when i was about 8 or 9, a friend of mine gave me one of the best birthday presents ever... a homemade flower press and some blank cards and envelopes. i used up all the cards a long time ago, but the press is probably one of the only birthday present from when i was little that i still use regularly. i think a flower press is a great tool for anyone who loves to create all things handmade, plus they are simple and relatively cheap to make. in fact, you can even put a few flowers between the pages of a phone book, but if your interested in making a flower press here are a few tutorials i found:
make your own handmade flower press at organic gardening
how to make a flower press at Lee's Wood Projects
build a flower press
these styles are similar to the one i use, but you can also try a microwave flower press thanks to the crafty gardener.
Anyway, pressing flowers is on my mind for this post, because today my parents came up for a visit and brought me an assortment of flowers from their garden. i loaded up my flower press and bundled the left overs and the flowers that were too bulky to press to hang them to dry. this project is titled "a work in progress" because later i'll add the dried flowers to paper i'll attempt to make (i'll be posting that venture in the future) and i'll use the pressed flowers to decorate cards and whatever (i'll share that later too).
just a few tips, when you are gathering flowers to press, make sure to take several extra flowers (in case some of them end up bent or don't turn out like you planned) and choose flowers that are relatively flat. don't forget to also press leaves, grasses and the flowers' stems. when you're preparing to press the flowers make sure to spread them out on the paper so they don't stick together while pressing, otherwise they will tear when you are trying separate the flowers. be sure to put a few layers of paper and a cardboard layer between each layer of flowers (if you're using a phone book, leave a thick stack of pages of between each layer of flowers). i can't say how long i usually leave my flowers to press, because honestly i usually forget they are in the press until i need to make a birthday card or something, but leave them at least a few weeks (depending on how impatient you feel). happy pressing...the results of my projects will be up soon.