Pressed Flowers

by Catherine Kramer

Picked and preserved, delicate pressed flowers and foliage give any spot in the house summery charm.

Prairie View A vintage window filled with wildflowers will give you blooming vistas no matter the season. Find an old window with character at a flea market or antiques store, and clean the glass or fit its panes with new glass. Use tweezers to maneuver the delicate pressed stems onto the lower panes to determine an arrangement. Working one flower at a time, apply tiny dots of white crafts glue on the backs of petals and stems, and gently pat back in place with tweezers; don't use your fingers--they'll get sticky and pull the flowers off the glass. If petals stick up, brush a little glue under the edges or across the top (it dries clear). If necessary, cover the blooms with wax paper and weight them down with a book until the glue dries.

To order a pressed flower and fern package to make all six projects in this story, see page 30.

Ring of Posies Set against a crisp-white backdrop and protected by glass, a garland of pansies gives a plain tabletop garden freshness. Choose a table in a pale hue that will cause your pansies to pop into view, or paint one in a color of your liking. Lightly trace a plate or other circle template on the tabletop with a hard-lead pencil. Lay a chain of pansies on the pencil mark, overlapping petals for a thick, filled-in line. For showstopping contrast, mix deep purple and sunshine-yellow flower heads. Pick up each pansy, dot with white crafts glue, and pat in place with tweezers. Let the glue dry before topping the table with glass.

A Leafy Link Feathery fern fronds bring different candles and photos into harmony with woodsy texture and hue. Choose various white or cream pillar candles, and match them with ferns slightly shorter than each candle. Add tinier fill-in fronds as well. Preview the arrangement, then apply glue to ferns and pat on candle; if ferns curl up, brush glue over the edges. For a permanent display, let the candle melt down until there's a cavity big enough to hold a small tea light or votive candle; burn the tea light and replace as needed.

Using pressed ferns as decoration, you can give family photos a natural setting also. Mount three black-and-white photographs, similar in size and theme, to black paper cut slightly larger than the photos. (Use archival-quality paper and glue, or make copies of your original photos and use those.) Place the matted photos on one piece of glass, position fern fonds until they please your eye, and add the second piece of glass on top.

Singular Sensation Sturdy blossoms with sculptural silhouettes easily stand on their own. To showcase single stems, paint four wooden crafts-store frames. Choose a pale paint that complements the flowers as well as your style. Cut pieces of decorative handmade paper to a size appropriate for the frame openings. Dot glue on the backs of the petals and stems, and place a flower onto each piece of decorative paper with tweezers. (If you want to revise placement before the glue dries, carefully bend the paper away from the back of the flower, and start over.) Cut cardboard to fit a frame opening. Attach paper-backed flower to cardboard, place in the opening, and secure with small nails or framer's points.

Shades of Summer Tiptoeing in a tidy row across the bottom of a paper window shade, these lilies spring up like dancers. Head to the crafts or art supply store for decorative paper embedded with flower petals or other plant material. Cut a piece slightly larger than the window, plus an inch at the top. Using a straightedge to tear against, rip away the paper edges for a rough finish; make sure the final piece fits the window. Fold over an inch of paper at the top to make a rod pocket, and hem it with glue. Glue individual flowers across the bottom of the shade.

Pressed Flowers

Make all six projects shown in our "Pressed Flowers" feature on pages 38 to 46 with this Pressed Flower and Fern Project Pack. Created exclusively for the readers of Better Homes and Gardens[R] magazine and not available in retail stores, each collection contains nine sheets of pressed flowers. You'll receive two sheets each of rabbit's foot ferns and large pansies; one sheet each of pink alyssum, caspia, blue salvia, and leopard lily; and one sheet containing blue lupine, yellow lupine, orange cosmos, and yellow cosmos. From Nature's Pressed, each collection costs $46.95, which includes shipping, handling, and applicable sales tax. The number of collections is limited by the amount of real flowers harvested this spring and summer, so please order early. To order, see information at the bottom of this page.