I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a flower that I didn’t like. And although there are a handful of flowers that are *very* poisonous if ingested (Oleander! Angel’s Trumpet! Poison Hemlock!), for the most part, flowers are credited with brightening dispositions and enticing pollinating animals and elements since the beginning of time. Here’s a way to make your own simple flower press to preserve and share the ephemeral beauty that is The Flower.
- Two pieces of paper
- Two rubber bands
- A piece of cardboard about twice the size of a sheet of paper.
CONSTRUCTING THE PRESS
- First, cut (or crease and tear) each piece of paper into four equal rectangles, giving your eight sheets of small rectangular paper
- Second, cut 5 pieces of cardboard into rectangles the same size as the paper.
- Third, layer your press. One piece of cardboard, two sheets of paper, one piece of cardboard, two sheets of paper…and so on, until your press is constructed.
- Stretch the rubber bands across the short end of the press to secure the cardboard and paper.
- Adorn the front of your press as desired
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USING THE PRESS
Now that you’ve made your press, it’s time to wander into your backyard or along a street outside your apartment and collect some FLOWERS. Here are a few things to consider.
- Get to know the poisonous plants of your area and avoid putting them in your press. Although this project isn’t intended to give you something to eat, be aware of touching a potentially strong flower and then touching your face/lips.
- ASK the flowers if they’re ready to be picked! Be direct and humble about your floral pluckings. The pollinators, the soil, and millions of other eyeballs and life forms depend on flowers.
- Place each flower or petal between the two sheets of paper. Reassemble the press and re-secure the rubberbands. Wait.
BECOME A FRIEND OF FLOWERS
One of the simplest ways to befriend the flowers is to get to know their names. Once you have gathered a few flowers for your press, take a closer look and try to answer some of these questions about who you have in your midst.
- What color is your flower?
- How many petals does your flower have? (Sometimes, tricky sepals or bracts can look & act like petals but are actually modified leaf-life structures that protect or flaunt the more delicate petals. Check out Bougainvilleas and Lillies for good examples)
- How many pistils & stamens does your flower have?
Three Common Types of Flowers
While there are many families of flowers, keying your flower into one of these three categories will get you much closer to learning who your flower is!
- Regular flowers boast radially symmetrical petals, like that classic four or five petaled flower that you, me, and the kids draw.
- Irregular flowers show funky shaped petals that aren’t all the same, like violets, pea family flowers, and mint family flowers.
- Composite flowers are a hallmark of the Aster family. Many beautiful petals surround a disc of teeny tiny flowers. Sunflowers!
And if you’re ready to up your flower press to the next level, find inspiration from a dear friend of mine who made a flower press nearly three decades ago as a young girl and created these paper thin petalscapes of beauty.
Got a mystery flower, a never before seen petal, or an extraordinary pollinator story? Send it my way –> firstname.lastname@example.org and we can revel together.
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