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Saving That Special Flower or Bouquet

Saving That Special Flower or Bouquet on

Pressing flowers to preserve a memory

When it comes to floral bouquets and arrangements, no one can dispute their beauty and all that they symbolize. From the bouquet held by a bride to a Mother’s Day centerpiece placed in the center of the dining room table to a thinking-of-you arrangement placed on a bedside table, flowers contain lots of emotion and meaning in their petals.

Once flowers fade, though, does it mean the memories attached to them must also be placed in the trash? With a little craftiness and dash of patience, special blooms and their special memories can be pressed and kept forever.

Choosing paper to start the presses

When it comes to preserving flowers, no matter the method, the most pressing issue is removing moisture from the bloom as quickly as possible. If not, there’s a very good chance your favorite flower will brown.

To get the process started, it’s important to choose absorbent paper: plain non-treated facial tissue, flat cardboard, printer paper, non-corrugated coffee filters, or parchment paper. The key is to avoid any paper that’s colored (the color can bleed onto the flower) and textured paper towels (the pattern may end up imprinted on the petals).

No-pressure floral choices

Flowers in arrangements and bouquets tend to be perfect choices for pressing. The blooms, especially when first delivered or purchased, are fresh and on the verge of fully opening. The key is to keep the cut flowers well hydrated and fed until you’re ready to press them. This keeps the blooms fuller and helps to preserve the color.

If you’re unable to press the flowers for a few days, it’s important to keep the flowers fresh and hydrated. To do this, give the stems a fresh cut and place in fresh water with new food.

A choice of pressing methods

Now that the paper and flowers have been selected, the next step is to choose a pressing method. While there are presses available for purchase, there are also several ways to press flowers using items already in your home:

• Most often, retailers sell wooden flower presses. These can also be made at home, requiring two pieces of wood that use screws wingnuts in the four corners for tightening. The idea is to make a sandwich of sorts: wood, paper, flower, paper, wood – and then tighten. The blotter sheets will have to be changed every four days to prevent browning, and the flower will be ready in about three to four weeks.

• The book method is one of the easiest, most popular ways to press flowers. Place a flower between blotting paper, and then place this between the pages of a heavy book – preferably one that can afford to be damaged, since water absorbed from the flower may damage the book’s pages. Close the book and then place heavy books on top to help the pressing along. Paper will need to be changed, and the process will take two to three weeks.

• If patience isn’t one of your virtues, there’s always the iron method. First, place your flower choice between two pieces of paper and then flatten with a heavy object, such as a book or iron skillet. Remove water from the iron (steam and flower pressing do not mix), and heat on low. Place the warm iron on top of the flattened paper-flower-paper sandwich. Do not glide, but leave the iron in place for 10 to 15 seconds. Remove the iron, wait for the paper to cool, and then place the warm iron again. This process will be repeated until the flower is nearly dried.

• Microwave-safe presses are also sold by retailers, but can easily be homemade using two ceramic tiles and rubber bands. Make a pressing sandwich: tile, cardboard, paper, flower, paper, cardboard, tile. Hold the bundle together with rubber bands. Zap on a low setting for 30 to 60 seconds, cool, and zap again until the flower is dry. To finish the process, place the paper and flowers in a wood or heavy book press as outlined above. The flower will be ready in two days.

Some pressing tips

• Flowers with naturally flat faces tend to be better candidates for pressing.

• Thicker flowers, such as roses, can be split, so they lay flat. Some petals may need to be manipulated by hand, so they do not curl over on themselves.

• Pollen can easily spread onto petals and stain them. For flowers with large stamens, such as lilies, remove before pressing.

• No matter the method chosen, remember that flowers become more fragile as they dry. Great care needs to be taken when removing paper or lifting the flowers. Tweezers are an excellent tool.

Consider pressing any of the flowers offered by HOSA International. They’re full of freshness and color, and once pressed, they continue to provide beauty. For more information about HOSA, our flowers, our policies, and what we can do for you, or to place an order, call us at 305-470-9991 or complete our online form.

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Flower Distributor

Flower Distributor