For centuries, botanists pressed and preserved individual plant specimens for easier transport back from the field (and easier storage for long-term study). In the 19th century, Victorian women did it to decorate their drawing rooms—and to help pass those long, social media–free Victorian afternoons. Even a teenage Emily Dickinson mailed pressed flowers in letters to friends and collected some 400 specimen cuttings for her own personal herbarium (now digitized and searchable thanks to Harvard’s Houghton Library).
Today, the original inspiration behind the current botanical style trend is flourishing once again, with dried and pressed flowers appearing on wall hangings, inside tiny glass vessels worn as jewelry, and even lacquered onto translucent phone cases—an application Victorian ladies surely would have embraced, given the opportunity.
With these ideas to buy or DIY, you can get started on a pressed-flower project of your own, or purchase something pretty that was harvested in another time or place.
Six-piece framed herbarium set from Ferns And Friends, $407; Scotch broom print from Day Three Creations, $10; Mandala flower art from Glass House Collection, $35; pressed fern art from Ecobota, $55.
Buy: Mounted and labeled in the herbarium tradition or deconstructed down to petals and rearranged in a mandala, dried-flower art takes many forms. (Note: Prints made from original pressings, while lacking the authentic texture of an actual plant, are more resistant to fading and may be a better bet for spaces blessed with strong sunlight.)
Search terms to try: pressed flower art, dried flower art, herbarium, pressed flower mandala, specimen art
DIY: It doesn’t take much more than a few sheets of plain paper and some large, heavy books to get started pressing fresh-picked flowers (those with petals of medium thickness and relatively flat faces work best). Read detailed steps for drying, pressing, and framing your own over at Biophilia magazine.
Dried fern and heather pendant from Bustani, $35; fern earrings from Eight Acorns, $40; daisy ring from Sincere Workshop, $17; moss and bark ring from VyTvir, $25.
Buy: Because what’s more romantic than dangling a rosy-hued heather pendant around your neck? Jewelry designers have a range of options at their fingertips for turning nature’s ephemeral gems into permanent, wearable ones. There’s resin casting, where flowers and plants appear as if frozen in ice; Tiffany-glass techniques, which hold blooms between two glass pieces that are fused together at the edges; looser, free-floating, terrarium-like designs; and even simple lockets. Which one is more your style?
Search terms to try: terrarium jewelry, dried flower jewelry, resin jewelry, Tiffany method flower jewelry
DIY: Using a ready-made glass locket and a few dabs of clear nail polish, turning a pressed posy into a pendant takes mere minutes. If you’re up for something a little more advanced, you can follow Lana Red Studio‘s advice for soldering your own glass flower frame using copper tape, or order silicone molds and resin kits for casting your own rings and bracelets.
Floral Neverland phone case, $27; Ampris Loves phone case, $20; House of Blings phone case, $17.95; Meadow Press phone case, $19.92.
Buy: Consider it your daily reminder to stop and smell the roses (and to call your mother, while you’re at it). From abstract arrangements of petals to orderly monochrome compositions (and everything in between), makers on Etsy and beyond are reimagining floral art for this portable and practical presentation.
Search terms to try: dried flower phone case, pressed flower phone case
DIY: Crafting your own flower-adorned phone case puts all the design decisions in your hands—and you don’t need any super-specialized skills to do the job. Discover how in our exclusive tutorial and then browse supplies on Etsy.