire surface adheres to the paper. Add decorations with colored pencils, pens, or stickers. Write a thoughtful note to your Mother and thank her for helping you grow!

Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap Bars

Pressed flowers in soap

Pressed flowers are super pretty in soap, especially in clear and lightly colored soap. If you have a silicone ice cube or baking mold around, they work great for making mini soap bars, which double as test samples. Play around with your arrangements, and the way different flowers and leaves react with the liquid soap. Once you find a combination that you like, you can make larger bars, or continue making cute little guest soap bars to give to friends, family or impress your guests when you host. They also make great mothers day gifts! 

Melt the soap, and pour a thin layer into the bottom of the mold. Let dry until tacky. Place dried flowers. Pour another thin layer and let harden, then pour your final layer. The purpose of this layering is to help prevent the flowers from floating to the in the liquid soap ( which will ultimately be the bottom of the soap bar).

Once the soap has cooled, using a sharp knife (and taking care not to cut yourself) trim the soap so it has a smooth shiny surface and you can more easily see the flowers. Nothing says Mothers Day like handmade soap with flowers you collected yourself! We are quite sure this gift will go over well with anyone you want to share it with. Plus, when in your life have you ever washed your hands this much?

Guest soaps with pressed flowers

Educational Nature Walk – All ages

Go on a nature walk. This term can be used loosely. The point of the walk is to pay attention to the natural habitat around you. This could be a walk through your own garden, where you look at your plants in a new way, paying close attention to leaf size, flower structure, and appeal. If you don’t have a garden, you can take a walk in your neighborhood. Have a park close by? Take a look at the native plants in your area. Even wild mustard, chicory, malva, lawn daisies, sour grass, and other plants normally considered “weeds” can make beautiful pressed flowers.

Pay particularly close attention to the plants around you. Have your children pick a few varieties that appeal to them, and that are growing in abundance. Never pick the only flower of its kind in the wild (or your neighbors yard) as you don’t want to over harvest and harm the possibilities of that plant making seeds from the flower and growing back. 

Think about what you would need to identify this plant. Pick a flower, and a leaf or two, and a seed pod if available. Many times young leaves vary in shape from adult leaves. Consider picking one of each for illustration purposes. 

At home nature activity for children, free printable

When you get home, lay the samples out that you collected from each plant. Do some research to see if you can identify what the flower is called, and its botanical name if possible. Adjust the complexity of this step depending on the age of your child. You can print our Plant Identity Page from the link at the end of this post to use as a guide for collecting samples and gluing them to once they are dried. If you have access to a laminator, it might be fun to laminate the pages and make them into a book. Even if you don’t have a laminator, you can take the old fashioned route and delicately stack the pages and bind them with twine. It will be a fragile book, but we think you will enjoy looking through it. To enrich your awareness of when plant varieties bloom throughout the year, try printing one of these pages each month and following these steps. At the end of the year, you will have twelve pages of plants to reference, along with hands-on experience of what is blooming throughout the seasons!

Click the link below to download our free printable!

We love to see what you’re making! If you use this article (or any of our other DIY articles) make sure to tag us on Instagram @GrowAndMake, Facebook @GrowAndMakeDIY or Twitter @GrowAndMake to be featured on our DIY Community page!

Our Favorite DIY Garden Hacks

Our Favorite DIY Garden Hacks

Easy DIY Gardening Hacks

DIY Garden Markers

Homemade garden markers are a fun and creative project that are also a great way to save money. Anyone who has started seeds knows that all the markers you bought can end up being used in no time flat. We have certainly found ourselves in the position of running out of garden markers and making mental notes like “Okay, Zucchini is in the back corner and the pumpkin is on the left.” We all know that eventually it is easy to lose track of which seedlings are which, especially when you plant several varieties that look similar, or are unfamiliar with what baby plants look like. 

Based on our experience, we’ve found that many DIY garden marker projects fall short of expectations when actually using them over a full season in your garden. Garden markers that are made from popsicle sticks, tape, laminated paper, etc. are always cute at first, but often fade and distort after being subjected to sun and regular contact with water. Time and time again we had to resort to the less desirable, less eco-friendly alternative of store bought plastic markers simply because they stand the test of time. 

