Last fall, as the first frosts of the winter arrived, I looked into one of our garden beds where Dan had planted out an excess of pansies. As the sunshine melted off the frozen dew from the few cold-tolerant plants remaining, I felt quite sad that these constant companions would soon meet their end, so I clipped off a few of the undamaged blooms, pressed them between the pages of some hardcover books under a table, and promptly forgot about them.
As winter set in, I had forgotten how pansies are the easiest way to break up the monotony of green on lawns or among other flowers before they bloom. They are resilient, constantly self seeding, and make mouse-sized popping noises as their pods burst open into their tripartite structure. In addition, they are versatile for their culinary uses and enchanted with Victorian charm. While flower preserving is an old practice, there is something quieting in the act of gently manipulating the delicate petals.
Now in February, with the expected arrival of a new puppy at the end of March, and the snow and cold weather not showing many signs of leaving soon, I have been working my way up from floor to ceiling removing and relocating anything I suspected was chewable, tearable, toxic, valuable, or dangerous. Since books under tables qualify under the “tearable” category, I was pleasantly surprised to find my little collection of pressed pansies, and motivated to do something with them, so I decided to try to laminate them on card for labels and signs.
One recycleable resource easily found at yard sales and thrift shops is unusable card stock that no longer fits someone’s printer. I have accumulated a lot of card from people who are frustrated with trying to realign their documents when their printer models or card stock do not work well together. Putting some of these to good use, I lay the pansies along the edge of the card and put them in lamination pouches. Since I don’t have easy access to a lamination machine, I could not think of a way to transport the layout without it all falling to pieces. Even if I did manage to transport the elements without incident, I worried about how the flowers would survive being judderingly fed into a laminator without being glued down first, and I didn’t want to use glue because it might make the dye in the petals run and stain the card.
Instead, I decided the best way to preserve the layout of the flowers on the card would be to leave them loosely arranged and use the heat from my household iron to seal the lamination pouches. By placing the pouches between the folds of cotton fabric, I was able to preserve the layout easily without glue.
One slow pass of an iron heated to the “cotton” setting with a bit of pressure was enough to set the flowers in place, and then after cutting the pouches apart, a second pass helped seal the edges.
There are a couple of important things to keep in mind when using an iron for lamination. The longer you keep the iron idle in one place the greater the chance of crinkling the plastic. Instead, make multiple passes with the iron, especially over the flowers, allowing cooldown time in between. Also, where I had multiple flowers and stems overlapping, the heat did not penetrate deep enough to fuse the bottom sheet of the pouch to the card. To resolve this, once cut into individual pieces, I simply ironed both sides of the card where it felt lumpy and loose to strengthen the bond.