Designing with pressed flowers is very different from making floral arrangements with live flowers.
Remember that you are working on a miniature scale and flowers and leaves that look good in a vase will not be effective for a card which is created on a much smaller scale.
Another thing to remember about designing a card is that the material that you work with is dry and therefore stiff.
One of the most important things to look for in a dry design is softness and flow.
This can best be achieved by using curved lines and sprays that are often to be found in nature such as in this Nandina or Japanese maple leaf that was picked and pressed in spring when the new leaves were soft and maleable. Any small sprays with natural curves can be pressed.
Sometimes these lines can be induced with a clever bit of twisting and manual encouragement of curves before they are pressed.
The back end of a scissors blade can be stroked along a stem or spray of fine leaves to make them curve gently.
Have you noticed how a florist curves bits of ribbon while holding the ribbon and scissors between thumb and forefinger? Well, your stems will respond to this treatment too but be very gentle so that they don’t break.
Bear in mind that we are talking about curving the stems of fresh grasses and bits of greenery before they are pressed.
Because once they have been pressed they are dry and brittle and will not respond to this sort of treatment.
Individual leaves should be placed in rows along the paper, face down.
Ferns should be kept intact and not broken into smaller sections as they are much easier to break up into usable portions after
they have been pressed.
Do not leave delicate leaves such as fern in the presses for too long as they tend to lose colour and go yellow or brown.
However, even if they do go yellow, they still add a lovely texture to any design and other more stable colours can be used to counterbalance this rather antique effect.
In fact, any disadvantage, such as the loss of colour can with a little imagination be turned into an advantage. In this case it could be used to give your design a sense of that old world charm.
Use Dainty flowers as Fillers
The best “pressers” are mostly the tiny little insignificant ones that people often ignore. For example, baby’s breath or gypsophila presses very well. It’s often used by florists as a background to show up the more regal flowers in a bouquet. A spray or two of this will go very far.
You only need to use small bits to make a card so you will appreciate that one whole spray of gypsophila can go a very long way.
The same applies to alyssum which comes in tufts of white or purple and even mauve. Little sprays of these are very effective to set off your larger main flowers.
When someone gives you a bunch of flowers press some of them and even strip off some of the leaves for pressing. There really is no end to the variety and number of flowers and leaves that you can get hold of if you put your mind to it.
Getting ideas for designs
As you become more aware of design in your flower pressing you will start to notice design everywhere. You will find inspiration in the Flemish artists whose paintings of floral arrangements are so full and colourful.
You will get ideas from Chinese tablecloths, floral giftwrap, antique tapestries, reproductions of ancient manuscripts, inlaid furniture and painted ceramic ware.
The sources of inspiration are unending and you will learn and discover many new things as you become more and more involved.
Many more details in my easy beginners course Flower Pressing Secrets