Learn how to press flowers! All of us at some point or another have come across pressed flowers. They are stunning keepsakes that allow you to not only get creative with your gift wrapping and wall hangings but can also keep your precious floral memories intact for years to come. Flower pressing has been around for centuries and while it seems like a relatively easy thing to do, there are a few key things you need to know to get the best results.
How to Press Flowers
One of the first things that you need to be careful with is what type of flowers you are choosing. You can pick your own flowers or you can use a bouquet that someone might have given you. With flowers that have already been plucked, the key is to press them as soon as you can so they retain their color better. If you’re picking the flowers, however, here are some things to keep in mind;
- Pick the flower right as it blooms since that will help you retain the bright colors better than when the flower is not in its prime anymore.
- Look for flowers that are free from any blemishes or tears.
- Pick flowers that don’t have dew on them and have already been dried out by the sun.
- It's better to choose flowers with flat buds but if you want, you can always go for more globe-shaped buds and cut them in half.
- Choose focal flowers, smaller buds, and greenery as well to make for a better-pressed flower collection.
Here are some of the best flowers to press when you are first starting:
- Small Lillies
- Small Roses (larger roses will need to be cut in half)
How to Prep Flowers for Pressing
Once you have your collection picked out, you need to start prepping them to be pressed. There are a few easy steps that may seem unnecessary but can honestly be the difference between success and failure when it comes to flower pressing.
Right after cutting your flowers, you should plunge the stems into the water to make sure your colors stay as vibrant as possible.
When you have all the flowers and leaves you need, cut the stems at an angle with scissors. The angled cut allows maximum water absorption when you place them in a vase with clean water.
Remove any low-hanging or blemished leaves or petals. Make sure the stems are as clean as possible. If you have any thick flowers, cut them in half very carefully.
Once you feel like your collection is ready, place it on a flat paper towel to absorb any extra moisture.
How to Press Flowers
Now we get to the main event! Once you have your flowers picked out and prepped, you can start pressing them. There are a few ways you can do this and it depends on what supplies you have, the amount of time you want to wait, and the experience level you have. You can use whichever one suits you the best.
Method 1 – How to Press Flowers with a Book
As the most popular and well-known way to press flowers, the book method is also the easiest. This method does not require a lot of effort and is very beginner-friendly. The only downside is you might not be able to read the book for a while the flowers are drying. It may also leave marks in the book so don't use your library books!
- A heavy book you don’t mind damaging
- Blotter sheets, parchment sheets, or newspaper sheets
- Weights or more books to help create pressure
Step 1 – Place flowers inside
Take each stem of the flowers and place it between two sheets of absorbent paper. Don't place more than one flower in between each piece of paper since the moisture from one flower can upset the drying process of another. Once you have all your flowers in between sheets of paper, you can place them inside the book. Keep a few pages in between each flower and you're good to go.
Step 2 – Weigh down
Once you have all your flowers inside, close the book and lay it on a flat surface. Rubber bands can be used to keep the book cloaed. Use weights or other large books to weigh it down. Be mindful when placing the weights to ensure you don’t disturb the placement of the flowers.
Step 3 – Change sheets
While the flowers are drying, you will need to change the blotter sheets every two to three days to allow for maximum moisture absorption. Be careful when you do this and if you think a flower may be too delicate, just place new sheets around the older ones.
Step 4 – Enjoy!
Depending on the weather at the time you’re pressing your flowers, within two to three weeks your flowers will be ready. Open your book really carefully and use tweezers and a steady hand to pull out the flowers. Pressed flowers are very delicate so you need to be very careful so as not to ruin any of your hard work.
Method 2 – How to Press Flowers with an Iron
If you're looking for a quicker way to press your flowers, you can use an iron to quickly press flowers. Using an iron will help you get rid of the moisture much quicker but it does require a certain level of experience because you may end up scorching more delicate flowers.
- An iron with no water in it
- A heavy book
- Blotter sheets or newspaper sheets
Step 1 – Place flowers between two pieces of paper
Get your prepped flowers and place each one in between two sheets of whichever paper you're using. Work with one or two flower stems at a time and make sure you’re doing everything carefully.
Step 2 – Weight down with a book
Place a book on top of the paper-covered flowers to weigh them down and help them flatten out a little bit more. In the meantime, heat up your iron to a low setting. Also, ensure there is no water or steam in the iron.
Step 3 – Start Ironing
Once your iron has heated up, you can remove the book from the flowers and start slowly ironing over the paper-covered flowers. Use an ironing board or any other flat stable surface to iron the flowers. Iron for about 15 seconds and let the paper cool down, then go again for 15 seconds. Repeat this process until the flower has completely dried.
Step 4 – Enjoy!
Go through each of your flowers and foliage using the same process. Once everything has dried, give it a few minutes before removing them from between the sheets of paper. You now have pressed flowers in a matter of a few hours!
Method 3 – How to Press Flowers in a Microwave
Another one of those quick fixes, a microwave is a great way to press flowers in a matter of minutes. To be able to press flowers in a microwave, you need to either buy a special microwave flower press or make one at home. Store-bought microwave presses have vents in their design which allows for the steam to escape better but DIY ones work great and can be easily made with household items.
This is the Microfleur flower press on Amazon.
Supplies for at Home Microwave Flowers
- A microwave-safe plate
- Absorbent paper (parchment paper, blotting paper, coffee filters, etc.)
Step 1 – Place flowers between paper sheets
After prepping, take your flowers out from the vase you're storing them in and pat them dry between two sheets of paper towel. Once dry, take as many stems as can comfortably fit inside two sheets of absorbent paper. Place another sheet on top of the flowers for extra moisture-wicking.
