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Sometimes it is the simplest things in life that are the sweetest.
In this modern world of impressive iPad apps and elaborate electronics there is something irresistible about returning to the natural and beautiful experience of flower pressing! It offers so much value and we should do all we can to ensure it does not become a 'forgotten art'.
This Flower Press provides the equipment that a child needs to start creating art with nature;
Two wooden panels, cardboard sheets (so that you can create several layers in a single pressing) and four wooden nuts with cute butterfly bolts! All of these elements are reusable (including the card) so it sets your child up with the opportunity for lots of repetition! The set also contains clear, easy-to-follow instructions.
The only 'disposable' element of flower pressing is the use of blotting paper and it is therefore not included in the set. Blotting paper can be purchased from many art supply stores and stationers. If you are unable to find blotting paper the press can be used with regular paper but it is not quite as effective (or efficient) although it still provides good results. The specialty paper used for watercolour painting/sketching is also a great substitute and works better than regular paper. For your convenience we include a few complementary sheets of water colour paper so your child can get started right away!
The process of flower pressing is simple but extremely engaging and enjoyable. The child explores the garden to gather some flowers and then opens the flower press by unscrewing the ladybug bolts. The child then places down a piece of card on the wooden base, followed by blotting paper, the flower, more paper and another piece of card. If the child just wants to press a single flower (or single layer of flowers) then the wooden lid can then be replaced and the bolts tightened. If the child would like to make several layers then he or she can simply keep following the pattern (card, paper, flower, paper, card). The flowers are then left to dry out - ideally for a few days. When the child takes the dried flowers out they can be arranged within a frame or used to create a collage on paper or for handmade cards.
Flower pressing can be done by an individual or by a group of children working together. I have seen it enjoyed equally by 2-year-olds right up to my very mature 11-year-old niece! For an illustration of the pressing process please see the photos below (thanks to my handy helpers!);
The activity incorporates movement, encourages fine motor control, inspires the child to become absorbed with nature and allows for creative expression. Perhaps my favourite benefit is the fact that it promotes self-control, patience and the delay of gratification. Between sealing the flowers in the press and releasing them some time must pass - ideally several days. The longer the press is left undisturbed the better (and more long-lasting) the pressed flowers will be...but 2 or 3 days is a long time for a child (especially a pre-schooler!). So the child must exercise the willpower and self-control to avoid taking the flowers out too early. This also provides a self-correcting mechanism, because if the child does open the press too soon then the results will be less than what the child imagined.