Before autumn overtakes our garden, we decided to preserve some of our summer memories in the form of dried flower petals. From them we made flower petal candle holders. The last summer hooray!
Over the last few years, we have tried growing quite a variety of flowers in our garden. Maybe it’s because we moved quite a bit and never planted perennials. Maybe it’s because we found it fun to try new seeds every year. Finally, it occurred to me that if we made a herbarium every year, it may be fun to reminisce over them in the future.
That’s why we started drying petals in the first place. That – and because last year I got a microwave flower press as a gift for Christmas. I thought it’d be fun to press flowers together with my kids. The microwave flower press is very similar to a traditional flower press and can actually be made at home, with two ceramic tiles and absorbent materials in-between. There are also a lot of other ways of preserving flowers, but it’s really fascinating to see petals lose moisture and flatten out in a matter of minutes.
First, we did a round of our garden and picked a flower or two of each species in addition to many poppy petals. This summer was our first time growing poppies, and Anselm and I couldn’t get over how delicate and translucent the flowers are. We picked a lot of poppy petals! We also tried drying some dahlias, bachelor’s buttons, and hollyhocks.
We put the flowers with petals in the flower press, put it in the microwave for a minute, took them out and let everything cool off. Into the microwave for another minute, and we’ve got the beginning of our garden flowers herbarium!
You can see that some dried better, retaining its delicate look, and some dried worse, getting darker and less appealing. Some got crumpled when we took the press out of the microwave in the middle of drying, so we had to throw them away. But the majority were just fine, and we soon had a lot of petals.
Looking at all these riches (and thinking that there are many more still in the garden) made me want to turn them into something pretty, and of course, Budster was game for it. I think there may be more appropriate materials that you could use, but we wanted to throw something together to showcase the petals’ appealing translucency, so we just took what was on hand with the intention of creating some candle holders. We had…
We covered the candle holders entirely with a thin layer of glue. When it dried, it formed an even matte finish where there were no petals. But we didn’t wait for it! The glue dried fairly fast, so as soon as we gave candle holders a good layer of it, we started sticking petals to the glass. We used a brush with a little bit of glue on it over the petals to smooth them out.
As you can see from the picture, Anselm took a very active role in making the flower petal luminaries. From picking flowers to gluing them onto the candle holders, we worked together, and in the end I don’t think anyone could guess which luminaries were made by a three-year-old. That just shows, it’s a very easy craft to throw together.
And that’s it. Let the glue dry, put wax or LED tealight candles in, and have a pleasant candlelit evening.
For all I know, the flower petal luminaries won’t last for very long. They’ll probably fade from being exposed to heat on a regular basis. But they will still last much longer than living flowers, reminding us of the summer when poppies threw their petals across our lawn.