Monday, 25 August 2014

How To - DIY

Using a Microwave to Dry and Press Lavender!

You read that right! This is a 'How To' blogpost! 

To cut a long story short, I am making my own engagement invitations. The colours I have chosen for my wedding are peach and lavender. To reflect these colours in the engagement party, these are the colours I'm using for the invitations. I decided I wanted some actual lavender with each invitation, however, invites will be sent out next week and there just isn't enough time to dry and press them the traditional way. So after a short google search I came across another method of using a microwave, I couldn't find one for lavender specifically, so I decided to wing it, and it actually worked really well. So I thought I'd share with you the process. 

 Things you will need:

Fresh lavender. Of course. Kris (my fiancé) went on the extremely masculine task of gathering the flowers for me. Fortunately there was a thriving plant at his parents house.

Paper. Here I've just got plain A4 paper straight out of my printer. I've folded it in half and then ripped it to size. Size will vary depending on the tile.

Paper towel. Here I have two sheets, but I've still got them connected. It's not essential to have them connected, but as I was using it quite a bit, the better I got at the whole process, I realised how good it was to have them connected and able to fold.

A tile. Or a plate - something microwaveable but 'heavy'. I was fortunate enough to have just had my kitchen re-tiled and had some lying around. I made sure the paper when folded was the size of this tile. Nice and square. (shape and size really have nothing to do with it, the bigger the tile, the more you can press at once)



First you should align your papers like this, have the paper towel down first, then the 'printing' paper. Place it so the fold of the paper is with the join of the two paper towels. (this is why it's easy to have them still connected together) It makes it easy to fold over. Next arrange the lavender on one half. I arranged mine like this, you can do it however you want with how ever much you wish to fit on there.

The next few steps are quite easy, however I've included pictures for every little step to ensure a full understanding of whats going on.

Carefully fold the papers over so they're looking like this. If any of the lavender slide out, be sure to wiggle it back in place.

Gently press down on the papers until you can feel the lavender, then give it a firm push, this will keep them in place long enough for you to get the tile:
Place the tile upside down (so the shiny, smooth side is touching the papers) and make sure it is aligned with the 'printing' paper, you'll be able to see through the paper towel so this really isn't a very hard step. 

The two papers will act as 'blotting paper'. Blotting paper is what is used in traditional flower pressing.

With the tile in position, give it another firm push, pressing it all together. carefully slide everything as it is here, onto your hand and make your way to the microwave!

Place in the microwave like so. (I put some more paper towel on the plate of my microwave, this isn't essential, it just helps soak up any excess moisture)

Microwave for 1 minute on high. take a peak and see if they're dried and pressed to your liking, if not, microwave in 30second intervals until desired dryness is achieved. 

You will know when they're done as a strong smell of lavender will be coming from your microwave.

Carefully remove the tile from the paper, use a towel or oven mitt when handling this, as it becomes very hot!

Take the folded papers out of the microwave and place down, carefully unfold the top layers, and there you have it, nice crisp lavender ready for arts and crafts or just placing around the house!

Left: Fresh Lavender - Right: Microwaved Lavender

I really hope you try this out and let me know in comments if you do, also, let me know any of your tips and tricks for this, have you tried this with other flowers? let me know!


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