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How to press flowers

Preserve flora from your garden by learning how to press flowers in this easy to follow step-by-step tutorial.

How to press flowers - Image by Anna Sullivan

Summer is upon us and our gardens and woodlands are in full bloom. Learn how to press flowers to treasure all year long with our easy tutorials. Before you begin, choose small flowers and foliage, as they will be quicker to dry and easier to work with, especially if you’re a beginner. Pressed herbs also work well and will allow you to create aromatic designs!

Here are some top tips for pressing flowers:

  • The quicker you can press your flowers after picking, the more colour they retain.
  • Using heat helps to speed up the drying process – find out how below.
  • Newspaper works well when pressing flowers, however, be aware that if you are pressing white, or light coloured flowers the print may transfer. Blotting paper is the best paper to use for pressing flowers.
  • Handle your pressed flowers and leaves with care – once dried they will be very fragile.
  • Use PVA glue to fix your flowers and foliage in place. A PVA glue pen is ideal for adding glue to small areas.
  • Don’t fancy pressing your own blooms? Head over to Amazon to find a beautiful selection of pressed flowers ready for you to buy and use on your craft projects.

If you like this project, how to press flowers, why not check out some of our flower crafts – like these cute quilled flowers, or this beautiful paper flower bouquet, or how about getting your glue gun and making this realistic paper rose?

We love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to share your papercraft projects with us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter, too!

Looking for more ways to use your pressed flowers? You could have a go at making your own pressed flower vases.

Best flowers for pressing

Some flowers press better than others. If you want the easiest flowers to press – look for those that have a single layer of petals as they will take the shortest time to dry out during the pressing process.

It’s good to use flowers that keep their colour; the best flowers for pressing include buttercups, pansies, violas, forget-me-nots, daisies, hydrangeas, roses and larkspur. Leaves and ferns are also easy to press, and it’s always worth including a few leaves in your press as they are very useful to use as ‘fillers’ in your artwork later on. I’ve also had success with lavender – however, once pressed, the buds have a tendency to detach quite readily, so if you’re going to use pressed lavender for craft, it’s a good idea to be ready with the PVA to stabilise your spike once you remove it from the press.

Once you have tried some of the easier flowers to press – and with a little practise, you’ll be able to press almost any plant material. Heavier, bigger flowers (such as sedums or hyacinths) are much more challenging to press – but not impossible – so you may need to doctor the flower slightly before pressing (see below: How to press large flowers).

How to press flowers

First, when you’re selecting your flowers – pick them on a dry day, and put them into your press as soon as you can. This will help create the best-pressed flowers. When choosing your flowers to press, select the best specimens. It’s also a good idea to press a few more petals and leaves from the plant – so if your pressed flower gets damaged, you can easily replace the offending part.

When pressing flowers, you are looking to remove moisture as quickly as possible from the plant and keep the colours vibrant – so warmth and low humidity are essential for excellent results.

How to press flowers using a book

Choose a big, heavy book, the heavier the better. Get some absorbent paper (kitchen roll, JCloth, newspaper or blotting paper are good choices) and lay your flowers out on the paper, between the pages of the book. Weight the book down with additional books, then place it in a warm place for around one to two weeks. If you’re working with juicy flowers, you might like to change the paper halfway through, but be aware that your flora may become sticky during the process, so it easy to accidentally pull them apart – just go careful and you’ll be fine.

How to press flowers under a rug

If you don’t have a heavy book to hand – pressing flowers under a rug is the next best thing. Choose a rug that is not prone to slipping around and sandwich your plant material between absorbent paper such as kitchen roll, JCloth, newspaper or blotting paper. Add an additional layer of paper on either side, flip back your biggest, heaviest rug, and put your flowers underneath. Your flowers should be pressed in around one to two weeks, or longer if they are juicier.

Using heat

The presence of heat can help to speed up the drying process – and the quicker your flowers dry, the more vibrant the colours will be. Put your flower press in a boiler room if you have one, or next to a radiator as this will provide a nice flow of warm air. If that’s not possible (or – if it’s summer and you can’t quite bring yourself to put the heating on), warm up the paper first, before pressing your specimens, as this will also help to remove the moisture from the flowers.

How to press large flowers

If you’re wanting to press large, bulky or juicer flowers – then you’ll need to do a spot of prep work first. Flowers such as larger roses or peonies will need to be taken apart before pressing – and then pressed petal by petal. Once pressed, you can reassemble the flower. It’s a bit fiddly, but with a little practice, you’ll get used to it (and learn about the structure of flowers). Other bulky flowers can be cut through the middle using a pair of scissors – and as a bonus, you’ll get two-for-one!

