Home & Garden

Blooming frames

By: Karen Kirk / Photography by Paul Chmielowiec

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

Blooming frames

By: Karen Kirk / Photography by Paul Chmielowiec
Create instant botanical art with posies plucked straight from your own garden -- it's fast and easy with a flower press that dries and presses flowers and foliage in the microwave in just seconds. For less than $12 apiece, these picture-perfect flowers make great gifts that will last for years. It's a fun, inexpensive summertime project anyone can master – even the kids!

Check out a larger image of a finished trio of blooming frames we made here!

You need:

• Flowers and foliage
• Microfleur Microwave Flower Press or traditional flower press or phone book*
• Sheets of white printer paper
• Scissors or floral snips
• Tweezers
• Small utility knife
• Clear-drying craft glue (a glue pen with a fine tip is ideal)
• Frames (we used a 5- x 7-inch frame)
• Precut photo mat or embossed paper to cut a mat (the 1-1/2- x 2-1/2-inch opening in our mat is bevelled) and
• Coloured craft paper or vellum sheets (optional for background)

You can also press flowers between cardboard layers of a traditional flower press (available at craft stores) or lay them between the pages of a heavy book, such as a phone book, then leave them for about 10 to 14 days to dry completely.

To make:
1. Gather dry, blemish-free specimens (we used marguerite daisies, violas, kalanchoe and foliage) and snip off stems close to the base of the flower heads. Press flowers immediately according to instructions on Microfleur Microwave Flower Press, placing flowers and foliage on felt pad and leaving space between each one.

Carefully place the second felt pad on top, followed by the microwaveable plate, and snap Microfleur closed using supplied clips.

2. Place Microfleur in the microwave; for best results, microwave in a series of short bursts on high. (We microwaved our flowers and foliage for 20 seconds, let them rest in microwave for 20 seconds, then microwaved them for 30 seconds.) Timing will vary depending on type and size of flowers and foliage.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find the remaining steps to the blooming frames project, plus designer's tips on page 2.

Microwave leaves and grasses separately from flowers, as they will take longer to dry because they contain more water.

3. Remove the flower press from the microwave; let cool for a few seconds. Open carefully and gently remove the flowers and foliage using tweezers; transfer to a sheet of printer paper.

4. Remove cardboard backing from a frame; cover with a sheet of white or coloured paper cut to size. Place mat on top and lightly trace the opening of mat onto paper to use as a guide for placing flowers and foliage.

Using tweezers, pick a flower up and dab a dot of clear-drying glue onto the back; arrange as desired to fit inside the opening of the mat. Repeat with remaining flowers and foliage. Place mat on top (add flowers and foliage to the mat, if desired); assemble the frame.

Designer's tips:
• Intensely hued blooms with flat bottoms, such as pansies, violets and verbena, make excellent pressed flowers. Queen Anne's lace, mini chrysanthemums, leaves and ornamental grasses are other good choices.

• Gather specimens on a sunny afternoon to ensure that they are not wet with rain or dew.

• Use tiny pressed flowers for gift tags, bookmarks and place cards. Protect them with clear adhesive sheets or take them to an office supply store to have them laminated.

• Store unused pressed flowers and foliage between two pieces of printer paper and slip them between the pages of a heavy book.

If you like this craft you're sure to love our pressed flower light catcher. Learn how to make it with our step-by-step guide, Photo gallery: Pressed flower light catcher.

This story was originally titled "Blooming Frames" in the August 2009 issue.

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