Mary Beth Lopresti: Hi! I am Mary Beth Lopresti with All Seasons Floral Preservation, and today I am showing you how to press flowers.
We've now put our flowers in the phonebook, and I am going to show you how to use a drawing box. This is just a regular airtight box, we place the flowers in the phonebook into the press, and we use -- we just put a board on top, and we use two bricks, and that will provide enough weight to have the flowers be pressed. If you don't have bricks and the board available, if you have the heavy hard bound book like a dictionary that can work out just fine.
After you've placed your flowers in the box, we recommend that you put silica gel on top. This can be purchased at any arts and crafts store or online, and we simply sprinkle the silica around, and what this will do is it will absorb the moisture in the flowers. So we just use it like this. You want to be sure to keep the lid tight when your silica canister, because any moisture in the air will be absorbed into silica and it won't be as effective. Once you have placed the silica and the flowers and the weights in the box, you simply put the lid on and you're good to go.
It generally takes about 10 days to two weeks for the flowers to thoroughly dry. One of the unique things about using silica is that you can see here that it is blue, and that means that it has the ability to absorb moisture.
Once it begins to absorb the moisture from the flowers, you'll notice that silica will turn either a white or a pink color, like this. The silica can be reactivated by putting in a baking pan like this, and putting in 250 degree oven for about 5 hours. When you take it out of the oven, it will be blue again, and so you can continue to reuse it over and over. So this is how we press flowers in a phonebook press. In our next segment, I'll taking the flowers out of the press and how to store them until you want to use them for crafts or just to save indefinitely.