Put Dried, Pressed Flowers to Good Use in the Form of These Beautiful Handmade Gifts

pressed flower tray
Ryan Liebe

Gift someone with a bouquet of flowers and they have secret meanings—some say, "thinking of you" while others say, "you're my friend," and others still say simply, "I love you." In the Victorian era, flowers were primarily used to deliver messages that couldn't be spoken aloud.

This sentiment inspired the projects you'll find here. We encourage you to discover the varieties of your garden—roses, calendula, cornflower, and so on—dry and press them, and then put them to good use in these handmade gifts for everyone: Transform painted wooden boxes into keepsakes with pressed flowers on the lids, terra-cotta pots bundled in floral-print linen, or pressed blooms served by découpage them onto a tray. Know someone in need of a spa day? Decorated vials of "flower soak" bath salts are the perfect addition to a self-care kit. More of a sweet-tooth yourself? Bake a batch of doughnuts sprinkled with sugared petals; there's a variety of edible blooms you can find online such as roses, princess flowers, violets, and pansies. Plus, freeze-drying your flowers can keep them looking fresh for months—a genius idea when in you're crafting in the off-season of your favorite varieties. Order a couple from your florist and use them in dried arrangements. All of these heirlooms are perfect for Valentine's Day and beyond.

Browse our editors' ideas here, embrace your inner florist, and witness your creativity in full bloom. The result will be beautiful, one-of-a-kind gifts that will tell someone special just how much you love them this Valentine's Day.

Created by Naomi Demañana; Art direction by Abbey Kuster-Prokell; Food styling by Riley Wofford.

01 of 06

Offer a Lift

pressed flower tray
Ryan Liebe

To brighten someone's table, "arrange" pressed blooms and découpage them onto a tray. The trick to nailing a 2-D bunch that's lush yet composed is to place the flowers first, then pick them up one at a time, brush the backs gently with craft glue from the centers out, and plant each back in position. Add a trailing ribbon, and protect your work with several coats of découpage glue or clear resin on top. For extra credit, gift it with blooming chrysanthemum tea.

Shop This: Zhuoyue Wood Bamboo Round Tray with Handles (painted pink), $25, amazon.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint, $2.49 for 2 oz., michaels.com; BBTO Real Dried Pressed Flowers, $12 for 42, amazon.com; Dry Pressed Pansies and Violas, $16 for 18, ranchatrockcreek.etsy.com.

02 of 06

Tap a Healing Power

flower and salt soak
Ryan Liebe

A rose-petal bath is the stuff of Hallmark movies and honeymoon suites, but this fragrant soak does a lot more than set the mood. It combines dried roses, calendula, and blue cornflowers with essential oils and mineral-rich Epsom and pink Himalayan salts to melt stress—a true fantasy scenario. To adorn the vials, put drops of water on whole blooms to stick them to the inside of the glass, then fill, cork, and seal with our custom labels.

03 of 06

Treat Your Sweeties

sugared flowered doughnuts
Ryan Liebe

These delicate sugared flowers will make their hearts flutter before they even take a bite. You can get a variety of edible blooms online: Roses, princess flowers, violets, and pansies are readily available. Just brush them with egg whites, sprinkle on superfine sugar, and let set overnight. Then arrange them on equally swoon-worthy treats, like iced cookies, cupcakes, or our orange-blossom-glazed baked donuts.

04 of 06

Plant One On

flower print linen pots and bag
Ryan Liebe

Floral-print linen can elevate a standard terra-cotta pot. To add fresh petals, simply slip a peak-season hyacinth or tulips (in their original vessel) inside. If you want to repot the blooms in the pretty container, leave the saucer fabric-free for watering. Another idea: Put bulbs in a DIY bag for a future garden. No sewing skills are required for either project—for the pot, cut the fabric to fit, adhere it with glue, and brush a few coats on top to seal and make it water-resistant. Then whip up the pouch with iron-on fusible web.

05 of 06

Capture a Moment

dried lavender and rose head arrangement
Ryan Liebe

These roses will look fresh for months, because they were freeze-dried in full bloom. Order a couple from a florist—they're doing lots of dried arrangements these days—or source them online. The blossoms typically come without stems (since those are harder to freeze), so we poked green floral wire into the bottom of each to make them, and secured and covered it with matching floral tape. To arrange, place a flower frog in a vessel, insert the roses, and fill them out with dried bougainvillea, ferns, seedpods, and grasses. Consider covering smaller arrangements with a protective glass cloche.

Shop Now: USA Party Sales Preserved Rose Heads, in assorted colors, $24 for eight, usapartysales.etsy.com; Wow Bouquets Preserved Rose Heads, $6.50, wowbouquets.etsy.com; Quick Candles Preserved Red Roses, 4", $17, quickcandles.com; Fabulous Florals Dried Lavender Bougainvillea, $27 for three, bulkwholesaleflowers.com.

06 of 06

Seal the Deal

flower boxes
Ryan Liebe

Pressed flowers in an enchanting ring or mandala pattern transform plain painted wooden boxes into keepsakes. Choose specimens that naturally lie flat, like pansies, and plot your design. Then pick up one at a time, paint a little glue on its spot on the box, replace the flower, and brush it with glue, from the center out. Finish with several allover protective coats. As everything dries, visible brushstrokes will vanish.

Shop Now: ArtMinds Unfinished Wooden Box, $6.50, michaels.com; DIY Unfinished Round Wooden Boxes, 4", $18 for 12, orientaltrading.com; Suri Urushi One Tier Magewappa Large Oval Bento Box, $39, en.bentoandco.com; Milisten Unfinished Round Wooden Box, 6", $12, amazon.com.

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