THE BOOK METHOD
Choose an old heavy book. Make sure it is one you do not mind becoming slightly damaged as the moisture in the flowers will wrinkle and pucker the pages.
Open the book near the centre and line the pages with two sheets of blotting paper or thick paper that has a smooth surface. Do not use embossed kitchen roll as the raised surface will imprint on the delicate flower petals and cannot be removed after drying.
Leaves and ferns can also be included to add a natural wild element to the design.
Arrange the flowers on top on the paper. Leave at least a 2 cm gap between each flower so they do not stick to one another. Place the second page carefully on top and close the book gently without disturbing the arrangement.
Store laying flat in a cool dry place, away from strong sunlight or heat. You can place 1-2 more books on top to weight it down.
After a 2-3 weeks, open the book carefully and remove the flowers one by one with a tweezers.
You can store the preserved flowers in-between a folded clean sheet of paper then place in a flat envelope or a zip lock bag until you are ready to use them.
THE PRESS METHOD
Choose bright vivid flowers, undamaged by insects. Flowers with flat faces, such as daisies, and geraniums will press better than conical faces such as roses and tulips. However, you can remove the petals and press them individually.
Allow the flowers to dry completely before putting them into the press. Carefully dab away any excess moisture with a clean paper towel.
Lay a sheet of stiff cardboard onto the base of the flower press, along with a sheet of blotting paper.
Arrange your flowers and leaves on the paper, with ample space in between so they dry thoroughly. Place another sheet of blotting paper on top.
Follow with a second sheet of cardboard. If you have more flowers to arrange then repeat the step again until you have a few layers of cardboard and blotting paper.
Then place the top of the flower press board onto your stack of pressed flowers and tighten the wing nuts. Store the press in a cool dry place in your home, such as an airing cupboard.
After a few weeks you can open the press and gently lift the flowers from the paper using a tweezers.
THE BOX METHOD
You can alternatively dry your chosen flowers so that they retain some of their 3 dimensional form. If you choose this method of drying please be aware that for inclusion in my molds. Larger flowers would not be able to be incorporated in their full form due to space restrictions within the mold. However, you could remove the petals after drying and these can be used to form an attractive design.
Use an old cardboard box, such as a shoe box or an air tight plastic box. Fill the base of the box with a layer of silica beads. Arrange the flowers on top then fill with the remaining silica beads so as the flowers are completely covered. Place the lid on top and leave in a cool dry place, away from sunlight for a couple of weeks.
Carefully remove the flowers from the silica and use tweezers if necessary to remove any beads that may have become trapped within the petals. You can then store the flowers in a fresh cardboard box or an unused plastic lunch box. Store out of sunlight in a cool dry area.
An alternative is to hang your bouquet upside down in a cool dry place, preferably an airing cupboard. After a few weeks the flowers should be completely dry. This is an ideal method for drying lavender, statice and gypsophila.
THE FINAL STEP
Once the flowers are dried you can choose the ones which have retained their colour best. For pressed flowers, you can place between two smooth pieces of card/blotting paper, then place into a zip lock bag (with a silica sachet if you have one to hand) and place into a bubble envelope or shallow postal box. If the flowers are in the round, carefully place them into some tissue paper and then into a reinforced postal box to prevent any damage during transit. Please contact me and I'll provide you with my address for posting and once received I'll contact you again and we can begin the design process and I will set you up with a PayPal invoice. The process to make the piece(s) would be approximately 2-4weeks.
It is worth noting that all flowers will dry differently. Some will retain colour, others will not. It is a case of experimentation.
I press and dry all my own flowers, so I do have considerable experience knowing which flowers will work best. If you are unsure if your chosen flowers will dry successfully please contact me first for advice and I will be happy to help you out.