Monday, July 12, 2010

Refurbishing an old flower press and how to make one for yourself!

So ~ have you ever (and I know you have!) had one of those days where you start something and it leads to another thing so you can finish the first thing and on and on it goes? Well, my day started out pretty normal (which is strange in itself, as I don't have 'normal' days!). I went out to do some Monday morning laundry only to discover I had no laundry detergent made. I make my own (powdered recipe here) but thought I would try making the liquid to see if I like it better. Anyway, I made some and went to the garage (that's where my washer and dryer are) to run a load.

"Now wait a minute!", you say! what does this have to do with a flower press? Rabbit trails, I tell you, or more commonly, The Domino Effect! Where one thing leads to another!

OK. I'm getting to the flower press!

As I went past the "potting bench" (also in the garage) (not really a potting bench, just a set of old drawers that I keep garden tools and such in and on! It is piled high with all those things you need to set down for the moment, but never get back to!) Buried beneath the junk, um, Neat Old Garden stuff, I spied the little old flower press my youngest daughter made way back when she was in Girl Scouts, many moons ago! (See what I mean about Rabbit Trails! Such is my life! I should have a whole warren of rabbits by now, as many trails as I've followed!)

Oh, yes, back to the flower press ~

I dusted off the spider webs and dirt and opened it up to discover several layers of very old pressed flowers and that the press was missing one bolt for the corner.

On the top of the flower press, youngest Farmer's Daughter had painted a flower, butterfly, ribbon at the top and a pink heart at each corner.

A Girl Scout project that she got a badge for completing, as did her whole troop.

The 'pressing papers' were a bit dirty, moldy and in need of replacing.

So I scrounged around and found the things that I needed to freshen up the press.

If you would like to make one, just cut (or have a sweet someone do the cutting for you)

Two 8"X8" pieces of 3/4 inch board or plywood for the top and bottom of the press.

Drill a hole in each corner to accommodate

Four 4inch bolts

(You will also need four flat washers and four wing nuts to fit on the bolts)

For the "pressing papers" we had/have some vintage pulp paper from when my Grandfather worked at a pulp/paper mill. It is similar to heavy poster board without the shiny side.
Cut as many pieces of poster board the same size as your press, notching off the corners so they don't interfere with the bolts.

Also cut two pieces of corrugated cardboard for top and bottom layers, cut in the same fashion as the pressing papers.

(The Domino Effect starting!)

The old pressed flowers.

This is a little cupboard I rescued a couple of years ago, that was destined for the trash heap. I painted it a soft sagey blue/green, added four little wooden drawer knobs for feet and decoupaged a couple of seed packets and dried flowers to the front of the doors. The flowers are faded of all color now, just a soft ecru color. I use it to keep some of my small garden items in ~ like a ball of string, rooting powder, seeds, etc.

(I drug this off the "potting bench" when I saw it on one of those Rabbit Trails! Thought you'd like to see!)

Putting your press together:

Position the four bolts coming up through the bottom of your press through the holes you have drilled in the corners.
Lay down one of the corrugated cardboard pieces, then one of the poster board pieces.

(Since the poster board may not be as absorbent as the pulp paper that I have, you may want to lay down a white paper towel between the pressing pages)

Lay your flowers however you want to press them.

Below ~ I am trying two Calendula flower heads, but they may be too thick to dry properly!

I have cut off the stem close to the head. I am putting them in the bottom so that they will be undisturbed while I check on the smaller flowers that will dry more quickly, on the top layers.

Below ~ 2nd layer

Some Malva Zebrina, a Cosmos and another that I can't think of the name right now!

And we must have Viola's!

Put the top poster board on, and the cardboard layer and feed the bolts through the holes in the top of your press....

...Fit washers over the bolts, and finally, tighten down the wing nuts. You may have to tighten them again later as the flowers dry some.
(Check to see if flowers are dry after two weeks, and every other day or so after that.)

You may, of course, decorate your flower press however you wish ~

maybe even with some of your pressed flowers!

I am leaving this one with the sweet painting by a special daughter

many years ago!


"The grass withers, and the flower fades; but the word of our God shall stand forever."

Isaiah 40:8


Anonymous said...

What a sweet, sweet post :)

First, rabbit trails are fun...second, I am glad I am not the only one to go through one of those...third, flower presses - oh, this is just delightful!

By the way, did you get any laundry done? ;-)

Be blessed dear friend,

Jennifer said...

So sweet - and how special that you saved it all these years...but did you ever get the laundry done:)

Lady Farmer said...

Dearest friends!
Not only did I get my laundry all done, I am already using the liquid form of detergent that I just made, washed a huge sink full of dishes by hand because I'm out of automatic dishwasher detergent now.(I've tried making my own, but don't like the residue it leaves), rescued 8 flowerpots that the wind blew off the fenceposts, played with the chickens, talked on the phone to daughter/creator of the flower press (for almost an hour!), and picked a bunch of peas and am happily snacking away on them as we speak (or I write!), Rabbit Trails or no! A fairly productive day!
Thanks for asking! ;~P

Sharon said...

Dear Raeann,

What a fun post! Thanks for the tips on how to make a Flower Press, I was just thinking about that last week. My old dictionary is getting pretty thick with Pansies under 'P', Aspen leaves under "A", Violas under "V'. :)

Did you like the liquid detergent better? I make my own powdered and use Lavender scented White Vinegar for the Rinse Cycle.

Oh, I can so relate to Rabbit Trailes. I started off this morning making Hummingbird Nectar, which led to the dishes which reminded me of laundry. When I went outside to refill the feeders, I picked some violets for jelly, moved the sprinklers around, had to get something out of the shed. Forgot because I remembered that I needed to do a freezer inventory :)

Have a blessed day Raeann :)


Simply Heart And Home said...

I love your post! I am going to try my hand at flower pressing (when my foot is better). What a wonderful tutorial. Thank you!


cheri said...

Rabbit Trails are my life! LOL!

I love this post - the sweet memories of your daughter's childhood; the rescuing of something someone else discarded; the homemade laundry detergent (BTW, I didn't like the homemade dishwashing detergent either...there has to be a better solution!)

Blessings to you - thanks for the lovely post!

Marqueta (Mar-keet-a) said...

Dear Lady Farmer,

I'm glad I'm not the only one who goes on rabbit trails on a daily basis! At least you were able to accomplish lots; and you have preserved something sweet and special from your daughter's girlhood.

We have been using borax and vinegar in our dishwasher; it seems to clean without leaving a residue.



p.s. The word verification is "minymule": perhaps a new breed of mule?

JustLindaSue said...

I have a very old flower press that I bought in a little antique shop and have decided to make some for my granddaughters...I also make handmade paper...QUESTION ..will my handmade/homemade paper work well in the flower press along with the corrugated cardboard? Thanks and just love your sweet little blog :)