Made by my own hands from the dyestuff grown in my garden, this is how I harvest and preserve plants for the pressed botanicals collection.
Picking and pressing
To begin, you need to grow your garden with a project in mind. I love browsing seed catalogues, particularly for smaller flowers to make watercolour effect artworks.
Once grown, it's best to collect your plants on a warm, dry day. The key to successful pressing is to get as much moisture out of the plant as quickly as possible as this will help to retain its natural colour.
I then use blotting paper layered in newspaper. Don't be tempted to use kitchen roll as it will leave a pattern on the plant.
My big vintage trouser press takes 4 layers of pressings, and once that is full, I sandwich them between heavy books.
Tip: old phone directories make wonderful presses.
The plants remain in the press for at least 3-4 weeks until perfectly dry, before being sorted and stored in airtight tubs ready for use.
You then have pressed botanicals, ready to use as you please.