Spring is coming! The other day, I went bicycling with my husband and daughter in the country and discovered that wild flowers were starting to bloom. Soon, the fields will be full of bright yellow, purple, white, red, blue, pink, green…
As always, we picked some wild flowers to bring home. Unfortunately, they do not seem to last when cut. But I still like making small bouquets of them for our kitchen table.
Before the flowers began to lose their brilliant colors, I pressed some of them to make bookmarks. I usually press flowers the old way, by placing them between the pages of a thick heavy book. But this time, I decided to try a different way: by ironing. I thought that the speedy drying might help preserve the colors better. To my disappointment, I was not too successful in that respect. Maybe I ironed the flowers too long or at a higher temperature that I should have. In any case, there is no doubt which method is faster. The flowers were pressed and dried after a few minutes of ironing, instead of after long weeks in a book.
We keep a big box of scrap materials, which are ‘would-otherwise-be-garbage’ if we didn’t save them for their attractive colors, interesting textures, etc. So, I dug into that box and found some great backgrounds for the pressed flowers.
When I was deciding on the shapes for the bookmarks, my husband got out his old set of French curves for me to experiment with. What a great invention those curves are! I made a nice oval background for a stem of henbit with those elegantly curvy tools.
As you see in the photo above, some of the tiny petals of henbit broke off while ironing. So, I covered the flower with a rough mesh of dark red after gluing the fallen parts together on an oval shaped piece of white cardboard.
Though you cannot see it in the photo, the bookmark has another piece of red mesh on the back. After letting the craft glue dry very well, I used a leather hole puncher to make a hole at the top of the bookmark. A strip of red fabric ribbon adorns this bookmark charmingly. (FYI: We also have a box for scraps of ribbon, which come in handy for projects like this one!)
For this bookmark, I used a piece of earthy brown cardboard and Japanese paper that has bits of embedded bamboo. I ripped the edges of the Japanese paper to create the rough edge. The clear layer that you see is contact paper. It works well to protect and reinforce the piece. I think that the moss green ribbon complements the soft colors of this bookmark very well.
Inspired by my project, my daughter joined in on the fun. She picked a very thinly sliced piece of wood for her bookmark. The wood is approximately 1.5 mm thick (a bit less than 1/16″). Her father helped her spray a couple of coats of clear varnish on both sides of the bookmark. I think the varnish added a nice glossy finish while accentuating the wood grains and the flower petals.
A beautiful bookmark adds something quietly special to the joy of reading. Handmade bookmarks also make wonderful gifts.
So, when you start to sense spring in the air, put down your book for a while and go out to look for some pretty wild flowers!