Guest Post: Flower Pressing

Hi everyone! I’m Louise from Captured in Bloom and I’m here to help you press some lovely flowers this spring. I was quite a creative child and had boxes of pipe cleaners and patterned paper for cards for as long as I can remember. I got my first flower press when I was 8 or 9 years old, and I used to get very excited opening it up to see the flowers inside. I would use the pressed flowers for birthday cards but I didn’t keep any - so I’m not sure if they were very good! 

I rediscovered flower pressing last year during lockdown, when, like so many, I needed to find something to focus on whilst I was furloughed. Two of my closest friends and my partner have birthdays in May. I really wanted to make something for them so I pressed a few leaves and found my creative streak again! The first design was my friends initial, and the second was ‘Jasmine’ my rabbit design – now one of my bestsellers. 

Flower pressing is all about trial and error. I’ve tried lots of different methods, including spending hours and hours ironing them dry! I have come to the conclusion that a good old fashioned wooden press is the best. I’ve tried all sorts of papers, cardboard inserts and locations for my flower presses before finding what works best for me. As I press new flowers, I expect I’ll have to keep tweaking my methods to see what works best. Don’t be afraid to try something different if your flowers aren’t pressing how you’d like – there’s a lot of satisfaction when you finally press a flower that had failed so many times before! 

I now use my flowers to make art and greetings cards – mostly animal designs but I’ve also made rainbows, bikes and hearts. This year I’ll have a few flower presses on the go as there are so many flowers I’d like to press, and designs I’d like to make. I was kindly given a Flower Press Kit by the Den Kit Co and it’s a great size to take out and about. Mine has come with me when I’ve visited friends and family (in the garden of course!) and it’s perfect for pressing small wildflowers. I’ve got lots of primroses and snowdrops in mine at the moment. Don’t forget it’s not all about flowers though as leaves and stems press really well too and look great in pressed flower collages. I’d love to see what you make with your pressed flowers and leaves so do show me your pictures and let me know! 

I have 5 top tips to make sure your flower pressing adventures are a success: 

  1. Make sure your flowers are dry before you press them – picking in the afternoon or early evening can help with this if it’s been sunny all day. If your flowers are brown when you open the press, the chances are they were wet when you put them in. 
  2. Press the same type of flower on each sheet. This ensures the pressure is even across the sheet and helps your flowers press consistently. 
  3. Be patient! Different flowers will take different lengths of time to press and patience will reward you in the end. I took flowers out of my press last year before they were ready and they have curled up in my storage box so I can’t use them. You’ll be pleased you waited in the long run!
  4. Be gentle when you open your press. Flowers can stick to the paper and you don’t want to tear them as you open the press.  
  5. Don’t worry if your flowers don’t turn out as you’d hoped. Flower pressing is a learning curve. I couldn’t press a bluebell at all last year without it going brown and horrible – but I will be trying again this year! 

Good luck with all your flower pressing – I hope you feel excited as you open your press and enjoy getting creative with your blooms.