Ray’s Woodland Leaf Collage

This would make a great home school project for your young children.

Just take a walk around your yard, or go to a nature trail, or out into the woods and let your child choose a some pretty leaves.

Take advantage of this time to discuss some basics about the eco-system… teach him how to pick without harming the environment… don’t over-pick.

If you’re picking anywhere other than your own yard, teach him about ethics and responsibility by including him when you ask permission. Always get permission, even if it’s in grandma’s yard. Of course grand won’t care, but It’s a good lesson for your child.


Thought I'd share this fun and easy project. Thought I’d share this fun and easy project. This is perfect to make with children.

My grandson Ray is fascinated with leaves. Always. He shows me leaves all year round, but the fall is his favorite.

Ray loves to bring in a pile of leaves and we just sit there going through them. He shows me all the differences in shape, veining, and his favorite… everywhere a bug has taken a bite.

This is a simple thing to do with a little kid, Ray’s only 6. We simply chose some of his favorites. Then we put them in books to press. When he came back the following weekend we removed the leaves and the excitement really began.

I gave him a piece of 8 x 10 card-stock. He sprayed it with spray adhesive (didn’t want to get into the mess of using glue) and then he carefully chose his very…

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An Interesting Request…

Pliable Pressed Heather Flowers, Fiber Art

Pliable Pressed Heather Fiber Art

Last week, a talented artist contacted me requesting a special embellishment for a piece she was working on. She needed pressed Heather woven into a cord.

The Heather for her piece needed to look and feel completely natural but also had to be treated in some manner to strengthen and prevent shattering with normal handling. To accommodate these requirements, lamination or resin was not an option.

So, I summoned up my past experience with freeze-drying and used a special method that I had concocted way back when… The only way you can tell the flowers have been preserved beyond normal methods is to actually bend them.

This project was fun, I love when old knowledge becomes useful later in life. Feel free to contact me if you’d like flowers treated this way or have a special project you’d like done.

Maple Wings From My Tree

Maple Wings, Pressed Plant Material From the Acer Family

Colorful Wings From A Maple Tree

Early each spring, my Maple trees wake up from their winter hibernation. As the leaves burst forth from the branches, these wings come in with them only to fall off and die a few days later.

I love these naturally bold, vibrant colors, and shape. This could easily turn into a dragon-fly, fairy, or fantasy flower… I know what I’m doing with my grand-daughter Rosie the next time she spends the weekend with us  <smile>

Pressed Pink Rice Flowers

Pressed Pink Rice Flower

Pink Rice Flowers, in the Pimelea Family


Fresh from the press this week we have pink Rice Flowers. These are easy to press and turned out great. They came out of the press just like the color of the fresh Rice Flowers.

I’m looking forward to getting some fresh white Rice Flowers. I think they’ll keep their nice white color very well.

I really like these.

Pressed Mimosa Flowers

Pressed Flowers - Pressed Dried Mimosa Flower, Also Known as Wattle or Acacia

Pressed Mimosa Flowers, Also Known as Wattle or Acacia

As far as pressed flowers go, I’d have to say that Mimosa is one of my favorite yellow flowers to press. Mimosa, with its beautifully rich golden-yellow color, still looks as fresh as the day it came out of the press decades later. Besides “Mimosa” this is commonly called, Thorn-tree, Whistling Thorn, or Wattle. This is a shrub in the Mimosa family and has a very nice fern-like foliage, as seen in the picture below, so press the entire plant!

Pressed Acacia Foliage

Mimosa Foliage

Pressed Acadia Foliage also known as Mimosa

Acacia has a beautifully fern-like foliage and is also commonly called, thorntree, whistling thorn, or wattle. This is a shrub in the Mimosa family and is very nice to press. This natural green color does not fade; I have some that are over 20 years old and still look as fresh as the day they came from the press.

Pressed Purple Hydrangea

Pressed Purple Hydrangea Flower

This is from a nice white Hydrangea from the florist that has been dyed purple using a floral absorption dye.

Fresh out of the press. Purple Hydrangeas colored with a floral absorption dye. Hydrangea from a florist has flowers that are generally larger than a garden hydrangea. Some of the blossoms can be as large as a pansy!

These are fun to work with. Pressed Hydrangea flowers are available at Preserved Gardens

Pressed Pink Boronia

Pressed Boronia Flowers

Boronia is a larger flower in the Heather Family and Presses Nicely

Pink Boronia is an easy flower to press and has good color retention, keeping its naturally vibrant pink color for many years. Boronia is a member of the Heather family. The blossoms are about a quarter-inch, and when taken separately they remind me of tiny little rosebuds. I think this would be a nice choice for making pressed flower jewelry. I have some Boronia that I pressed about 12 years ago that still look as good as the day they came out of the press!

Pressed Oncidium Orchid

Pressed Oncidium Orchid

Pressed Oncidium Orchid

Fresh from the press, Oncidium Orchids

Orchids can be tricky to press but it can be done with a little practice and a fair amount of patience. Click the picture to be taken to a tutorial about how to press an orchid.

