Craft ideas

Creating a herbarium – tips & techniques for drying the flowers

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You are sure to feel nostalgic when the cold winter sets in and the time for your colorful garden flowers is over. However, we have an option that will help you to enjoy the flowers in winter too, so that you can start the winter with joy, drink a hot tea or cocoa and watch the snow from the window. And you can do a nice one Create herbarium and collect all of your flowers, leaves, grasses and other plant parts. But what is a herbarium? You will find out now!

Create a herbarium – a collection of flowers and plants

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So a herbarium is a collection of dried plants that are pressed in advance for this purpose. With enough copies you can even make a herbarium folder and equip it with a cover sheet for the herbarium. But what is particularly important when setting up a herbarium is that the flowers and plants are dried properly and sufficiently. This is the only way to keep their real colors.

Create herbarium at any time of the year

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So that you can also be successful in designing the herbarium, we would like to provide you with tips on the herbarium and help you with planting. Fortunately, you still have the whole summer to try things out and of course to collect all sorts of pressed plants and plant parts. Leaves that you can collect in autumn, for example, but also blades of grass are suitable for the herbarium.

Collect and do handicrafts with children

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You are also welcome to set up a herbarium with children. This is often done with the whole class, especially in schools. In this way, the children can be taught different plant names and assigned to the respective plants. To ensure that your herbarium lasts for a long time, there are a few things to consider.

Collect plants and create a herbarium

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You can add the flowers to the herbarium at any time. But be selective. The fresher the flower, the better. Make sure they are in good condition and have no cracks. After all, you want your flower to look pretty forever. For this reason, it is best to always have a pair of scissors and a basket ready in the garden. So you can collect the right flowers at any time. You shouldn’t be sorry for cutting off the fresh flowers. In this way you stimulate the growth of more and more flowers.

Avoid moisture

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The best conditions for collecting the flowers for the herbarium are dry plants. This means that the morning dew should already be dry. So if you get up early, don’t start collecting right away, but wait until the moisture has evaporated. On the other hand, the evening is also suitable. But don’t wait too long here. The dew already forms in the evening, so the flowers should be collected before that. You should also avoid rainy days for collecting. After rain, let the plants dry for about two to three days and only then start preparing for the herbarium.

Press plants

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If you have collected enough flowers, do not waste time, but start pressing as soon as possible. So before collecting, assess whether you have the time to do it. If you still have to do something quickly, at least don’t leave the flowers out in the sun. Otherwise the “harvest” for the herbarium will be ruined quickly. When you dry the plants for the herbarium, we recommend sorting them into groups.

Sort by groups

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So similar types and colors of flowers come into one group both when you dry them and when you set up the herbarium. This will make sorting in the herbarium and labeling easier for you later. Place the sorted flowers upside down on a sheet of white paper. The paper will later protect the pages of the book. Make sure there is enough space between the flowers. If they touch, they stick together after drying and can no longer be separated from each other.

Collect dry plants

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Then take another piece of paper and place it on top of the first one with the flowers. Be careful not to move anything. Place this “sandwich” in the middle of a thick book. You are now one step closer to creating the herbarium. The next thing is to wait and see. The paper pulls the moisture out of the flowers and absorbs it. It is also important that you use blank paper. The printing ink could be transferred to the flowers in the course of the drying phase and then you get labeled flowers, which you do not want.

The right flowers

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Now there are both flowers that are very suitable for pressing and herbarium, as well as those with which hardly or only with difficulty a success is achieved. In principle, the less moisture a plant naturally contains, the easier it is to dry it. It follows that fleshy flowers are not suitable. This is because these contain more water. And in fact, in the hardworking Lieschen or in the begonia, after a period of drying, the flowers rot.