Step 2 – Place on a microwave-safe plate
Place all your sheets with the flowers on the microwave-safe plate. Be mindful of not over-crowding as that may slow down the process of de-hydrating the flowers. Place the plate inside the microwave.
Step 3 – Microwave on low
Turn the microwave on low and microwave the sheets in increments of 30 seconds. Check the results and repeat for 30 seconds until you are satisfied with how dry the flowers are. The end result is dependent on what you want so keep an eye out for it. It's better to stop a little bit early rather than go too far as that has no fix! Remember to also ensure your plate doesn't get too hot, as it can burn the flowers, so smaller time increments work best.
Step 4 – Your flowers are ready!
Take out your flowers carefully from between the sheets and let them air out a little bit. Now you have pressed flowers ready to use in any creative projects you want.
Method 4 – DIY Flower Press
This method requires a little bit of work before you can press your flowers. If pressing flowers is something you do a lot for crafting projects or work, this is something that you can make once and then use whenever needed. Flower presses are specially designed to help you create stunning pressed flowers and consist of layers that hold the paper between two boards. These boards are held in place by bolts and wingnuts on the corners. It's a more gradual method of pressing flowers but saves time in the long run.
You can also save some time and purchase flower presses of this type from craft stores and Amazon. Here are some commercial examples:
- 2 Plywood pieces of wood cut into rectangles (9-by-12 inch)
- Power drill
- 4 x Wing nut screws
- 4 x Bolts
- Absorbent paper sheets
Step 1 – Make your DIY Flower Press
Take your two pieces of plywood and lay them on top of each other. Using the power drill, drill holes into all four corners of both the plywood pieces. Make sure your wingnuts and bolts fit into the holes that you’ve made. Take everything apart and you’re ready to use your flower press.
Step 2 – Place flowers and paper sheets inside
Start by laying a sheet of absorbent paper on top of one of the pieces of plywood and lay your flowers on top of this. Give enough space to each flower so the moisture of one does not hinder the drying process of another. On top of the flowers place another sheet of paper following that with the second piece of plywood. The layers should be wood, paper, flowers, paper, and wood. If you have a lot of layers of flowers, a piece of cardboard can be used to separate them. Commercial flower presses often come with pieces of cardboard.
Step 3 – Secure
Use your wingnuts and bolts to screw and tighten the two pieces of plywood together. Make it as tight as you can since the pressure is what pulls the moisture out of the flowers. You will need to change the paper sheets every 3-4 days to avoid browning. Change the sheets as fast as you can while also being delicate with the flowers that are drying.
Step 4 – Pressed Flowers!
Flowers presses take around 3-4 weeks to effectively dry the flowers out. Once the recommended amount of time has passed, you can open your flower press and remove the flowers.
How to Press Flowers – Handy Chart
We’ve been over the different methods that you can use to press flowers. Knowing which one works better for you and your project needs can be a hard thing to figure out, so down below you’ll find a handy chart that will help you with your decision.
|Book||Iron||Microwave||DIY Flower Press|
|Time||2 to 4 Weeks||5 to 7 Minutes||10 Minutes||3 to 4 Weeks|
|-Uneven color and texture due to human error||-Risk of burning|
-Needs to be watched closely
-Extra materials are required
How to Press Flowers - Frequently Asked Questions
The key to pressing flowers with vibrant colors is to press them while they are in their prime. Once flowers start to droop and die, their colors darken and the flowers will often end up brown. Thicker flowers can sometimes turn brown so cut any round bulbs in half. Any of the methods mentioned in this article will result in bright colors if you press fresh flowers.
This depends on your end use of the flowers. Pressed flowers are flat and can be used on cards, stationary and many flower crafts. Dried flowers can be placed in 3d boxes and is a great method for preserving flowers with sentimental value.
How long your flowers last will depend on the conditions in which you store them. Many will last for years if they are not exposed to light or humidity. There are lacquers available at craft stores that can further extend their life.
If any moisture is left in your flowers, you risk them going moldy over time. They may even go moldy in your press especially if you need to leave them in for weeks such as the book or press methods. Ensure you start with dry flowers. Thick flowers are more likely to go moldy.
This of course depends on your method. The quickest way is using your iron or microwave and the slowest is using a book or press. See the chart above for timeframes.
You can use any absorbent paper from newspaper, coffee filters, blotting paper, parchment paper, wax paper or even printer paper. Avoid using paper towels or other textured papers as they may leave imprints on your flowers.
What You Can Do with Pressed Flowers?
Pressed flowers look beautiful whether you use them as parts of different crafts or as extra décor when you’re wrapping gifts. If you have some pressed flowers leftover or are looking for ideas on what to do with them, then the list below will show you a world of options. Pressed flowers also allow you to preserve flowers that may have special memories attached to them.
- Use them in different resin art projects
- Phone cases
- Decorative Trays
- Flower Coasters
- Create lanterns with epoxy and pressed flowers
- Make stylish jewelry pieces with pressed flowers
- Decorate your home with pressed flowers
- Stick then inside a simple glass frame and create chic frames for around your home
- Glue them into bookmarks, book covers, or different diaries for an added touch of design
- Create whimsical cards for your friends and families
- Use them as part of contemporary gift wrapping
- Use them to teach children about native plants around your area
- Create sheets and collect flowers from all the places that are special to you
- Make a collection of all the plants that you have in your garden
How to Press Flowers – In Conclusion
Learning how to press flowers opens a whole world of creative possibilities. You can press flowers that may have significant meaning or memories attached to them and keep them forever. Or you can press flowers to add more flair to different art projects you may be doing. There are four different methods to press flowers at home and each method has trade-offs between the time required and the type of finish you can get on your flowers. Choosing between these methods can be a tough decision but with the handy chart in this post, you will be on your way to successfully pressing flowers as per your needs in no time.