Home & Garden Home How to Press Flowers: 4 Simple Methods Press flowers with an iron, book, microwave, or by making your own flower press. By Maria Marabito Maria Marabito LinkedIn Twitter Writer West Chester University Maria Marabito is a writer who specializes in sustainable travel, green living, and food issues. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from West Chester University. Learn about our editorial process Updated August 3, 2021 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Home DIY Pest Control Natural Cleaning Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism Sustainable Eating Overview Working Time: 5 - 45 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes - 3 weeks Yield: As many pressed flowers as you'd like Skill Level: Beginner Estimated Cost: $0 to 65.00 Pressing flowers yourself is an easy and rewarding craft. They can act as a keepsake, framed artwork, a meaningful gift, or part of a larger art project. The practice of pressing flowers dates back to ancient times as a form of collecting and preserving flower species. Later, in the 16th century, Japanese artists began incorporating pressed flowers into artwork. The practice gained popularity and spread westward, eventually becoming an accessible and admired craft. Pressing flowers is very simple. There are various techniques to produce a pressed flower but they are all relatively similar: You take a flower, place it between two flat surfaces and use weight to dry and flatten the flower over a period of time. Some flowers press and preserve better than others, and some methods take more time than others. The uses of pressed flowers are endless and can ignite a creative and botanic hobby that brings nature into your home. The following four methods use different techniques to easily press flowers at home. You will begin, of course, by collecting a variety of flowers for your project. Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura The One-in-Twenty Rule When Choosing Flowers Pick flowers from your own garden or salvage flowers from an event so they do not go to waste. If you are picking wild plants, botanist Fred Rumsey recommends using a “one in twenty rule,” meaning if you see a group of 20 or so flowers, you can take only one of them to ensure others can enjoy the flowers and that the plant can survive. Only pick flowers that have just bloomed, as they are the freshest for pressing. After choosing your flowers, treat them delicately to avoid any damage or petals falling. Press and dry them as quickly as possible to preserve the color. Cut flower stems as close to the base of the blooms as possible. Flowers that are naturally flatter or have only a single layer of petals will press better, such as daisies, violets, and delphiniums. For fuller flowers, push out the petals from the center to make pressing easier. What You'll Need Materials 1 to 10 fresh flowers Equipment/Tools 2 to 10 newspaper sheets 1 to 3 weights (if using method 1 or 3) 2 to 10 paper towel pieces (if using method 2 or 3) Instructions Method 1: How to Press Flowers Using a Book Prepare Your Book Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Open a large, thick book to the middle and line it with newspaper. Any other smooth paper will work as well. Flower Placement Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Place your flowers in the book, centering so that they fit completely within the binding. Try to lay the flower as flat as possible, with no parts jutting out. Place Weights Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Carefully close the book and weigh it down with weights, other books, etc. Anything heavy will work. Keep your book and weighing materials in a warm, dry place and check the flowers daily to determine how wet they are. This process will take several days; the exact time will vary depending on the type of flower and ambient. Remove Your Flowers Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Once your flowers have completely dried out, carefully remove them from the book. The flower should feel very dry and fragile, so treat it gently to avoid breakage. Method 2: How to Press Flowers Using a Microwave In addition to the supplies listed above, you will need a flat microwave-safe dish. Prepare Your Flowers Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Place a piece of paper towel flat on your work surface. Place your chosen flowers on top of the paper towel, blooms up. Then, layer another piece of paper towel on top of the flowers. Microwave Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Carefully put your pile of paper and flowers in the microwave and rest a microwave-safe, flat, heavy dish on top to weigh the flowers down. Ensure that all your flowers are underneath the dish. Microwave the flowers for a minute on defrost. Check Flowers and Repeat Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Check the flowers to see how dry they are. Microwave for 30-second intervals, checking them each time until they are ready. If you are pressing different flowers together, they will dry at different times. Smaller flowers take less time. The flowers are ready when they are dry and flat. Method 3: How to Press Flowers Using an Iron Prepare Your Flowers Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Place your flowers between two sheets of absorbent paper, such as newspaper or paper towels. Flatten slightly with a heavy object such as a book. Iron Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura Run a warm iron over the top sheet of paper covering your flowers from 10 to 20 seconds. Method 4: How to Make Your Own Flower Press Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura For this method you will be making your own flower press, which will require several additional supplies: 2 pieces of wood of equal size2 pieces of cardboard1 marker1 drill1 large piece of scrap wood1 sander4 carriage bolts4 wing nuts Prepare the Wood Cut two pieces of wood to equal size and shape. The size you make your wood will dictate how many flowers you can press at one time. Make a mark with a pen at approximately one inch from each corner of every wood piece. These marks will act as a drill guide, so make sure they are evenly spaced and not too close to the edge of the board. Drill and Sand Stack the marked wood pieces on top of each other and align evenly. Place on a work surface or scrap wood and use a drill to make a hole into the marks made at the four corners. Allow the drill to go completely through both pieces of wood, creating matching holes. Sand the holes and sides to eliminate any rough edges. Prepare Cardboard and Paper Cut cardboard pieces and newspaper to a slightly smaller size than the wood boards. Flower Placement On top of one wood board, layer a piece of cardboard and then a few layers of newspaper before gently placing your flower on top. If you are pressing multiple flowers at a time, make sure they are not touching each other. Add a few more layers of newspaper and a layer of cardboard on top of the flower. Top the pile with the second wood board. Press the Flowers Place carriage bolts into the holes drilled into the wood boards while being careful not to disturb your paper and flower pile. Screw the wing nuts onto the bolts and press the top board down with your hand to tighten the wings further. Allow to Dry Allow your flower press a few days to rest in a dry location. Begin checking on the dryness of the flowers after a week. The pressing process could take up to two to three weeks. Treehugger / Alexandra Cristina Nakamura DIY Projects With Pressed Flowers Framed art or between panes of glass“Paint” with pressed flowers by making shapes out of them (a heart for example)Flower cardBookmarkDécor for a candleDécor for a bowl, plate, or boxPreserve a wedding bouquet or corsageFor scientific purposes or teaching children about different plant speciesGift tagsEaster egg décorOrnamentsPart of a sensory bin Frequently Asked Questions How long do pressed flowers last? Pressed flowers can last several years. You can extend their lifespan by maintaining them correctly: Keep them out of sunlight to prevent color fading, and store them in a dry place so that no moisture is reintroduced. What flowers are best for pressing? Flowers with a single layer of petals are best for pressing because they are able to flatten completely. Good options include daisies, violets, delphiniums, pansies, and poppies. Thick flowers with multiple layers of petals, such as roses and lilies, are not good choices for pressing because they take long to dry out and cannot fully flatten.