In order to reduce environmental impact and waste, we wanted to share this tutorial which upcycles empty plastic yogurt containers to create durable markers. 

To make this project, you will need:

  • An empty plastic yogurt container (quarts work best)
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker 
  • Boxcutter (optional)
Our favorite DIY gardening hack: make your own upcycled garden markers

Step 1: Thoroughly wash the empty container with soap and water. Make sure to remove any oil residue from the fats in the yogurt, as they will cause the marker to rub off. Let dry. 

Step 2: Cut off the base of the container with a box cutter or a sharp pair of scissors

Step 3: Using your scissors, cut the container down the middle so it can be laid out “flat”

Step 4: Cut the rest of the container into strips (about ½ inch in width) 

Step 5: Cut a “V” shape into the bottom of each strip, so it can be easily inserted in to soil

Step 6: Write on the blank side of your marker using a permanent marker. If you have colored permanent markers, we encourage you to get artsy with it, and make small illustrations or use color coding to help distinguish varieties in the garden, such as red for tomatoes and green for lettuce.

Note: Any type of opaque plastic can work, and many other foods that come in various shapes and sizes can be cut up to make long strips to be used as markers. If you don’t consume yogurt on a regular basis, take a look in your recycling bin for plastic milk bottles, laundry detergent, tall opaque juice bottles, and to-go containers

Gardening Hack: make your own easy DIY garden markers

DIY Seed Starting Tray

We don’t know about you, but sometimes we end up getting a bit overzealous with seed starting. Especially when we find ourselves standing in front of the seed rack at our local nursery, and seeing so many fun varieties. Dreaming about the possibilities of your future garden and all of the plants in it is always fun – until you run out of supplies. Somehow we find seed trays to be one of the things that we run out of before we run out of seeds! This DIY seed starting tray ensures that you won’t lose your momentum when you are on a roll. 

To make this project, you will need:

  • An empty cardboard egg crate
  • Scissors
  • Coconut fiber pellets, Jiffy pellets or a seed starting soil mix
  • Seeds
Garden hacks: DIY seed starting tray, DIY mini greenhouse

Step 1: If you are using seed starting pellets, soak with water and set aside

Step 2: Using scissors, cut the lid off of the egg crate

Step 3: Place the moistened pellets (or seed starting soil mix) into each depression. If using soil mix, fill to the top edge, and gently compact to ensure there is enough density of soil. 

Step 4: Make an indentation and plant your seeds. We suggest watering with a mister or spray bottle, to avoid displacing the seeds, and excessive water which can start to dissolve your egg carton. Depending on the seeds you are starting, consider covering with some sort of clear plastic (clear clamshell to-go containers sometimes will fit your egg carton, especially if you cut it into six-pack, and works perfectly as a mini greenhouse). Stretch wrap also works. Many seeds like to germinate in warmer conditions than when your seed pack suggests you start them. 

Step 5: If you have not made a mini greenhouse (as suggested above) place your egg carton on a plate, or old plastic lid, to avoid water draining and making a mess.

DIY Garden Hacks: make your own mini greenhouse for starting seeds

Upcycled Fabric Grocery Bag Planter

DIY Gardening Hacks: Upcycled planter

Container gardening is a great alternative if you are an apartment dweller who does not have space to start a garden in the ground. Container gardening also helps to keep plants off the ground and protect them from insects and other pests.

If you run out of pots for your plants, there are many creative solutions to explore. One of our favorites is to use a reusable shopping bag as a pot. Planters or pots that are made up of flexible materials are great for plants like tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. They allow for better air circulation, making them a great solution if you tend to over water your plants. Simply fill with potting soil and start gardening! 

Happy Spring!

We love to see what you’re making! If you use this article (or any of our other DIY articles) make sure to tag us on Instagram @GrowAndMake, Facebook @GrowAndMakeDIY or Twitter @GrowAndMake