How to Press Flowers
We press Flowers. This is what we do and what we are passionate about here at Greetings of Grace and we would love to share the secrets of our trade with you. Not only will you find doing this age-old practice of turning blossoms and foliage into long-lasting keepsakes incredibly fun and easy to do, pressing flowers can also be extremely rewarding and satisfying. Once you got ‘em right, pressed flowers make definitely gorgeous adornments to your greeting cards, bookmarks and all other arts and crafts projects you have in mind. Plus, you can also make perfect conversation-starters out of them by displaying them inside a frame or by transforming them into some fashionable jewelry that even your friends could not just resist. Once you get into the practice of pressing flowers, you will soon be finding yourself picking up and gathering some note-worthy pieces of flowers and leaves to press in every time that you’re on a trip or when you’re just strolling around in your neighborhood. So, just to let you know, collecting and pressing flowers can be kind of addicting.
|Table of Contents
|Things to Consider
|Choosing the right flowers to press
|When to Pick your Flowers
|Where to get your flowers
|Methods of Pressing Flowers
|Pressing Flowers in Books
|Making pressed flowers with an Iron
|Pressing Flowers with a Microwave Oven
Things to Consider
Choosing the right flowers to press
The main goal of pressing flowers is to dry them or remove most of the moisture within them while still keeping their color, form and shapes at best. Mother Nature has provided us with a whole lot of beautiful flowers to choose from but of course there are a few things or points that you would have to remember and consider when it comes to choosing your flowers. One point to remember is that not all flowers press well. Some flowers and foliage retain their colors pretty well, and in some cases, their colors intensify once all the moisture within them is gone.
To name a few, Roses, Alyssums, Larkspurs, Chrysanthemums, Queen Anne’s Laces, Verbenas, Pansies and Fern leaves are just some of the flowers and foliage that press perfectly well. While on the other hand, you would want to avoid those flowers that has too much moisture within them or are simply too thick because they would most likely get moldy and turn dark and rot in just a couple of few days or weeks. Touch-me-nots, Begonias, Heliconias and Succulents are just some of the plants that might not be a good choice for pressing. You can actually give this a try yourself and see which of the flowers and leaves that grows around you gives the result that you’re looking for your pressed flowers.
Remember: Be rather choosy when it comes to picking or harvesting your flowers. For best results, pick only the flowers that are free of any spots, imperfections or blemishes.
When to Pick your Flowers
One point to also remember is that there is a perfect time when you should pick or harvest your flowers. Most flowers typically bloom starting from the early spring until the early autumn while in the tropics they usually bloom the whole-year round. In those days that flowers are plentiful, you should preferably pick or harvest them up just right on or before they reach their prime, when they are exhibiting the most out of their forms and colors. Mornings are the most preferable time of the day to pick your flowers. It’s best to pick them up right after when the morning sun has dried up all the dew on your flowers because we would not want to have any additional moisture to the flowers that we would press and the more wet or moist a flower is, the more prone it is to molds and discoloration. Though the opportunity to pick flowers could arrive at any point of the day, chances are that when you pick flowers in the afternoon they would have already wilted or sometimes faded.
Where to get your flowers
Methods of Pressing Flowers
Pressing Flowers in Books
Things that you’ll need
All you need is a book (preferably the heaviest one that you can find), a clean piece of paper (parchment paper, wax paper, regular office paper will be just fine), tweezers to pick your flowers once they’re dry and you’re all set to go!
How to do it?
- Once you’ve found a good old book that will serve as your flower press (old phone books, dictionaries and old encyclopedias will do) gently open it in the middle and line it with a clean piece of paper. We’re doing this because the paper aids in drying and absorbing the moisture that’s in the flowers and also to keep our flowers from blotting on the pages of our book. Any piece of paper will do as long as they are clean and crumple-free.
- Arrange the flowers neatly and evenly on the surface of your page and place them in the way that you would like them to appear once they are pressed and dried. You can actually place as many flowers as you like on your page (this depends on the size of your book) as long as there is space enough for them and that they do not overlap with each another.
- Gently close your book and see if none of the flowers you placed inside are sticking out ofthe edges. For best results, weigh down your book by adding a couple more books or bricks on the top. Just be sure not to disrupt the arrangement of the flowers inside once you closed them.
- Finally, place your book in a cool and dry place, or just simply put it back on its shelf where you got it earlier. The flowers inside will get dry in a just a matter of 2-3 weeks at best.
