Drying, pressing, and preserving flowers and leaves dates back to the 1500s for use in herbarium work. After preservation the specimens are mounted for scientific studies and historical changes in the environment for botanists. They were also used heavily by physicians who would use plants for medicinal purposes.
In the modern day for the modern plant lover, however, this same preservation can be used for display (as art). You can preserve parts of your favorite houseplants and bouquets for sentimental value - whether it's to remember when you received them or what you received them for (an anniversary, birthday or celebration), or any other reason.
Although there are different ways to preserve your beloved plants and flowers, our number one tip is to decide how you'd like to display the art first before you start the pressing process. Whether it's framing, scrapbooking, etc., think of an easy way you want to display it so you can enjoy it in your home year-round.
Supplies needed for pressing
- Fresh plant or floral material
- Heavy books
- Blot paper or newspaper
- Cardboard separators (optional)
Supplies needed for mounting
- Double-glass frame
- Any frame with acid-free card stock
- Double sided tape or neutral pH adhesive
- Shadow boxes can be used for dried material
How to dry
- Collect your flowers and leaves when they are not wet
- Cut material to remove excess stems/blooms
- Hang flowers upside down individually with fishing line/twine
- Place in dark, cool environment with good airflow
- Allow to dry for 2-3 weeks
How to press
- Place newspaper/blot paper inside books
- Lay plant material down
- Add another layer of paper on top
- Close book/press
- Place heavy books on top
- Allow 2-3 weeks for drying to complete
- Avoid direct sun & keep in cool environment
How to mount/display
- Arrange pressed plant material in double-glass frame; double sided tape can be used if they do not stay in place (but they should if the frame is tight)
- Apply a light coat of adhesive on the back of the plants and onto the acid-free paper in the desired layout (Allow about 24 hours to completely dry)
- Arrange dry materials in a bouquet in a vase, or in a shadow box on a wall or hang from makeshift line or branch
- Enjoy your new botanical keepsake forever!
Words By The Sill
Empowering all people to be plant people—a collection of articles from The Sill’s team of plant experts across a variety of plant care topics to inspire confidence in the next generation of plant parents. Welcome to Plant Parenthood™.