Authored by Velisa S Mefford in Crafts
Published on 05-19-2009
There are many excellent methods for pressing flowers and here are a few of them to help you get started.
To start with, make sure you pick your flowers when they are at their peak of freshness and make sure there is no moisture, such as dew or rain, on them. If you decide not to press your flowers immediately then you must condition them to help keep the flowers and their colors as fresh as possible until you get around to pressing them. It is a good idea to condition them regardless as the colors are better and remain brighter when you condition them before pressing. It helps to treat your flowers with just a little bit of glycerin before pressing. Just spray it on with sprayer bottle and allow the leaves and flowers to dry to the touch before pressing. Glycerin is the main ingredient in fabric softener, so you can also use a little fabric softener mixed with water to help condition your flowers and foliage before pressing.
When you start preparing your flower or flowers for pressing you will need to give some thought as to how your flower(s) will look after they have been flattened out. Try to make sure that none of the parts overlap unless you are going for some sort of artistic effect. Leaves should be laid out flat to prevent creases and cracks.
One of the easiest and most common methods of pressing flowers is to place the flower(s) between a couple of sheets of paper, (wax paper is good for this), to protect the pages of a good heavy book. Big, heavy phone books are pretty good for pressing flowers. Leave at least 1/8″ to 1/4″ of an inch of paper between pressings, weigh the book down and wait for about two weeks.
You can also put the book with your flower(s) in your microwave and do 30 second to one minute zaps at a time, always checking between each ‘zap’ to see the progress of your flowers. You just want them to get almost dried, but not totally. When you are done with this step just press until completely dry to finish; about 2-3 days.
Microwave presses are a great time saver, and are very easy to make. Simply get two regular ceramic tiles and some heavy duty rubber bands to keep the plates together. Use coffee filters for pressing the flowers in-between the plates, or paper towels.
If you decide to do your flower pressing in the microwave then you must be very careful not to over do it. Start out with short zaps with the microwave set on the medium setting and only for 30-60 seconds. You might want to experiment with the timing as microwave sizes and power settings vary.
Let your flowers cool between zaps. It is a good idea to open the press to let the steam escape while the flowers are cooling, then repeat until your flowers are almost dry. It’s a big time saver if you use two presses while doing a lot of foliage and flowers. Just zap one while the other cools switching out as needed.
An even simpler and more inexpensive way to press in the microwave is to substitute heavy corrugated cardboard for the ceramic tiles. It works very well and will help give you a feel for whether or not if you like using the microwave to dry your flowers before you spend the time and money for a more permanent microwave press.