I rarely (if ever) iron clothes... but I do iron plants
that I use in many creative meanders... including tea bag luminaries,
accordian books and many other creative projects. Often I press leaves and flowers in the traditional method - between books.... but at other times I iron my botanical bits.
My lovely little potted ivy has not been doing well (as it was moved and forgotten over Christmas) and so today, I cut it back hoping that it will now be able to recover from my neglect. But I had some beautiful leaves that I removed - some dead and some still alive. I decided to add them to my stash of botanical bits that I use in my creations.
I took the dead and dry leaf (pictured on the right) and carefully ironed it flat.
I did by heating my iron (with steam turned off) to about level 5. I then held the iron gently just touching the leaf or just above it. The heat from the iron provides a bit of moisture and helps soften the dried leaf.
Then I gently placed the iron on the leaf and slowly move it onto more of the leaf. The leaf relaxes and flattens with the heat. Once it is flat I added more pressure to the whole leaf.
I love how these leaves look and love to be able to press them with my iron even after they are dead and dried.
For the green leaves that were still alive, I used my microwave press.
The press has two heavy layers of unglazed clay, with two layers of thick felt and two layers of a cotton cloth. The live plants are put sandwiched between the layers of cloth, felt and clay, and heated in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
The clay holds the heat, and the moisture in the plant is removed into the felt and the clay. It is a really fast way to press bits of plants.
I find that I don't always have time to press plants before they die, so I just collect them and then use my iron just like with the leaves to flatten them so I can use them. This picture is of dead petals and leaves - tulip and tigerlily petals - a crocus and a leaf of some type.
Here they are after I ironed them. As you can see one of them crumbled when I tried to iron it, but I will be able to use all of the other pieces in some creations. When the petals are curled up, I just put the tip of the iron at the bottom of the curled part and slowly work towards uncurling it as the heat relaxes the petal.
My ironing is done for the day, and I have such a beautiful collection of botanical bits ready to create with.