Many methods exist for preserving fresh flowers. Pressing flowers creates a wonderful decoration for many craft projects. Pressed flowers can adorn scrapbook pages, decorative boxes or picture frames, or can simply be displayed behind glass. Here are the different methods and the pros and cons of each method of pressing flowers. Before you begin, make sure no moisture remains on the flowers. Blot between sheets of paper towel if necessary.
Book Pressing- Sandwich the fresh flowers between two sheets of wax paper or newspaper and place inside of a large volume book such as a dictionary. For multiple pressings in one book, leave many pages, around 1/4-1/8 inch, between pressings. Close the book, stack several heavy books on top and wait several weeks.
Pro: Inexpensive (no special equipment necessary)
Con: The pressure on the flowers may not be uniform, causing in uneven results.
Flower Presses- A simple flower press is basically two boards held together with a long bolt and wing nut in each corner. Layers (in this order) of cardboard, blotting paper, plain paper, flowers, plain paper, blotting paper, cardboard, fit between the boards. For better results, the blotting paper (or newspaper) should be changed every day for the first week of pressing. Leave for a couple weeks in the press.
Pro: Effective color retention and even, continual pressure on the flowers
Con: Larger buds, such a roses, must be cut before pressing.
Microwave Pressing- You can buy a specially made microwave flower press or make a simple one. Sandwich the flowers between two sheets of blotting paper (or newsprint), pad with three or more paper towel sheets, and place a microwave-safe casserole dish on top. You can also sandwich the padding with ceramic tile or cardboard and secure tightly with rubber bands. Microwave in short, 30-second increments at a medium to low-medium power setting and allow the flowers to cool a little between heating. Allow the steam to escape. Heating should take around three minute total. Leave in the microwave for a few minutes with the power off and then press in a phone book or other large book for a few hours or up to a day.
Pro: Much faster than other methods of pressing
Con: You can easily overheat the flowers and make them overly brittle.
Preserving Flowers: Drying