When I was a kid my parents used to send us to Summer Camp each year. This was a magical time for me and my sister, Gabe. It meant a whole week away from parents doing what we loved doing, camping. Okay, it wasn’t camping in the truest sense, there were cabins, working toilets and hot water, but we were out in the wilderness enjoying hiking, camp fires and other kids our age. One of my favorite summer camp experiences was at this place we only went to once (sadly), but what made it great was the fact they had classes you could sign up for.
You could take four classes a day for the entire week and by the end of the week you had something to show for your time there. Of course the main ones I wanted to take filled up fast: archery and ‘Make Your Own Flower Press’. Instead I got Hiking, Woodworking, Interpretative Dance (we did a show at the end of the week) and Aerobics.
My sister got into the Flower Press Class and I was so envious cause she got to bring home this beautiful device that immortalized flowers. It wasn’t until years later (many of them) that I decided it was time I make my own. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried this sooner! It is so simple! Plus I cheated by using pre-cut wooden plaques. Still, this is a fun project for child and adult alike and I figured I would share it with you lovely people.
4. Pre-cut wooden plaques (you can get these from most craft/hobby stores)
5. Paint Brushes
6. Nuts and bolts (x4) -Make sure they are long enough to fit through both pieces with extra give to accommidate the cardboard pieces.
7. (Not Pictured) Drill
8. (Not Pictured) Sandpaper
9. (Not Pictured) Ruler and Pen
Using the ruler, select where you want your holes to go on the wood plaque. I put mine as close to the edge as I could without causing the wood to splinter and break. Usually a configuration of a square within your shape works best. You only need to put the marks on one plaque cause you will be drilling through both at the same time. This will ensure your holes line up.
Clamp or secure your two pieces together. Make sure the pieces are back to back with the finished side (the side with the pretty edging) facing out. Be careful when selecting your drill bit. I put my bolts up to the drill bit to make sure they were about the same size. When in doubt, start small and increase the drill bit size as needed. You can always make bigger, but you can’t make it smaller.
Sand down the holes, removing any loose pieces of wood. This will allow the paint to go on smoother and keep you from getting splinters when using the press. Then make sure that your bolts fit nice and snugly. Test that the nut goes on without falling into the hole you made. If it seems to press into the hole too much you can add washers to counter-act this.
This is the fun part! Paint your press however you want. Use your stencils, make it a solid color, or put stickers all over it; whatever your heart desires.
Once your paint has dried it is time to cut the cardboard. The cardboard is used to draw moisture away from the flowers, keep your wood from rotting, and allow for multiple flowers to be pressed at the same time depending on how many layers of cardboard you cut. Make sure that your pieces fit within the four holes you drilled. I have found that for smaller presses three pieces of cardboard is best.
Put it all together! Slide your bolts in and thread the nuts on tight. You wont need to go tighter than your hand can tighten by itself. Now you’re ready to go cut some flowers and press away!
These are easy and fun to make (I already own several) and the results speak for themselves. Now you can keep those beautiful blooms with you all year long!