At the end of summer, my daughter and I loaded up this sweet little flower press my Granny gave me when I was a little girl.
If you’ve never used a flower press before, the way it works is you remove any thick parts of the flower, like the stem, and sandwich the blossoms between sheets of absorbent paper. The top of the press has wing nuts which get screwed tighter and tighter during the drying time.
Pressing flowers requires a bit of patience, as the flowers need to flatten and dry out for about two weeks before they are ready to be used. My daughter completely forgot about it after a couple of days, while I faithfully tightened the screws on the press every so often.
FYI, you don’t need an “official” flower press–a large, thick book can work just as well. I sandwich the leaves or flowers between papers in the book and then place more heavy books on top to press everything flat.
Meanwhile, a stop at our local Trader Joe’s inspired us with some out-of-the-ordinary pumpkin colors. At first, Lina was a bit flummoxed by the idea of not buying an ORANGE pumpkin, but I knew I wanted some lighter, non-traditional colors that would provide a nice background for the pressed flowers, so I encouraged her that we were going to think outside the box a little for this project!
There were so many gorgeous pumpkins! I especially loved the seafoam green one!
Back at home, we unloaded our flower press and were excited to find we had a variety of beautiful blossoms and leaves to work with!
To apply the pressed flowers to the pumpkin, I used ModPodge in a matte finish. I painted the ModPodge onto the area of the pumpkin I wanted to design and set the pressed flower in place. Because the pressed flowers are so delicate, you really can’t reposition the flower once it’s placed, so make sure you are certain before setting it in the ModPodge. I also waited a little bit before painting the ModPodge over the top of the pressed flower.
This had to be done very gently, dabbing the ModPodge on rather than dragging the brush across the flower, to keep the flowers from tearing.
I found that certain pressed flowers were more rigid and did not want to curve around the form of the pumpkin. In some cases, such as the brown, oval leaves above, I did not force the issue and let the edges stick up. In other cases, I was able to snip longer pieces into segments so they would adhere to the curved pumpkin better, as in the picture below:
It definitely required 2-3 THICK coats of ModPodge to get the job done, allowing drying time in between, but the results were everything I’d hoped for and well worth the patience required!
I decided to add some hand-painted details to my seafoam green pumpkin. The pressed flowers weren’t quite as vibrant as I wanted, so I mixed up some acrylic paint and added a watered-down glaze of purple to the top of them. I also used the end of my paintbrush to add the cream-colored dots to the design.
When I began this project, I wasn’t sure if my idea would work AT ALL, (that’s always the scary part of any creative endeavor!) AND I wondered if it would work better on real or artificial pumpkins.
While the rest of my pumpkins were the real deal, this one was artificial and I bet you could barely tell in the pictures above! I felt like the process worked equally well on both types of pumpkins and this one won’t rot and end up in the garbage!
The pumpkins worked in really well with our fall decorations in the house. Here they are on my china hutch:
I love the touch of minty green mixed with the fall foliage. And my daughter, who was a bit opposed to the pumpkins not being orange, was completely won over once we added all of the pretty pink and purple flowers–her two favorite colors!
So there you have it! A fun new idea to try with your fall pumpkins this year with nothing more than a few pressed flowers and some trusty ModPodge!