Welcome to the Curiosity Academy, Stylist new learning center where you can access workshops, how-to guides, new research and learn the latest skills from the UK’s most knowledgeable people.
A bouquet of fresh flowers is a sure-fire way to bring joy to your life and brighten up your home. The only problem with flowers is that they wilt and die, at best, within a few weeks, and at worst, after a few days in the water.
Dried flowers are one way to fix this, but there is actually a way to keep the sparkle and original look of fresh flowers, which has proven successful on Instagram this summer: pressing flowers. Pressing flowers is the simple act of keeping flowers fresh by applying pressure to them for a short time and displaying them in a frame.
It’s the perfect way to commemorate an anniversary or an event like a wedding – by squeezing the petals of your bouquet to keep them forever – and once you’ve squeezed and framed your flowers, you can display them in your home or give them to friends as gifts.
“Squeezing flowers gives them a new lease of life,” says Sarah Butler, a Cotswolds-based seasonal florist and founder of the flower company The Flower Crowd. “Pressed flowers last forever. Colors may fade eventually, but they will stay beautiful for years to come.
Here Sarah has shared her tutorial on pressing flowers, which requires minimal equipment and time, as well as her expert advice to make sure your pressed flowers look unique to you and last as long as possible.
What you’ll need to create a pressed flower print
- Sharp scissors
- Transparent glue
- Small brush
- Greaseproof paper
- 6-8 heavy pounds (or a flower press)
- Glass frame
- Brown paper washi tape
How to create a pressed flower print
- Pick fresh flowers from your garden or other outdoor space.
- Cut the stems of your flowers and place the heads of your flowers between two sheets of baking paper.
- Place two pounds on each side of the baking paper and stack the rest on top.
- Leave your flowers under the books for a few weeks. Check them after this time. Some flowers will go moldy, which is normal. Simply throw away the moldy books and stack your books again, leaving them another 1 to 2 weeks.
- After this time, use the tweezers to peel your flowers from the baking paper and transfer them to your glass frame.
- Apply a tiny dot of transparent glue to the bottom of your flower using your brush and place them on your glass frame.
Sarah’s expert tips for creating beautiful pressed flower designs
Choose seasonal flowers
“The most important thing you can do to make your pressed flowers the best they can be is to choose flowers that are in season,” says Sarah. This is because the flowers will be the freshest and most vibrant when they are seasonal, which is the state in which you want to keep them.
Here are Sarah’s recommendations for seasonal flowers to squeeze:
Summer – delphinium and lavender
Autumn – hellebores and grasses
Winter – delicate leaves and ferns
Spring – flowers and anemones
If you can’t find any of these flowers, Sarah suggests asking your local florist for more seasonal recommendations. “Buttercups are a great, easy-to-find option in London in the summer,” Sarah adds, for anyone struggling to find flowers.
Try to find delicate flowers
“Flowers that are too heavy and bulky will not work for flower pressing because they will get moldy,” Sarah explains. When you are picking your flowers, you should try to choose the most delicate flowers you can find.
If you can’t find delicate flowers, you can split larger flowers like hydrangeas and separate the petals to squeeze them.
Pick your flowers at the end of the day
You want the flowers you squeeze to be fairly dehydrated, according to Sarah. “Try to pick flowers at the end of the day, as they will have been sitting in the sun and will be most dehydrated by this point,” she says.
Sarah also suggests avoiding picking flowers after it rains, as those flowers won’t squeeze well and could get moldy.
Go for tonal colors
If you’re not sure what kind of design to create on your frame, Sarah says you should go for tonal colors to help bring it all together. “It’s really easy if you pick flowers seasonally. In the fall, for example, the flowers you pick will mostly be red and yellow, ”she explains.
You can place as many or as few flowers as you want on your frame. Sarah says she likes to scatter her flowers on top of each other to add texture.
Sarah Butler, florist
Sarah is the founder of The Flower Crowd, a ‘traveling florist’ horse box that offers fresh flowers, many of which are grown in her own garden, in different pop-up locations all around the Cotswolds each week.