Don’t Toss Old Bouquets — Use Them To Make and Sell Pressed Flower Art, Worth up to 10k a Year
Turn your art into a business.
You may have seen the videos all over Instagram and TikTok. Deft hands gently sandwich a flower between two sheets of paper. The flower sits for three to four weeks — either in a flower press or between two heavy books — before it’s ready to remove and add to a glass frame.
Pressed flower art has been around since early human civilization (pressed laurels and floral garlands were discovered in the 3,000-year-old coffin of Tutenkhamun’s mother, an Ancient Egyptian). Recently, the art form has gained popularity on social media as a clever and inexpensive way to decorate. It’s also an excellent way to make cash on the side.
How This Mother-Daughter Pair Makes $10k a Year
Gail Zeeb and her daughter, Allison, began pressing flowers over seven years ago as a way to spend time with each other. They never could have imagined that it would grow into such a successful business. But how did it all begin?
‘‘My daughter, Allison, shares my love of flowers, something I’ve always cherished,” Gail tells Woman’s World. “Though we both work in the horticulture industry, we wanted to do something special and creative together. Since my mother used to press flowers for special occasions, I loved the idea of keeping this tradition alive with my daughter. Plus, it seemed like a great way to keep flowers around all winter long.
“So in 2016, we launched Capturing Blooms, where we began selling pressed flower designs in keepsake cubes and desk and window frames. We grow our own flowers, like sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, snapdragons, and pansies, and we’re always on the hunt for new and interesting seeds that we get from mail-order retailers. The process of pressing the flowers and creating the designs takes about three to six weeks. We use all different types of methods to press the flowers including paper, silica gel, the microwave, the oven, and even kitty litter.
“Customers can find us on our website (CapturingBlooms.com), social media, and at art shows. We get a lot of business from brides who want to preserve their wedding flowers, which is really meaningful. Our products range in price from $20 to $190, which brings in about $10,000 a year. At the moment, it’s ‘fun money,’ but the goal is to save for retirement, too. Allison and I also plan to include flower pressing courses in the future.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to be creative with my daughter,” Gail adds. “Working together on something we both love and enjoy is really the best reward.”
How To Start Your Own Pressed Flower Business
Just like Gail and Allison Zeeb, you can start your own flower-pressing business by first growing the flowers you want to press. Springtime is just around the corner, so consider purchasing some seeds of your favorite florals to get you started. From there, pressing flowers is relatively simple:
- Select your flowers for pressing. Species with single layers of petals and flat faces are usually the easiest to press. If you want to press large flowers with layered petals, gently separate the petals before pressing. When they’re dried and set, “reconstruct” the flower later when you frame it. (Or use the separated petals to make intricate designs.)
- Get your pressing tool. This may be a small stack of paper that you can place in between two thick, heavy books, or a very large, heavy book in which you can lay the flowers (between the pages). You can also invest in a flower press (available on Amazon).
- Lay the flowers down for pressing. Take your time with this step, as very careful layers will keep the flowers whole.
- Let rest for three to four weeks. At this point, the flowers should be fully dry.
- Frame the pressed flowers. Select a glass frame and sandwich the flowers between the glass.
Take photographs of your designs, and set up social media accounts for your business on Facebook and Instagram. Invite your friends, and post about your business in community pages on Facebook. Also smart: Create an Etsy account, through which you can begin selling your creations.
A version of this article originally appeared in our sister magazine, Woman’s World.