How to Press Flowers for Beginners

There are so many ways to press flowers. You'll find what works best for you as you experiment with pressing techniques. Here are some basic guidelines to get you started.


General Supplies (vary depending on method):

  • Some type of paper (newspaper, printer paper, untreated tissues, noncorrugated coffee filters); avoid paper towels, waxed paper, or anything corrugated/textured

  • Flat cardboard

  • Tweezers for arranging

  • Optional: make or buy a wooden flower press

Preparation:

  • Start with fresh, unblemished blooms; flowers will fade so choose them when most colorful

  • Wait until rain or dew has dried to avoid mold (midmorning is a great time)

  • Remove leaves from flowers and buds for easier pressing


General Advice:

  • Handle pressed flowers carefully when removing

  • If using a glue or varnish, get one that will dry clear and not yellow

  • Flowers with flattened leaves and single-layer blooms press best (pansies, cosmos, poppies, Queen Anne's lace, etc) but it doesn't hurt to try other things

  • Keep an eye out for interesting textures and patterns

  • Blooms will have a darker color once dried

What To Do With Pressed Flowers:

  • Decoupage onto a card

  • Arrange in a frame between two pieces of glass for a clear background

  • Arrange on rag paper in a frame

Most importantly, have fun and find what works best for you!



METHODS


Pressing in a Book

  • Easiest and least expensive method

  • Open book midway and line page with some type of paper (card stock or watercolor paper work well)

  • Arrange flowers so they lay flat, but don't overlap them

  • Lay a piece of paper on top

  • Close book and wait for up to 30 days


Pressing with an Iron

  • Press flowers between two absorbent pieces of paper

  • Flatten with a heavy book

  • Make sure there is no water in the iron (don't want to add moisture)

  • Heat iron on low

  • Once warm, PRESS (don't move iron around) on top of upper sheet of paper for 10-15 seconds

  • Wait another 15 seconds until paper has cooled

  • Repeat this process

  • Carefully lift paper to check if flower is stiff and dry, then you're done

Pressing with a Microwave

  • You may purchase a microwave press or make one yourself by using two ceramic tiles and rubber bands to hold them together

  • You can microwave a book flower press as long as there are NO METAL PARTS (including little staples)

  • Avoid using white flowers with this method

  • Line each ceramic tile with a piece of cardboard and a piece of paper, then sandwich the flowers between

  • Using low temperature, heat for 30-60 seconds at a time

  • Let everything cool between heat cycles

  • When flowers are dry, complete process by using book or traditional flower press; should dry within two days

Pressing in a Wooden Flower Press

  • Place carriage bolts on a flat surface so heads face down

  • Slide holes of one board over the bolts

  • Put one piece of cardboard and one piece of absorbent paper on top of the board

  • Place flowers/foliage on absorbent paper, then cover with another later of absorbent paper

  • Continue layering cardboard, paper, flowers, paper until you've made as many layers as you want

  • Finish with a piece of cardboard on top

  • Slide the second wood board over the bolts to cover the layers

  • Add a washer and wing nut to each bolt and screw wing nuts down evenly

  • Keep flowers in press for 3-4 weeks; drying times will vary

  • You may need to tighten the wing nuts as the flowers continue to dry

  • To see examples of a wooden flower press click here




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