I remember spending hours gathering and pressing flowers and petals as a child. I had a little wooden flower press my grandad had made me, with little wing nuts and washers, stacks of cardboard he'd lovingly cut out of old boxes, and precious squares of yellow blotting paper. I still have that press somewhere, I must look it out, I bet it's still got faded paper-thin flowers in it.
Much as I enjoyed it, flower pressing wasn't a hobby for those who want instant gratification. And I suspect kids nowadays probably wouldn't have the patience to wait weeks and weeks before their petals are ready to use.
That's why the new Instant Flower Press from Interplay is such a great introduction to this pastime.
I was sceptical at first whether it was really possibly to achieve pressed flowers in seconds as claimed on the box, but we put it to the test.
Flowers are a bit thin on the ground in our garden at this time of year, but we hunted around and found some violets and yellow forsythia flowers.
The kit itself works in the microwave, so it's all made of plastic, with felt pads and cotton sheets to place the flowers between. It's robust and easy to assemble for little hands, although younger children may need some help squeezing it together to get the hinge pin through.
The instructions recommend heating in the microwave for periods of 20 seconds at a time before checking if it needs more. The flowers we selected required 3 lots of 20 second blasts before they were dry and pressed.
To prevent the flowers from burning, you're instructed to place a cup of water in the microwave with the press. It is recommended that an adult supervises the use of the microwave and I'd recommend getting into the habit of changing the water after every 20 second period - a cup of water can get very hot after a minute.
Young children may also need a little help gently lifting the pressed flowers from the cloth as they're so fragile. A pair of tweezers or a palate knife of some sort may aid the process.
We were delighted with our instant pressed flowers and being able to get on and craft with them straight away. We made this simple posy card with the violets by punching through a couple of holes into the card, threading a ribbon through before using PVA glue to attach the flowers and tying the ribbon.
I think this is a kit that's going to really come into it's own in the summer when there's an abundance of flowers and we're looking forward to using pressed flowers in all sorts of crafts.
The Instant Flower Press retails at £9.99 and is a great gift for crafty children. Recommended for children aged 8 years and over.
Disclosure: We were sent a kit for the purposes of this review. All opinions and images are our own.