Using natural products in crafts for home use or gift-giving is an inexpensive and personal touch. With Valentine's Day around the corner, flower crafts can be a fun twist on the classic bouquet of roses and provide something new. Colorful fresh flowers are a great example of something almost anyone can access that can produce fun and interesting results. One way to use flowers in your crafting is to make DIY pressed-flower bookmarks for you, your children, or your friends. Here’s how to create personalized bookmarks with flowers from your yard or nature walk.

Step 1 - Select Flowers

Choosing flowers for your pressed-flower bookmarks might be a matter of what is available. Flower blooms change almost daily throughout the seasons so you can collect dainty crocus in the middle of winter, rose petals in summer, and asters in the fall. When collecting your flowers, think about colors and textures. What appeals to you? Do you want a variety of different petals or all the same type? Select some delicate options or go bold with hearty herbs like rosemary.

Keep in mind that unlike other endeavors that involve flowers, fragrance may not be as noticeable in your end result so you don't need to limit your choices based on what may or may not have a strong scent.

Step 2 - Collect Materials

Lavender Flower

In addition to the flowers, you will need a few other supplies to put your bookmark together. This is where the creativity begins. For example, you can press flowers onto paper or leave the paper out. Stylistically you may like the look of a transparent clear bookmark or you may want to highlight the color of your chosen flowers with some striking contrast of yellow petals on black or colorful flowers on a plain white background.

If you decide to use paper, a solid color is best so that it doesn’t distract from the flowers. The weight of the paper is a matter of personal preference, but a cardstock will net a more professional result than a thinner selection.

With your basic vision of paper color and petal selection hammered out, you’ll need to decide on a product to hold your project together. Clear packing tape is one option that is pre-formed in a convenient width so all you need to do is cut the length that you desire. Of course, you can also trim the width to suit your preferences. Another material perfect for pressed-flower bookmarks are clear shelf liners which come in rolls that can be cut into any size you want. Be sure to have scissors handy too.

For your flowers, you can choose whether to press them in a book prior to making your bookmark or to use the bookmark-making process itself to press the flowers as you go.

Step 3 - Pattern Layout

Dried Red Petals on Spiral Bound Notebook

There are endless variations for the design of your bookmark, which is what makes this project so fun. Visualize your desired outcome or just go with the flow and see what happens. Choose whether you prefer a symmetric design or a more random pattern.

Lay your tape or contact paper flat and weigh one end down with a heavy object such as a bookend. Then place your flowers onto the sticky surface, either alternating the direction the flowers face or creating a front-side/back-side design. If you are using paper as a backing, place it onto the sticky surface and place the flowers on top of it. Top your design with another sheet of tape or contact paper and press them firmly together to make a seal. You can use a heavy book to flatten your bookmark further at this point if you prefer.

Using flowers that you’ve previously pressed will net a thinner bookmark. Since previously-pressed flowers are dried they may be crumbly or fall apart when you handle them. Fresh flowers, however, are more difficult to flatten inside the bookmark. Play with both types to see what you prefer. When creating your design with fresh or dried flowers try folding paper-thin petals in half and placing bulkier flower heads directly into the tape or contact paper for a pressed-head look.

Step 4- Embellish

Colorful Pressed Flower Petals

Creating your pressed-flower bookmark is a basic process with a lot of room for embellishment. For example, you could include a favorite quote or a personalized saying. For a clear bookmark, write your words on colored paper and stick it onto the bottom portion below the petals. If you’re already using a paper background in your design, simply add the words in a scrolling font or calligraphy. You can hand-write them or print something off of your computer.

For a bit of added pizzazz and function to your bookmark, use a hole punch to make a hole in the top. Feed through a six-inch piece of cord or ribbon and tie it off. You can add beads, buttons, or other weights to the end. This will help keep the bookmark from getting lost in the book during use.

With some inspiration and creativity, you can make different designs or patterns with your flower petals too. Turn hydrangea leaves into a butterfly or contort red rose hips into a devil or a heart design. Additional materials from nature or meaningful mementos like stickers, paper cut-outs, and paper souvenirs such concert tickets can be incorporated too. The sky is the limit, especially if you're customizing a gift for a loved one.

Remember that the goal with pressed-flower bookmarks is to have fun creating something unique and one of a kind. Since there is very little cost involved, experiment with patterns and looks as you go. Once you have the technique down, you can use it as a classroom Mother’s Day project, make the kids a special Valentine’s surprise, or personalize gifts for your book club friends.