Dyeing to Obtain Exotic Colors

Coral-and-Aquamarine Pressed Flowers

Dyed Coral and Aquamarine Pressed Bougainvillea and Queen Anne’s Lace Flowers

I have a lady who sometimes likes colors that are not naturally found in nature. This is a time-consuming process, but easy to do with dyes formulated for dyeing flowers that have already been pressed.

First I mix the dyes to obtain the desired color, then apply the dye using a small soft paint brush. This request was for several varieties of pressed flowers in turquoise and coral. I didn’t think I’d like them but I was wrong. We got some interesting results, so I thought I’d share a picture.

Pressed Cactus Skeleton

Cactus Skeleton

This is Cactus Skeleton, Made the Same Way as You Would Make a Skeleton Leaf

This is an unusual pressed material, can you guess what it is? It’s Cactus Fiber, made by skeletonizing the cactus the same way that you would a leaf. It does take longer but worth it. After your cactus has been cooked and the pulp cleaned off, place it in your flower press to dry. If you let it air dry it will not be perfectly flat.

If it dries before you can press it, just soak in water, dry it off with paper towel, then place in press to dry. Click on the picture to be taken to instructions on how to make your own skeleton leaf and cactus fiber.

Reds and Whites TO Dye Pressed Flowers

Pressed Sweet Autumn Clematis

On the right we have red, the middle is original color, the bottom is enhanced white.

We’ve had some great success with dying pressed flowers to look natural. We’ve also had a little failure, but we learn from failure so we’re good with it. Below are some test samples showing flowers in their natural condition and after treatment. I tried a little green with one of the carnations but I don’t like it. We need to tone it down.
Pressed Celosia Flowers

The Celosia flower on the right is the original color, the one on the left is treated with red.

Pressed Bachelor Buttons

The top left flower is original, the white on the right is treated, the red is treated.

Color Enhanced Carnations

The Carnation on the left has the original petals, on the right we have the color enhanced petals, with half of the calyx colored green.

Heirloom Flower Press

Oak heirloom flower press made from salvaged Oak wood that was reclaimed from the bottom of a bog. The wood is estimated to be at least 800 years old, possibly older.

BOG OAK FLOWER PRESS – Limited edition heirloom flower press created from salvaged Oak that was reclaimed from the bottom of a bog in New England. The wood is estimated to be at least 800 years old, possibly older; centuries before settlers came to America. Click on the photo to see this press and the history it holds.
Image used with permission. © 2013 Lynette Breton and Patty Olds of Holding Patterns

Today I stumbled upon the website of a woodworker (I’d really call her presses art) who makes the most enchantingly beautiful flower presses I’ve ever seen. This artist creates limited edition heirloom flower presses using historical, reclaimed, and salvaged hardwoods and even gives an interesting and well written history of the wood used for each press and where the wood came from. I spent too much time on her website reading, re-reading and studying the photos… I had other things I should have done, but I just couldn’t tear myself away.

We all have presses that we use and have to put away when visitors come because they are just not pretty. However this press is such a work of art in itself that I’d be proud to display it where all can see, even if I’m not pressing anything in it at the moment. Knowing the full history, I imagine this beautiful flower press would be a great conversation starter. Using this press, you would be using art to create art and what could be better! I encourage you to take a look.

Pressing Palm Areca

I really like this palm, but unfortunately it’s too big for my 18×24 botanical press. These palms can measure up to 22×30. Time to improvise…

Palm Areca Fresh From the Wholesale Florist

Palm Areca Fresh From the Florist

Pressing Palm Areca

How I Pressed My Palm Fronds

My husband cut two pieces of plywood sized 28×36. I had a couple of old thick wool blankets from my grandpa that he got during WWII which I cut to size to use in my new press. Time to start pressing…

From experience with this particular foliage, I know that just putting it in the press doesn’t work… as the fronds dry they fold up in the middle and there’s no stopping it no matter how much pressure you use.

So I made a “bootie” for my iron with heavy cotton fabric cut to fit with elastic for easy removal and reuse. I then individually ironed each frond open (wool setting, no steam) and they ended up looking good and open with no damage at all from the heat; they were then nice and flat, so into the press. Working in layers, I placed a piece of wool over the wood, then wool, then palm, then wool, then palm and so on till they were all nicely in the press. Then the top board went on weighted with a cement block.

Freshly Pressed Palm Areca

Freshly Pressed Palm Areca

One week later, the palm is flat and dry; ready to mount in a frame as a pressed botanical specimen or as a background for an exotic pressed flower art piece. This is what the palm looked like fresh out of the press. A nice vibrant green… this has not been color enhanced.

Experimenting With Color Retention in Pressed Flowers

Working on Poor Color Retention

Using Bad Flowers to Improve Processes

Having a bit of mad-scientist in me I am working with an expert in the floral field to improve color retention in pressed flowers using techniques that are formulated for both pretreatment color retention and post treatment color enhancing.

Pressed Flowers

Flowers That Are Well Pressed With Good Color to be Used for Experimemtation

Today I spent most of the day going through my pressed flowers looking for bad specimens to send off to the lab for testing. This is exciting for me and my friend in the dried flower industry. I’m happy to be involved in this research and will give periodic reports.

These flowers are good, but they all hold their secrets. Let’s see how it goes.