Flowers are gorgeous on their own and many people who receive bouquets of delivered flowers try to hold on to the fresh blossoms until the last petal falls off. Although it can be nice to keep flowers on your kitchen table, as your dining room centerpiece or on your nightstand for as long as possible, there are other ways to preserve the stunning arrangements so you'll never have to say goodbye.
A great option for keeping flowers that are dear to you is to press them. This way, the bouquet your husband gave you on your first anniversary, or the flowers you got delivered to the hospital when your child was born, can live on with you and your family over time. PreservedGardens.com recently broke down the best methods for pressing flowers so you can try it at home with ease.
In order to make the best pressed flowers possible, it's important to start the process when the flowers are at their freshest and when they are free from moisture, the website reports. It's optimal to start the pressing process as soon as you pick a flower from your yard or the day the blooms are delivered to your home - this allows them to keep the brightest colors. Next, try to imagine what certain flowers will look like pressed - you shouldn't have petals overlapping, unless it is intentional, for a specific artistic effect. Normally, the flowers should be laid completely flat.
Once you have picked the perfect flowers from your bouquet and have figured out how you want them laid out, it's time to begin pressing. For this procedure, place the flower or flowers between two sheets of paper inside a heavy book and leave at least 1/8 inch of pages between the pressings, then weigh the book down and wait a few weeks.
Another, more instant way to press flowers is to perform the same technique in the book method, but instead of waiting a few weeks, place the book with the flowers in the microwave and heat for short bursts of 30 seconds. Continue until the flowers are almost pressed and then put them back in the book and add another book on top for extra weight, then wait a few hours for the process to be completed.
If you'd prefer to put your flowers to use, it may be smart to consider making fresh potpourri. DabneyHerbs.com reports flowers like hydrangeas, roses, rudebeckia and Queen Anne's Lace all work to make a unified and fabulous smell, but you can also use your nose to be more adventurous with your unique scent. Once you have the perfect combination, you'll need to place the blooms on a tray covered with paper towels. Keep the flowers in a warm, airy place and turn them over each day until they are dry. You can also hang flowers upside down in small bunches in similar conditions. Flowers are typically dry when they feel slightly brittle, the website reports. Make sure not to over-dry the buds as they will lose their fragrance.
When the flowers are perfectly dried, you'll need to put on your chemist hat as the next step in potpourri making has to do with mixing scented oils. In most instances, the flowers you've selected won't have enough fragrance to make potpourri on their own. Instead, you'll need to start blending in different oils with your dried flowers to create a lovely final product. Depending on your taste, you should look for oils that are floral, citrusy, herbal or spicy and pick a dominant scent you like best. Then find your second favorite and use it as your accent scent. Mix four drops of your dominant scent and one drop of your accent smell in with your flowers and then shut the concoction in an airtight glass jar for 24 hours. After the allotted time, open the jar and take a sniff of your creation. If you like it, you can start putting the potpourri in containers to be used around the home. If you're not pleased, simply try the process again using different oils and flowers.