Pressing Complex Flowers
All of the flowers listed in "What Shall I Press" may be successfully pressed whole, just as they grow. Press some full-face with stems attached or separate, and others in profile. Include buds and partly-opened flowers just as Nature does.
However, flowers that are more complex in shape or made up of many petals such as carnations, must first be taken apart to press successfully, and then reassembled after pressing. Carnations are now flown to flower wholesalers around the world; they are available almost everywhere. For pressing select the small branching variety that are about two inches across when fully opened. Fresh from the florist, they should be stored in a vase of water until they open. Some will be ready for pressing over a period of several days.
Stemsand calyx must be split to reduce thickness. The goal should always be to get the moisture out of the material being pressed as quickly as possible to preserve color and prevent mold.
There is a good procedure to use in humid weather or when pressing a quantity of heavy material. On the second day, slip the computer paper "sandwiches" out of the phone book press and into a dry phone book. Work from the back of the book toward the front, allowing one-quarter inch of pages between sandwiches. When all the material has been transferred, replace the water jug weight. Keep the phone book press up off the floor for a good circulation of air. If there is still much moisture on the third or fourth day, the material will benefit from a second transfer to another dry phone book.
To the "Materials List" we now need to add a craft or "Xacto" knife, one with a replaceable blade. The knife will be easier to handle than a razor bladefor cutting and splitting flowers. Work on a thick pad of newspaper when cutting.