Dried pressed flowers
Who among us has never kept in a old diary or a book a flower that is now dry and flattened in memory of a happy moment from our past? In fact, pressing and letting the petals or leaves dry is a technique that allows you to conserve vegetables for a long time. The buds, with their bright colors and their various shapes, are perfect for use in the decorative arts. In particular, the technique of pressed dried flowers is particularly widespread and used for the creation of paintings, compositions, potpourri and decorations which preserve the freshness, liveliness and naturalness of spring and beautiful seasons. To perform this technique it is necessary first of all to choose the flowers that we like best or that are most suitable for our work and collect them. The ideal season for harvesting goes from late spring, when meadows and hills are covered with soft colored flowers, to early autumn, characterized by the yellowing of the leaves. In order for the flowers we have picked to maintain the original colors and scents as much as possible, it is good to choose the hottest hours of a sunny day as a moment of cultivation. It is also important to remember that not all flowers are suitable for drying. Those that lend themselves most are: the rose, the daisy, the lavender, the mimosa, the ivy, the laurel, the heather, the hydrangeas, the pansies, the lilies, the freesias, the primroses, the anemones , ferns, acanthus and most of the leaves. Also, be careful not to collect plants belonging to protected species or, even worse, containing poisonous or irritating substances.
Choose the most beautiful flowers of each plant (those that are flat and not too bulky, with single corolla and bright colors react particularly well to drying) and gently lay them in a basket covered with a thin layer of slightly moistened cotton wool.
This technique occurs through a press that can, in many cases, simply consist of a weight that can be easily found among the objects we have at home, such as books or large rugs. If you want to build a real do-it-yourself press, just get two rather heavy wooden boards, cardboard sheets, absorbent paper (or newspaper sheets), twine and nut screws.
The flowers to be pressed are placed between two sheets of absorbent paper and between two sheets of cardboard and then under the press. The paper towel should be changed once a day. We will note that, in particular the first few days, the paper will have absorbed all the moisture of the flower until it is completely dried at the end of the procedure. The press should be placed in a cool, dry place. After about 10 days we can free the flower from the press which will be well crushed, as thin as a sheet of paper.
It is important to remember that in the case of particularly voluminous and fleshy petals (such as freesias or daffodils), they can be cut in half along the entire height of the flower. If, on the other hand, we have large petals, we can decide to press them individually and, with a little imagination, use them to create new shapes.