Preserve Flowers by Pressing or Drying Them
Etsy: Pressed Flowers
Pressing Plants, Flowers or Leaves the Easy Way
Get a big, thick, heavy book, a dictionary is kind of traditional, but not essential. There are other hefty books you can use to squish your flowers.
You also need wax paper or tissue paper to protect the pages of your book and to keep the flowers from breaking apart and sticking to the pages as they become pressed, dried and flattened in between the pages of your book.
Some people don't put the flowers in the pages of the book, they just put the book on top of the flowers. This is fine of course, but it loses some of the history of the project I think. My Grandmother would press flowers in the pages of her diary. She would have to put something heavy on her diary (it wasn't heavy enough on it's own) but I've always liked the custom and the history to pressing flowers in this traditional, sort of romantic way.
My Grandmother pressed the flowers she was given in the pages of her diary. I've always been fond of vintage romantic notions like this. So, I have to be careful when picking up my own old diaries/ journals lest the old pressed blooms slip out from the hand-written pages.
Why press flowers?
Pressed flowers can't keep all their fresh, original colour. I always feel this is the downside of having pressed flowers versus just taking a photograph. But, if you take the time to arrange all those flowers, leaves and so on for a photograph - why not take the extra step of pressing and preserving the originals.
Of course, this means you have to find room to keep them. You can create them as a framed picture and hang it up on a wall. A smaller project could be a in a frame which you could add a photograph to and give as a gift. You might even add other souvenirs from the day or event and turn the pressed flower project into a scrapbooking sort of arts and craft.
So, why press or dry flowers and keep them?
They are a sort of living art. If you use some plants which smell nice you can also keep that scent around in the display. A nice added bonus.
Most of all, I think flowers and plants in general have a short life, it's nice to preserve a few of them - give them added years rather than becoming compost at the end of each garden season.
My Mother likes it because she spends so much of her time in the garden, working. Then at the end of the season she really just has photos and her own memories left. When we take the time to preserve some of her best blooms she can keep them much longer, the very flower she grew in her own garden.
Some gardeners enter flowers in contests. I wonder if they press them and display them in a frame or just add the winning blossoms to the compost pile, mere worm food.
Drying Plants, Flowers or Leaves the Easy Way
The simplest way to dry flowers is to gather them in a bunch, tie the stem ends together tightly and hang them upside down somewhere for at least a few days. They should be dry right through before you store them.
You can tie the bundle to a wire hanger and easier hang the whole bunch over a door knob or something else do-able. Keep them away from steam and water - hanging them in the bathroom is not the best idea. I put newspaper down under them in case petals or leaves fall off as they dry.
Store dried flowers in a sealed container until you're ready to use them. Some dried flowers can be used to make teas as well as just looking pretty.