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How to press flowers

Pressed flowers

Freshly picked flowers

A great way to preserve the flowers that you love is to press them. In order to make our flower earrings, we experimented with two methods: using the quick and fast microwave or the more traditional method of book pressing.

Material List for Microwave Method:
1. Freshly picked flowers,   2. Shallow container with water,   3. Scissors,   4. 2 x plates,   5. Blotting paper,   6. Paper towels

Material List for Book Method:
1. Freshly picked flowers,   2. Shallow container with water,   3. Scissors,   4. Blotting paper,   5. Paper towels,   6. Heavy books

A few pics followed by the 'how-to' write-up

Flower in garden Flower pressed using book method Flower pressed using microwave method

 Microwave Method 

Microwaving has near instant results, however the finished product can be quite unpredictable. We found many flowers work wonderfully, while others do not turn out well at all. Some flowers also change color completely to a darker, stronger, more vibrant hue than before, which is a nice bonus.

Step 1. Once you pick your flowers
Once you pick your flowers it is a good idea to put the stalks in water for a short time to let them soak up some moisture first. This is said to bring maximum color back into the flower before you press. Be careful not to get the petals wet, though! After a couple of minutes, take them out of the water supply and cut off the stalk so your flower can lie as flat as possible.

Step 2. Prepare your flowers
Now, get a flat plate and place two pieces of paper-towel directly on top, followed by a sheet of blotting paper. Next, place the flowers on top of the blotting paper. Cover the flowers with another piece of blotting paper, followed by another two pieces of paper towel and finally, another flat plate.

Freshly picked flowers Flowers places on blotting paper Final plate placed on top

Step 3. Things to consider before using the microwave
Place the plates (with the flowers and paper pressed between) into the microwave. Now you must experiment a bit, as timing depends very much on your individual microwave and the flowers you have chosen. It is a good idea to use your microwave on a low temperature setting, however we cannot give you an exact time to use as we found each flower differed. We also found that the microwaving time depends on how many flowers you press at once and the length of time you have already been using the microwave since it will retain the heat from previous use.

Step 4. Microwaving your flowers
We found it best to microwave the flowers for one minute at a time. After each minute, take your plates out, carefully lift the blotting paper up and check the flowers' progress to see if they are completely dry. Some flowers we used took only three minutes, while others could take up to ten. Some flowers shrank while others did not and some just almost melted into the blotting paper. It is great fun to experiment with which ones work, and how they turn out.

Sometimes, if the flowers looked pretty much dried we put them back in the microwave for ten minutes with the microwave off, to sit in the remaining heat. This usually finished drying them perfectly, without over-cooking. Over-cooking can make your flowers crunchy and increase risk of them crumbling in your fingers. You want them dried but not crunchy!

Flowers layed out on blotting paper in book Final pressed flowers

 Traditional Book Method 

This method is very easy if you have the time to wait for the flowers to be entirely free of moisture. You can also practically guarantee that almost every flower will dry wonderfully using this method.

Step 1. Get the most from your flowers
Like the microwave method, once you have picked your flowers it is a good idea to put the stalks in water to let them soak up some moisture first. This is said to bring maximum color back into the flower before you press. Be careful not to get the petals wet, though! After a couple of minutes, take them out of the water supply and cut off the stalk so your flower can lie as flat as possible.

Step 2. Pressing your flowers
Place a piece of blotting paper between the pages of a heavy book. Lay out the flowers on top of that sheet. Then place another sheet of blotting paper on top of the flowers and carefully close the book. Place it somewhere warm and dry, then lay more books on top to keep it pressed well. Again, pressing/drying time depends on flowers and air conditions. Ours were perfect within three weeks.