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What is Flower Pressing?

By Alison Faria
Updated Feb 15, 2024
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Flower pressing is a way of preserving dried flowers for various craft projects. The pressing process can usually be done by any age group, provided children have adult supervision. Aside from the flowers, all that's typically required to press flowers is pressure, warmth, and absorbent paper.

There are many different items a person could use to obtain the necessary pressure for flower pressing. Generally, any flat heavy item can work. Commonly used objects include heavy books, such as dictionaries or encyclopedias. Pressed flowers can be used in many projects, including gift card design, scrapbooking, and stationery design.

Generally flowers in full-bloom work best. If you're picking flowers outdoors, the late afternoon is usually when flowers are at their lowest moisture point, which typically allows for easier flower pressing. Flowers that have naturally flat petals, such as violets, pansies, or buttercups, make good flower pressing subjects.

Gardening scissors can be used to harvest the flowers. Some of the stem is usually left attached in order to prevent the flowers from falling apart. As the flowers are picked, they are typically spread out in a basket, with each being separate to avoid tangling. The flowers are normally pressed the same day they are harvested.

Flowers can stain paper, so they should generally not be placed between book pages. Instead, flowers are typically placed between sheets of absorbent paper, with a book placed on top to press the flowers. Different varieties of flowers are usually pressed between separate sets of paper because of the varying moisture content. Sets generally consist of no more than three layers of flowers.

Without heat, a person cannot usually press flowers with good forms and consistent colors. Flower pressing can be done in any dry area that has warmth, usually in the form of natural sunlight. An alternative to this would be to place the flower press on a warm closet shelf with the door closed. Some people prefer to place the flower press in a microwave on the lowest setting for almost immediate results.

There are many factors that can affect the amount of time needed for flower pressing, such as humidity, temperature, and flower size. It might take four days to naturally press small flowers, but it could take as many as eight days to successfully press larger ones. When the flowers have become completely stiff, with a paper-like consistency, the flower pressing process is complete.

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Discussion Comments
By Perdido — On Dec 15, 2011

I like to set my flower press on the roof in the hot summer. It's just as hot up there as in an oven!

I lay wax paper on top of and underneath the blooms. I can see through it once the process is complete, and it suctions well to the spaces around the flowers.

I put a book on top and under the wax paper, and I tie the whole thing together tightly with rope. I leave it up there on the black shingles for hours, and that always does the job.

By cloudel — On Dec 14, 2011

My friend does microwave flower pressing. She ordered a professional flower press online, and it helps her get the best results.

It came with a lightweight frame, a supply of blotting paper, some absorbent paper, and some breathable padding. She harvests the flowers, and then she places them between two sheets of absorbent paper.

On top of that, she puts the blotting paper. Then, she layers on the padding and puts the whole thing in the frame. She microwaves it for thirty seconds and checks its progress.

If it needs to go a little longer, she tries it for thirty more seconds. It's better to undercook them than to overcook them!

By shell4life — On Dec 14, 2011

@Oceana - I learned how to press flowers with an iron when I was ten. My fourteen-year-old friend who lived out in the country showed me how, and I was fascinated by the simple process.

First, we gathered brightly colored flowers that grew wild on her grandmother's property. We harvested purple violets and yellow dandelions, and we kept the leaves and stems attached. Since we were pressing more than just the flowers, the result would look like a landscape.

We pressed the flowers between two sheets of wax paper. We used a warm iron to flatten the blooms and to seal them inside the wax paper. The trick is to use it on the lowest setting and don't hold it in one place for too long.

The result was a brightly colored piece of art. I still have it, and it has been twenty-three years since the pressing.

By Oceana — On Dec 13, 2011

My mother always used to press flowers in a book. She would use an old book with yellowed pages so that it didn't matter too much if the flower stained them.

She kept the first rose my dad ever got her inside an old book. It was wonderful for me to be able to see this preserved, dried flower that started it all.

It looked like a piece of potpourri. The dark red petals were flattened, and I could still smell a faint scent.

I know that pressing flowers in a book isn't the best way. I have heard that you can press them with an iron, but I don't know exactly how to do this without burning the petals. Does anyone know how it's done?

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