Using pressed flowers

I’ve gone on at some length about how to press flowers because it is something I think is really fun and rewarding.  A lovely thing to do on your own but also great to do with someone else too.  I ran an event for mothers and daughters to press flowers and they loved choosing together which flowers they would do and then working together on it.  The added bonus being that in a month or so once the flowers were pressed, there was a great reason for the mums and daughters to get together again, see how the pressing had gone and then make something.

The petals are going to be delicate so go carefully as you lift them off the pressing paper.  I used a blunt knife to help get them off.  Tweezers are also very handy for handling them.

Acrylic adhesive is the gold standard for working with pressed flowers.  ‘Perfect Paper Adhesive’ (PPA) was the one most recommended.  The glory of these glues is that they don’t just stick the petals down, but they can also be brushed over the finished item to create a sealant.  They don’t smell too bad and they are water resistant.  

Your pressed flowers could be used to pep up a votive holder, a paper-weight, a picture frame, knobs for a cupboard or chest of drawers, flower pots, lampshades – the list really can go on and on.  That doesn’t mean go mad and cover everything you have with a flurry of petals.   I recommend you use your newfound skill judiciously.

1. Remove the petals from the press and gingerly lift off the paper.  Then lay them out on fresh blotting paper.

2. Ensure that whatever you are going to put the petals onto is absolutely clean and dry.

3. Unless you are very confident about designing freestyle – and I wasn’t at all – lay out your petals and play around with them to find the pattern that you are happy with.

4. Now squeeze out some of the glue into a small bowl.  Dab the glue onto the petals one-by-one using a toothpick.  Then moving quite quickly, pick each glued petal up with the tweezers and put it into its place.  I was given a handy tip of pressing the petal down with the back of a spoon rather than your fingertip.  The petal is so papery and thin that your finger could break it. Keep going until you’ve put on all the petals.

5. The last stage is to paint the acrylic adhesive over the petals to create a sealant.  Use a small paintbrush to do it.  If the glue is too thick to work with then water it down a little.

6. Once the sealant has been painted over the petals just leave your creation somewhere to dry and then you are done.

(A small but important PS to the method above.  If you are using your pressed flowers onto paper – for a card or something similar  – then don’t use the glue as a sealant.  I found that it did not work well at all.  But you could cover the card in sticky-back-plastic like you used to use to cover books at school.)

The method above can also be used to decorate (non-drip) candles. Alternatively, paraffin wax can be used as a sealant.  Do all the process as explained above up to and including gluing the flowers to the candle.  Then melt the paraffin wax in a double-boiler on the kitchen stove, very much like you would melt chocolate. You need to use a sugar thermometer to gauge when the wax reaches the all-important 96 degrees celsius. Hold the candle by the wick and dip it into the wax, holding it there for 5 seconds. Take it out, check the flowers are still flat to the candle, re-dip for another 5 seconds and leave to dry for a couple of hours.


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