Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How to Press Texas Bluebonnets ~

Ahhh....the beauty of a Texas countryside covered in 
Bluebonnets!
They blanket the Texas highways and meadows with their blue carpet 
from late March through mid April.  


 Bluebonnet's have a special place in every Texan's heart
and it is tradition to snap pics of family and pets
in the fragrant mounds of blue!
(This is my Engagement Photo!)

 So, can these beauties be pressed and preserved?
The answer is Yes!  But they are a little difficult!

 Bluebonnets tend to lose their color, so I try to help
them a little by trimming the stems and plunking them
down into fresh water and flower dye.  
I would think food coloring would work as well.

 Next, I trim the stems again, and trim the little flowerettes off of the back, 
laying them down between paper towel and chip board.
The flowers must be absolutely dry or they will mold and turn brown.

I then rubber band the chipboard/paper towel sandwiches together.
Place some pressure on top, like a brick or book.
It will take about 2 weeks to dry.  
After a couple of days, if the petals are browning, 
I place them in a dehydrator for about 5 hours on the medium meat setting or press in a Microwave Press, 100% power for 1 minute.
I put the leaves in a phone book.

 When the Bluebonnets are dry, they will look a little dull.

I perk them up with Copic Markers
(Blue Violet #BV08 and Spanish Olive #YG97)
I then go in with a toothpick and add the little white
dots with acryllic paint.

Here is a small piece I made for an Fund Raising Auction.

Bonus!  Did you know that the little pressed flowerets 
of Bluebonnet make great butterflies? 

I need to add a post script here about the legality of picking bluebonnets in Texas.  It is a longstanding myth that it is illegal.  Every Texan I've met was taught as a child that it was illegal.  It's not.  One quote I heard was "99% of Texans believe it is illegal to pick bluebonnets.  The 1% who don't are the police." Texas law says that it is illegal to impede traffic or trespass.  Annie's Law says, "Don't plunder them!  Enjoy a few and leave the rest for others to enjoy and so they will reseed and fill our highways with beauty! 

Have fun!!!

All Pressed Flower Art by: Annie Fentz Smith ~ Pressed Garden, LLC ~ Austin, TX

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