Pressing Flowers – Kid Fun with Flowers

Flowers are so beautiful, but they do not last very long.  One fun way to solve that problem is by pressing flowers.  Pressing flowers will allow you and your kids to enjoy them, study them or make fun art projects with them.

pressing flowers

Beautiful flowers blooming!

Pressing flowers is a technique that scientists, artists, and others use to keep a flower, or leaf lasting longer so that it can be enjoyed or studied.  This is a fantastic way to help a flower’s beautiful colors last a long time.  This technique can also be done with leaves that have fallen off trees in the fall.

When you are done pressing flowers or leaves you can do many different fun things with them.  It is really up to your imagination at that point.  You can incorporate them into man y different forms of art, such as making cards, framing collages of them, or even drink coasters.  Rather than art, you can simply collect them into a book for your personal collection.

pressing flowersHere are a couple of beautiful cards made from pressed flowers from Madagascar.

Remember, it is fun to go to the Rocky Mountains and see lots of beautiful wildflowers, including many common wildflowers of the Rockies.  The more that you pick means that there will be fewer for others to enjoy.  So, if you do decide to pick a few make sure you keep a couple of things in mind.

  1.  Never pick flowers, leaves, or anything inside of a National Park.  There are simply too many people visiting these areas and the National Parks are there to protect and preserve all forms of life, including wildflowers.
  2. Only pick a few flowers.  Do not pick all the flowers that you see.  It is incredibly wasteful not to mention damaging to the natural world to pick all the flowers that you see.  Be sparing in picking only a few of different kinds.  Parents, this means talking to your kids about not going overboard.

Step by Step Instruction to Pressing Flowers

pressing flowersStep 1.  Gather your picked flowers and trim them down to only what you want to keep.  This may mean trimming off the stem completely so that you only have the flower remaining.  Or you may want to keep the stem and a couple of leaves or you may just want to keep some petals.

Try to get them quickly from being picked into your press.  Do not wait days, but you also don’t need to run back home to do it.  While you are moving the flowers back to your house be careful to keep them in as nice as condition as possible without damaging them.

pressing flowersStep 2.  Collect your supplies that you will use for pressing flowers.  There are flower presses that you can buy or make, but for us here I am going to show how to do it without any fancy equipment.  Here is what you need: one very big, heavy book; sheets of clean, white paper; a heavy cinder block, weights, or other heavy books.

pressing flowersStep 3.  Lay out one or more sheets of white paper.  Then carefully place the flowers on the paper.  Spread them out on the paper and make sure they are not touching or too close to each other.  If they are too close or touching, when they are pressed they will end up stuck to each other.

Although, you may want to create a pattern that has all the petals or flowers touching.  When you have all you want on that one piece of paper take another white piece of paper and cover the sheet with flowers on it.  Repeat this until you have all your flowers or leaves ready.

Step 4.  Cut one of the sheets of paper into thirds.  Use these small pieces of paper to write labels for the flowers you are pressing.  For each sheet of flowers that you have prepared write a label that tells about the flowers.  This may include when you got them, where from, what are they, when you began pressing them.  This label will help when you are looking back through the pressed flowers or leaves after they are totally dry.

DSC_0061Step 5.  The next step you need to be careful on.  Open up the large book to a page in the middle somewhere.  Then carefully, very carefully so that you do not spill or move the flowers on the sheet around, pick up the two sheets of white paper with the flowers sandwiched between them and place it so that they are completely inside the big book.  Next, place the label on top of the sheets so that it is sticking out the side of the book.  This will allow you to read it and know what is in the book without having to open the paper and look inside potentially disturbing the pressing flowers or leaves.  Repeat this until all of your sheets are inside the big book.

Step 6.  Again, carefully place the book somewhere in your house where it will not be disturbed and you can leave it alone for at least one month.  After setting the book down, put something else heavy on top of it.  This may be other heavy books or a cinder block or bricks.  When you do this try to evenly distribute the weight so that all parts of the pressing flowers are getting pressed the same.

pressing flowers, leaves

Pressed leaves from fall time.

Step 7.  After at least one month you can remove the heavy item and look inside to see your pressed flowers or leaves.