Impressive pressed flowers, no books required
One of the joys of making wedding stationery is that sometimes, work feels much more like play. When exploring the new materials and moods of our 2017 wedding collection [back link to entry], we became enamored with the texture and color of pressed flowers. We keep a surfeit of fresh flowers in the office, so our creative aims matched a very practical desire to preserve all that spare beauty.
How we did it: the microwave method
The dirty truth is: we used a kit. (Specifically, the Microfleur system.) It puts together the principles of good flower pressing all into one convenient little box. It’s totally possible to DIY, though, just keep the following in mind:
It takes pressure. If you don’t apply pressure during the drying process, you’ll end up with flowers that are desiccated and crinkled in ways you can’t predict—they might end up pretty, or they might end up looking like lawn clippings. Give them no breathing room, however you choose to press your flowers. You can make radial cuts in the back of the plant so that the flower lies as parallel to the page as possible.
We recommend making a sandwich: place your flowers as flatly as possible on tissue (so that water can evaporate out), then place a bed of paper under that, and then on a cardboard surface. Repeat the process on top (tissue layer, paper layer, cardboard layer), and then bind the sandwich with tight rubber bands.
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It takes time. you can in theory, just leave your flowers in this contraption for a few weeks, and then unwrap the present. But if time is at a surfeit, why not just put your flowers in a naturally pressurized environment—like a sturdy hardcover book or an antique wooden flower press?
It takes heat. The reason you make an air-permeable paper sandwich is because you’ll need to raise the temperature a bit. Place your flower and cardboard Dagwood into a microwave, and set the timer for less time than you’d think. In our experiments, we found that many flowers and plants could be finished with 15 seconds. Some sturdier flora needed up to 30. Let them sit for an hour or so after their heat treatment. Certainly beats leaving your hardbound copy of State of Wonder on the shelf for weeks, doesn’t it?
Want to see the fruits of our labor? Three pressed flower invitations we loved were Vincennes, Villandry, and Cordès. We’ve played with other dried arrangements in the past, including Fleurs Sauvages, and other rustic wedding invitations. For other floral arrangements, view our other wedding invitations.