Technique of pressing flowers. Although flowers may be pressed by simply putting them between papers and weighting them down, the child who intends to make decorative use of his pressed specimens should know a little more than that. Attention to each of the details enumerated below will reward him with much better color and form.
1.Flowers must be free of moisture.
2.Absorbent paper should be used-something like paper
towels or newspapers. Avoid slick-paper magazines. The per
feet material is blotting paper, which is too expensive for general use, but might be resorted to for especially precious fragile blossoms.
3.Use two or three sheets of paper as a bed for the speci
4.Arrange them gracefully, with leaves and petals straight
5.Sometimes powdered borax is sprinkled lightly over the
blossoms; this preserves color better by quick moisture ab
sorption. It must be carefully brushed off later, and is a little
6.Cover arrangement with two or three sheets of paper.
7.Carefully slip this sandwich between the pages of a
large magazine, or stack with others in a pile, with cardboards
8.A heavy weight and evenly distributed pressure are
most important to producing smoothly flattened blossoms. A
board placed on top of stack or magazine, before weights are
put on, will help maintain even pressure. Bricks, heavy books,
old-fashioned flatirons, all can be used as weights.
9.Keep the weighted press in a warm, dry place to hasten
the drying process.
10.Open up the press in a day or two and rearrange
flowers on fresh, dry papers. Specimens will still be limp at
this stage; this affords an opportunity to manipulate stems into
more graceful curves and to make adjustments in leaf and petal
11.Investigate every few days, and replace top papers as
long as there is any sign of dampness. This will avoid molding
or browning of petals.
12.When flowers are thoroughly dry they may be stored
in a fresh magazine or between papers in a box.
Leaves are pressed in exactly the same way, except that they are more quickly done. Pressed leaves may be waxed by rubbing a barely warm iron with paraffine and then running the iron lightly over the leaves.
Portable plant press. Children who spend summers at camp or take automobile trips or hikes into unfamiliar territory, often want to collect specimens while away. Flowers and leaves must be pressed immediately, and a little carrying plant-press will solve this problem.
One system is simply to take several large magazines and insert two paper towels between every few pages. Another is to cut a stack of newspapers into quarter-page size, interposing laundry cardboards, cut the same size, between every half dozen or so sheets.