- Once they are completely dry, gently open your book and carefully remove your pressed flowers using a pair of tweezers and store them inside an envelope or clear book until you are ready to use them for your pressed flower crafts.
* Just remember to check and carefully replace the paper inside your book in every couple of days. This helps in reducing the amount of moisture present in the flowers and
Making pressed flowers with an Iron
Yes this is true! You can actually make pressed flowers with an iron. This method is perfect if you don’t exactly have the time or if you just can’t wait 2-3 weeks for your flowers to get dry and pressed inside a book or a flower press.
Things you’ll need
- Of course, your regular home iron. Just make sure it’s perfectly dry and has no water in it (if you’re using a steam iron at home);
- 2 pieces of paper that you can use as a blotter for your flower. Preferably it’s something absorbent that can take in the flower’s moisture. (Parchment paper, wax paper and even your regular bond or office paper will work best);
- A Tile piece, Cardboard or a Book – or something that you can use to flatten your flowers initially, and;
- Most importantly, the flowers or leaves that you want to get dry and pressed.
How do you do it?
The first step is entirely similar to our first method of pressing flowers (Pressing Flowers in Books).
- First, fold two pieces of paper (we used parchment and pink bond paper on this one) and insert one paper on the other;
- Cut your flower’s stalk if you have to lay them flat on your paper. Arrange them neatly and evenly on your paper with ample spaces in between.
- Insert your folded papers in a book and then close it. Let the book sit for around 5-10, or to make it press faster, add some more books on top of it until such time that your flowers are flat enough that you can iron its surface evenly.
- Once your flowers are nicely flat, get them from your book, turn your iron on to a medium warm setting and once it’s warm, place it over your paper and flowers and let it press over them for around 10-15 seconds.
- Let the paper and flowers cool for around 30 seconds. Gently open your press and check if your flowers are already dry by just gently touching them with your finger. Repeat the process again (only if you have to) until you get your flowers to be perfectly dry and stiff.
*The amount of time that you will take in pressing your flowers with an iron depends primarily on the thickness of the flowers that you will press. Some flowers are quite thin (i.e., bougainvillea, violas, azaleas, etc.) while others are quite thick (i.e., roses, chrysanthemums, etc.). Just repeat the process, again and again until you're already happy with your flowers.
Always remember to drain the water inside your iron first (if yours is a steam iron) before using it to press your flowers. The last thing that we would want is to add some more moisture to the flowers that we would press.
Instead of just letting your hot iron to just sit on your paper and flower, you can actually glide over your paper's surface while you are pressing. This process could help the heat distribute evenly on your paper. Just gently glide over your paper where your flowers are and iron them evenly for a period of 10-15 seconds at a time. Make sure that your iron is not hot enough to actually burn your paper. And above all, exercise caution when you are using your iron. You could get burnt if you’re not careful.
Pressing Flowers with a Microwave Oven
Now this is another method of making pressed flowers fast. The procedure is just almost the same as the one using iron but the goal is still the same, getting your flowers nicely pressed and dried the quickest and the simplest way.
Things you’ll need
- Your kitchen’s Microwave Oven.
- A makeshift flower press like 2 pieces of illustration board, clean floor tiles, or a book that would fit nicely inside your oven;
- 2 pieces of paper that you can use as a blotter for your flower. (Parchment paper, wax paper and even your regular bond or office paper would be best);
- Flowers or foliage that you want to press
How do you do it?
- Like the first two methods of making pressed flowers, the first step is basically the same. First place your flowers in between two pieces of absorbent paper, gently fold and close.
- Then, make a “makeshift flower press”. You can either use a heavy piece of kitchen or floor tile and 2 identically-cut pieces of thick illustration board. You can also use a book for this one. Just make sure that it fits enough inside your microwave. In this case, we squeezed our paper and flowers in between 2 pieces of illustration board and a heavy piece of floor tile.
- Once it is set, put your “flower press “inside your microwave, turn it on to a medium heat and set the timer for 30 seconds.
- When the 30 seconds are up, flip your flower press over, let your flower press cool for a while and microwave it again for an additional 10-20 seconds.
- Once done, open your press and check if your flowers are already dry. If not, microwave your flower press again until you get your flowers beautifully pressed, dried and with a “crispy” texture.
*Remember, the amount of time needed to microwave actually depends upon your flowers and leaves. If you didn’t get your flowers to dry the first time, you can always microwave them again and again. Just make sure to let your makeshift flower press to cool off a little while first before you put it back inside your microwave.