Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pressed Flower Luminaria

We just love these lanterns from Natural Home & Garden. They give off a soft, ethereal light, perfect for adding glow to outdoor gatherings or indoor suppers or even for your wedding décor. They also show off dried flowers in a spare, modern way – pressed between gauzy panels made from wax paper. As twilight fades to night, the luminaria glow brighter and brighter.
Foraged flowers or foliage, such as ferns leaves, rock rose, and Queen
Anne’s Lace (see note below)
Wax paper
Japanese washi tape (paper tape)
Votive candle in glass holder or battery-operated flameless LED
Tealight candle
Paper towels
Heavy books or a flower press
Craft knife
Clear acrylic grid ruler
Self-healing cutting mat
Iron and ironing board 

Note: Delicate leaves and flowers will dry faster than other types of specimens. Choose specimens that will allow a lot of contact between the sheets of wax paper so the sheets will adhere to each other.

Press Floral Materials 
Arrange freshly picked floral materials flat between two paper towels, and then place the paper towels between the pages of a heavy book or flower press. If using a book, stack other books on top to weigh down. Let dry completely. This will take a few days.

Make Panels  
1. Using a craft knife, cut four 9 x 4 ½" (23 x 11.5 cm) rectangles of wax paper.
2. Set iron to medium. When hot, place a flower or foilage on one side of the wax paper rectangle. You will fold the other half on top and seal to create a square panel, so arrange the flower or foliage within the rectangle accordingly. Keep in mind you can place the flower or foliage so it runs beyond the edge of the paper since you can trim after making the sealed wax paper square.
3. Fold the rectangle of wax paper in half to create a square so the pressed item is sandwiched between the two layers of wax paper. Press along the folded edge with your finger, making sure the edges are aligned.  
4. Seal with the iron, pressing over the wax paper lightly and quickly. The iron will fuse the two pieces of wax paper into one sheet.
5. Repeat steps 2–4 so you have four sealed square panels. Trim, if necessary. 

Create Lanterns 
1. Lay two floral panels side-by-side with right sides up and edges touching. Orient the panels as you want them to appear in the finished lantern.
2. Cut a 5" (12.5 cm) length of Japanese washi tape. Center the tape over the join between the panels and press in place, letting the tape extend ¼" (6 mm) at the ends. Flip the floral panels over and press the tape ends to the wrong sides of the panels.
3. Fold the panels, wrong sides together, at the join and run your fingers along the fold to make a sharp crease in the tape. This will allow the panels to be positioned at 90-degree angles in the finished lantern.
4. Continue joining the remaining floral panels in the same manner to make a floral sleeve. For the final join you may need to adjust how you tape the panels together by placing the tape along one edge of a panel so half of its width overhangs, and then attaching the neighboring panel.
5. Set the floral sleeve in the desired location and then place a votive candle in a glass holder or LED tealight in the center of the sleeve.

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