There’s something poetic about the sight of a discarded bouquet — it suggests expired celebrations or withered romance. Notwithstanding, don’t be so quick to shove that browning floral arrangement in the bin; it can still sweeten your home even after its colors have faded.
Dried flowers scent perfumes, flavor dishes and adorn walls and furniture. Pressed flower art may bring to mind
images of Victorian ladies and gents sandwiching violets in between leather-bound journals, but it is a tradition in Japan as well, where it’s referred to as “oshibana.” In ancient Greece and Rome, scientists would press flowers as a way of preserving specimens.
Nearly any flower can be used dried, from store-bought azaleas and roses to ubiquitous dandelions. In this edition of Homestead, Instead, we gathered three crafts for you below.
Pressed Flower Art
Flowers best for this craft: Colorful blossoms that aren’t overly bulky, i.e. pansies, daisies and violets.
• Parchment paper
• Book (Preferably an empty journal or a book you don’t care about)
• Heavy objects (Like other books or a brick)
1. Open the book to a section towards the back and line both the left and right pages with parchment paper.
2. Arrange the flowers on the parchment paper so that they’re not overlapping each other. You may need to trim the stems to get them to fit.
3. Close the book and place your heavy objects on top of it. Leave it undisturbed for a week.
4. Check on your flowers. You’ll know they’re done when there’s no moisture left in the petals. If they’re not ready after a week, apply more pressure and continue checking their status every two to four days.
5. Gently peel the flowers from the parchment paper and arrange them however you want on the cardstock. Some suggestions for designs include a spiral pattern, a “bullseye” pattern (a cluster of flowers in the middle with rings of smaller petals around it) or the shape of your initial. The most common placement is arranging the flowers to mimic the appearance of a bouquet. Once the flowers are positioned, glue them down. You can now hang your pressed flower art on the wall or put it in a desktop frame to keep on a table.
Flowers best for this craft: Any flowers as long as they’re dried! Roses, lavender and jasmine naturally smell sweeter, but you can make up for less fragrant blossoms by adding other scents. If you’re impatient for mother nature to dry your flowers out, arrange them on a cookie sheet and put them in your oven on the lowest temperature possible. Check on them every 10 minutes until dry.
• Mixing bowl
• Organza bags
• Essential oils or your favorite room spray
• Whole cloves and/or allspice (optional)
1. Cut the stems off of the flowers. Place the flowers in the mixing bowl and crunch them up with your hands. If you have smaller flowers and want your potpourri to have a chunkier texture, you can leave them whole.
2. Spray with the room spray or add drops of essential oils. Some oils that are good for potpourri are lavender, sandalwood, frankincense and bergamot.
3. Toss the flowers in the scent blend to make sure they are evenly covered. Add the cloves/allspice if you’re using them.
4. Place potpourri in organza bags and close with drawstring. The potpourri sachet can be placed in your sock drawer, pillowcase or wherever you want to smell nice. Note: If your skin can be easily irritated by scented products, consider hanging your sachet on a drawer knob or door handle instead.
Flowers best for this craft: Dried petals from roses, chrysanthemums and lavender — For this craft, don’t use flowers from your grocery store bouquet! Use flowers from your own garden if you have one so that you know the petals haven’t been tainted with any chemicals.
Nothing ruins a nice cup of tea like the taste of pesticides! If you’re not a gardener or want to be extra sure your flowers are safe to use, you can usually find the dried flower petals listed here at health food stores, herb shops or online. Visit Otter & Trout Trading Co. or Sunflower Health Foods for a plethora of petals.
• 2 cups boiling water
• 1 – 2 tablespoons honey
• Teapot or saucepan with lid
• Sliced lemon (optional)
2. Pour the boiling water into the container. Stir in the honey to taste.
3. Cover and let steep. The steeping time ranges from 5 – 10 minutes based on the desired strength of your tea.
4. Pour into cups through strainer to remove flower petals. Serve with lemon, if desired.