Strong colors

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The durability of the colors also plays an important role. Some of them lose their strong colors and become cloudy during the drying process, while some varieties even, on the contrary, become even prettier. Suitable flowers for the herbarium include the following types:

Suitable garden flowers

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– Abyssinian gladiolus (Gladiolus callianthus)

– Borage (Borago officinalis)

– Decorative basket (Cosmos bipinnatus)

– Garden barbarian spur (Consolida ajacis)

– Whorleaved girl’s eye (Coreopsis verticillata)

– Dahlias (Dhalia)

– The flowers of the carrots (Daucus carota)

– Larkspurs (Delphinium)

– California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

– Garden hibiscus / hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus)

– wing tobacco (Nicotiana alata)

– marigolds (marigolds)

– Verbenas (Verbena)

– pansy (viola)

– Zinnias (Zinnia)

Idea for thick flowers

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Since the dahlias, marigolds, the garden hibiscus and the zinnias are quite thick flowers, pressing them into the herbarium is more difficult. For this purpose, the flower is usually simply torn apart and the petals are dried separately. Then the flower is folded up again.

Tools for pressing

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As is well known, books are traditionally used to press flowers, leaves and other parts of plants. We all know that from childhood, when we mostly dried four-leaf clovers. You can also use this if you want to create your herbarium. Put the prepared sheet of paper with the flowers in a book and stack other books on top of it, if necessary. A press is just as practical. This is also better suited for pressing the thick flowers mentioned above. Such presses can be bought, but they are usually expensive. But there is nothing stopping you from building your own flower press. In fact, it works a lot easier than you might think.

Flower press

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You only need two wooden boards, each with a hole in each of the four corners, thick cardboard, four anchor bolts, washers and wing nuts. To prepare, simply drill the aforementioned holes in the boards. Then you can stack as many layers as you like or as many as the screws allow, and create your herbarium. Between the cardboard layers there is a layer of flowers between paper.

Build the press yourself

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Then the screws are screwed tight and you wait until all the flowers have dried well so that you can create the herbarium. A helpful tip is to put a slip of paper on each layer with the type of flower and the date on it. These notes can be hung out of the press so that they are visible at all times. So you always know exactly whether you can solve the press.

Duration of pressing

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Once you have laid the flowers to dry in the herbarium, it is important not to interrupt this process. In addition, the same pressure must be applied to all of the flowers. This is easiest to do with a book. To ensure this is also guaranteed for the press, you should make sure that all nuts are tightened equally. But how long do the plants press for the herbarium? You need at least a month.

No interruptions

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Now suppress your curiosity, because a premature look at the flowers could cause them to tear when opened. And even if this doesn’t happen, there is a risk that the flowers will shrivel afterwards, which cannot be undone. Then you would have to start all over again if you want to create a herbarium.

Create a herbarium

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Your patience should be rewarded as soon as the flowers are ready. Now is the time to create your own personal herbarium. The dried plants can now be used for a wide variety of purposes. To create a herbarium you only need time, desire or possibly an occasion. Hobby gardeners, for example, use the idea of ​​creating a herbarium to collect their gems in an album.

Make a scrapbook as a herbarium

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In this way you will always keep your copies in mind and you can always be proud of your success when you look at the album. The dried flowers that you used to create the herbarium can easily be glued to the individual pages for this purpose. Divide the album into the different seasons and label the flowers. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll encourage you to replant certain varieties.

Create a mural

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Decorate your home with a pretty mural that you can put together yourself. You can design a colorful meadow or just come up with an interesting arrangement so that you can create an interesting herbarium.

Tinker greeting card

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Everyone is happy about flowers. If these last forever, the joy is even greater. You can decorate gift packaging with dried flowers or make your own greeting card for a specific occasion and then decorate it with the flowers. Create an original idea for the herbarium that is perfect for giving away.

Decorate candles

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You probably already know from our article on decorating candles that candles can be wonderfully designed with dried flowers. The flowers are easily fixed in place, which you can do with the help of our instructions. Just follow the link from the first approach of this article and you can set up a herbarium that you can look at at any time.

Decorate the phone case

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We also find the idea of ​​designing a cell phone case particularly romantic. So you can create a herbarium and always carry it with you. This idea is also perfect as a gift and makes your cell phone or smartphone look romantic and unique.