How to press flowers using a flower press

You will need

  • Flowers
  • Flower press
  • Absorbant paper or JCloth

Step 1

Choose the flowers you would like to dry.  Carefully brush away any dirt and then flatten slightly with your fingers so they sit in a natural position. Undo the wooden nuts on the flower press and remove the top.

How to press flowers - step 1

Step 2

Place flowers in between two sheets of absorbent paper and sandwich between two pieces of the card. Arrange plants and foliage of a similar thickness in the same layer for even pressing. If you have run out of the paper provided with the press – blotting paper is ideal and can be picked up from craft shops or on Amazon

How to press flowers - step 2

Step 3

Repeat with as many layers of flowers as needed and put everything back inside the flower press. Place the nuts back on the screws and screw down as far as they will go.

How to press flowers - step 3

Step 4

Place the flower press in a dry, warm place for one to four weeks (depending on the flower), tightening the screws a little each week. Your flowers should then be perfectly pressed and ready to use.

How to press flowers - step 4

Step 5

If you want to use your pressed flower to make cards with, use a wet glue like PVA to secure your flowers and preserve their delicacy. PVA glue dries clear so it’s a good choice, especially if you have a bottle with the super skinny nozzles.

How to press flowers - step 5

How to seal pressed flowers

One of the most popular ways to seal pressed flowers is to use either sticky back plastic or a heat-sealing film – and this is the most common method you’ll see in, for example, bookmarks. The heat-sealing film has an advantage over sticky back plastic, as you can rearrange your pressed flowers until you’re happy with the layout. You then seal your masterpiece by ironing over the top.

If you’re into making resin jewellery (check out our tutorial on how to make resin jewelry using pressed flowers), then you’ll need to make sure that your flowers are completely dry first, as any moisture left in the plant will react with the resin and turn it brown within a month. As long as your flowers are completely dry, using resin is a wonderful way to preserve pressed flowers (also insects – but I won’t get into that now!).

Buy a flower press!

Using a flower press to press flowers is a lot of fun – and they make brilliant gifts, too. They are easily portable, come in a range of sizes and are great for taking on holiday (anyone else staycationing this year?).

1. Worown 6×8″ flower press kit

Worown flower press kit - Amazon

Buy now: £21.99, Amazon

This flower press kit comes with tweezers, scissors, a utility knife, dry plate, sponge, lining paper – and the wood plates are held together with straps, rather than traditional wingnuts, making this an ideal option for little hands or those with dexterity issues. And it looks great, too.

2. Large, traditional flower press

Large traditional flower press, Amazon

Buy now: £20.99, Amazon

This traditional flower press uses wingnuts to tighten the press, and measures an impressive 27.5cm x 17.8cm – ideal for long-stemmed flowers or large leaves.

3. Microfleur 9″ microwave flower press

Microfleur 9 Microwave Max flower press - Amazon

Buy now: £59.99, Amazon

This flower press is living in the future – you use it in the microwave for short intervals spaced with resting periods, and your flowers are dried and ready to use in a day! We’ve not tested this out – so we’d be interested to know what it’s like – if you’ve used it, let us know what you think in the comments below!

4. Flower pressing craft kit

Flower pressing craft kit, Amazon

Buy now: £25.49 £21.47, Amazon

Get everything you need in one place with this flower pressing kit from House of Crafts. The kit contains a wooden flower press, picture frame (200x150mm) with mount, backing boards, clear view key fob, greeting cards/photo mounts with matching envelopes, bookmarks, gift tags, flower pressing record card, flower press tool and adhesive.

5. Miniature flower press in a tin

Miniature flower press in a tin, Amazon

Buy now: £11.99, Amazon

This is a sweet little flower press kit – it comes with a mini flower press, tweezers, cards, envelopes, glue, and pressing paper, all presented in a floral tin.

6. Simple flower press

Simple flower press, Amazon

Buy now: £15.99, Amazon

Designed especially for children, this simple flower press is ideal for teaching little ones how to press flowers and has a 12x12cm pressing area, so it’s ideal for garden flowers such as buttercups, pansies and daisies.

7. Flower press by Wandic

Flower press kit by Wandic, Amazon

Buy now: £20.99, Amazon

This is another flower press kit where straps help to squeeze together the plates, removing the moisture from your plants. It comes in three different styles – tree (pictured), orchid or four-leaf clover.

We hope you enjoyed this article on how to press flowers. If you’re interested, check out our tutorial on how to make a paper rose – switch up the paper colour to make a rainbow of paper roses!

Additional images by Anna Sullivan, Evie Shaffer, Kelly Sikkema