Preparing Flowers for the Press

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 27,698
    Floral decor experts Mary Beth Lopresti and Theresa Hambleton discuss preparing flowers for the press.

    Mary Beth Lopresti: Hi! I am Mary Beth Lopresti with All Seasons Floral Preservation and I am showing you how to press flowers. Right now, I am going to show you how to prepare your flowers so that you can press them. We have a selection of flowers here that we are going to show you how to press. We can begin one of the simplest is an ivy, and what we do is just take a little snip and the ivy just goes into the press like this.

    So sometimes we like to have the ivy on the stem, other times we like to have just some of the ivy leaves so we can take some of the leaves separate, so that's the ivy. In order to prepare your flowers for pressing, all you need is tissue paper, some sharp scissors and also a bowl and you will see why we need the bowl in a moment.

    When we are pressing roses, what we like to do is take the rose and you can just cut the top of the rose off like so and once we take the rose off, we want to peel away the petals that have any damages or flaws and this one has a little flaw right there so we will take that one off and there is a little spot right there, we take that one off. So what you will do is just pull gently, pull the head of the rose off, like that and empty it out and here you will have the rose and what we would like to do is, in order to have the flowers lay flat in the press, you will gently peel off the bottom, in this way, they will lay flat. If we didn't do that, the flower would be like that and then it wouldn't actually press flat.

    So for each of these, we just gently tear the bottom off and it's nice to press the flowers in a way that you have a variety of sizes of petals depending on what you are going to be doing with them, you are able to have a variety of sizes to choose from and when I am cutting the bottom off, you can line them up in that matter and that just pull, do several at a time. As you get inside the rose, the petals will begin to have a little funny spots on them, it will be a little more wrinkled. So it's really the rose petals that are just inside, you have taken off any that have imperfections and then before you get to the center where they all start to kind of turn on one another. So that's how we would do a rose.

    The next flower that we are going to press be the baby's breath and this makes beautiful pressed flowers, very easy. So here I will just snip down there. Now if you were to take this and put it right into the press like that, it would be very, it would have a big clump. So what we need to do is trim it so that you have just one layer of flowers going at each time. So usually, it's just a stem with three flowers or in this case, the stem has the three flowers but two down to the sides. So when that presses, they won't go on top of one another. One of our favorite flowers to press is the Hydrangea. There are many, many uses for the hydrangea in pressed floral art and with the hydrangea, I would just take a clip, down at the base, and tangle it from the ivy. And again as I was saying earlier in the earlier segment, you want to avoid flowers that have any imperfections, for example this hydrangea has a lot of brown right there and right there. So that wouldn't be one of the petals that I would press. One of the florets. As you can see this hydrangea has some imperfections and this has begun to brown right there. So that wouldn't one of the florets that I would choose to press.

    It's easiest if you pull the hydrangea apart a little bit to be able to get to where you can cut the florets off. When doing so, you want to take the scissors and move them as close down to the base of the floret as you can and just drop them onto the page, just cutting yourself and again like the roses and any of the flowers, it's always nice to have a variety. Some of our hydrangea florets are smaller and others are larger. Just like in nature, things vary, it's interesting to have these varied items in our floral art.

    Another beautiful flower to press is Delphinium. This Blue Delphinium, is very interesting because it has nice long stems and there are different ways that you can press them in terms of shape of the flower. Sometimes, we would press the flower so that it's straight on, so you can see the open flower. Other times we do a side view when we press. So we would do it like that. What you want to be careful of when you are pressing is you don't want to have the flower be too thick.

    So if I were to do a side view with this, I would snip out the inside where it's very thick, just discard that and then the flower would press nicely. So that's a side view. If you would like to press delphinium so that you are just -- your pressed flower is at the center, in the front, then you want to cut off the back and the stem as closely as you can without having the flower come apart so that, that's what you would be pressing. So your flower would be open like that. It is important when you are pressing two, to also press the stems, in that way, if when you are using it as floral art, you can always reattach the stem but you don't have the thickness of the stem pressing behind the flower because it will show through the petals. Some times it's nice to if you are able to press two flowers on the same stem, in order to do that, I would just snip this, right there and then I can press two side view delphinium like that, or we have one be open and one to the side. It all depends on how you want them to look and with beautiful fresh flowers like this, you have many, many options. So it's always nice to press the flowers while they are fresh.

    Our next flower is a Pansy and as I mentioned earlier, we may be more likely to want to press this little pansy because it has a pretty, pretty edges as oppose to this one, the edges are very jagged and it's not as smooth looking. You want to just gently hold the petals of the flowers and just snip at the base, like this. And then there they are pressing. Another thing that we like to press are rose leaves. They make a nice back drop when we are doing floral art and they press very nicely in the phone book. So we would just take, in many cases we could take the rose out, I am trying to keep this bouquet so that it looks as pretty as it can, for as long as it can, so I am trying to just steal a little from it and luckily these leaves are up high enough that I can. In this case, I just cut the leave because the part that was lower had some imperfections and was a little dark. So I just want to press the part that looks nice and we would likely use these as a back drops for another flower and that would be covered with other flowers so it doesn't matter that, that edge is cut like that.

    So that's how we prepare the flowers to be pressed. What I will show you next is how we press flowers in a microwave press.