For yesterday’s Crafty Monday session I opened up the flower presses to see what I had. I’ve been pressing flowers since I was a kid, when my lovely grandfather made me a press. He even put my name on it. I also have a tiny flower press that’s ok for smaller items
I’ve made pictures and greetings cards in the past but nothing recently. Earlier in the year I came up with the idea of doing pressed fern pictures as they would look great with the curtains in my living room – the fabric has a fern design.
I picked and pressed a few different kinds of fern, mostly from the garden , but also some I’d found growing wild – I’m always careful only to pick what is growing in abundance. For the best results choose perfect specimens, free of insects and completely dry. Most leaves dry quite well. Flowers are more variable. Fragile petals are even more fragile when pressed and very full double flowers such as roses are too three-dimensional to preserve in this way: flat blooms work better. Brightly coloured flowers tend to keep their colour. White ones go brown. You don’t need a flower press – you can press flowers, leaves and ferns inside the pages of a book, preferably weighted under other books. Put the items between sheets of scrap paper to protect your book from pollen or other stains. Within a few weeks the plant material will have dried out and you can use it.
The presses revealed quite a selection. These cranesbills were a bit too fragile and pressing them had separated the petals from the flower centre.
The cosmos worked really well. The centres of these are quite thick so I cut holes out of the centre of several paper sheets to place over these to ensure that both the petals and centres were properly pressed.
I was really pleased with the way the ferns turned out. They have retained colour well through the pressing process.
I wanted to recycle the frames and mounts from some prints that I no longer use. I cut sheets of card to size and for each picture I positioned the fern frond until I was happy with the placement within the mount. In some cases I trimmed off the lower part of the fern to get a better fit.
Using a small paintbrush I applied clear PVA glue sparingly to the back of the frond and stuck the fern in place.
I allowed the glue to dry thoroughly before reframed the pictures. Framing always takes me ages. It is so annoying when you seal the picture inside only to find there’s a large speck of something stuck on the inside of the glass! I take the time to make sure everything is clear and free of dust before I close the tabs or tape on the back of the frame.
I’m happy with the way the pictures look. I haven’t decided exactly where to hang them yet but I will put them somewhere out of direct sunlight to help them retain their colour.
They work with the curtains too!