Making your own gift tags with dried flowers is a charming and thoughtful way to add a personal touch to your gifts. The processes for pressed and whole, dried flowers to use on your tags are also simple and fun. Buy fresh flowers at a florist or market, or gather them from your own garden.
You can craft your own tags using your choice of papers and colors, or you can buy pre-made tags from craft shops or art supply stores. A simple folded card is a quick method for making a card that can be tucked just under a ribbon. Here are a few simple ways
to dry flowers for crafting:
to dry flowers for crafting:
Pressing Flowers in a Book
It’s easy to dry flowers by pressing them. You can place flowers and leaves between the pages of a book. Use a book that isn’t precious. It is possible that the moisture and pigment from fresh flowers could bleed into the paper causing discoloration or warping of the pages. Likewise, colored paper or print can bleed color into your flowers.
1. After you’ve inserted the flowers into the pages, leave the book lying on its side.
2. Stack more books on top (or any other type of heavy object that covers the full surface of the book cover). Applying even pressure on the pages helps keep the flowers in place and the weight helps to flatten them.
Pressing Flowers Using a Press
Another method is to make or buy a flower press. This consists of two pieces of wood with sheets of absorbent paper between. The wood has holes drilled where long screws are inserted and tightened with a butterfly bolt.
1. Place the flowers between the sheets in the flower press. The best type of paper to use for pressing is white and slightly absorbent, such as construction paper or old-fashioned cotton blotting paper (which can be found from art supply sources).
2. A combination of paper sheets separated by corrugated cardboard gives better results when working with flowers that are thick as it allows a little “wiggle room” for fully covering the surface of the flowers.
3. Place the other piece of wood on top and tighten down the screws.
Whichever method you use, leave the flowers to press and dry for about a week. You can store them in the press until ready to use or remove the flowers and layer them between sheets of clean, dry paper in an airtight container.
Flowers with flat faces, such as pansies, violas, lobelia and hydrangea florets are ideal for pressing. Individual rose or tulip petals also press well and can be useful for background or layering into an abstract design. Many types of greenery work well for pressing, especially ferns, clovers and tree leaves.
Drying Whole Flowers with Silica Gel or Sand
The idea here is to completely cover the blooms with granules and allow the flowers’ moisture to slowly be released. If you have access to fine-grain, clean sand you can use that, otherwise, silica gel is an absorbent sand-like material that can be purchased from craft suppliers. Silica gel has the advantage of pulling moisture out of the flowers to make the drying process quicker. (For more tips on desiccating flowers check our article on Drying, Pressing and Preserving Flowers.)
1. Select a container that is deep enough to allow full coverage of your flowers.
2. Pour a layer of sand or silica gel into the base of the container.
3. Place the flowers in the container. Make sure larger blooms are face up and flowers are not touching each other.
4. Pour the granules very slowly and gently over and around the flowers until they are completely buried.
5. Allow the flowers to stay buried for a week (or according to the package directions if using silica gel).
6. To remove the dried flowers carefully pour off the sand or silica gel until the flowers are revealed. At that point, you can start to gently lift out the flowers.
Large or thick flowers will take longer to dry than small, delicate flowers. If you notice that your flowers don’t seem fully dried, just cover them back up and give them another week. Once removed, use a soft artist brush to dust off any excess powder from the dried flowers. Store dried blooms in an airtight container until ready to use.
Hanging Flowers to Dry
This is a no-fuss way to dry a bunch of flowers at once. It’s the same technique that is commonly used for drying fresh herbs.
1. Tie a bunch of cut stems together with some string, leaving a length of string long enough to tie the bundle to a bar, a nail in a beam or wall, or use a clothespin to clip bunches to a coat hanger or line of rope. The bloom end of the bunch should be facing down. This allows moisture to slowly leave the flowers, helping to preserve the color and shape. It also helps ensure the stems dry straight.
2. Leave the flowers to dry. You will easily be able to see when your flowers are fully dry.
You can continue to store dried bundles by leaving them hanging. Make sure they are hanging in a dry, cool location away from direct sunlight (which can prematurely fade the flowers). They may also be stored in airtight containers.
Some of the best flowers to dry by hanging are statice, baby’s breath, hydrangea, strawflower, celosia and lavender.
How to Attach Dried Flowers to a Gift Tag
If you are going to write on the gift tag, you might want to do that first, then arrange and attach the flowers around your message. If working with small, delicate flowers you’ll find that a pair of tweezers is useful for arranging the flowers. It’s easier to see what you are doing with your fingers out of the way. Place a dab of craft glue on the paper (or use a glue gun) then simply set the flowers into the glue and allow them to dry.
If you’re using pressed flowers, spread a thin film of craft glue on the tag, then set the flower on the glued area. Once pressed flowers are attached to the card and the glue has dried, you have a few options. You could leave the tag as it is, you could coat the front of the tag with a sealer, such as Mod Podge, or, if the flowers are flat enough, you could laminate the entire tag. Make a hole with a punch to create a place to thread through a colorful ribbon or twine, and your tag is ready to attach to a gift!
A great way to get whole, dried, flowers for crafting is to harvest them outdoors in the winter. Plan for a beautiful winter garden, and get ideas for plants that dry well outdoors, in our article 7 Tips for a Beautiful Winter Garden.