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What Should I Know About Pressed Flowers?

By K T Solis
Updated May 17, 2024
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The practice of pressing flowers became popular during the Victorian era, and many people still enjoy the process of choosing flowers and pressing them inside a book. This interesting process allows a person to preserve flowers so that they last throughout the years.

A person should consider several factors before making pressed flowers. First, be sure to pick only fresh flowers. Harvest them in the morning, but wait till the dew evaporates from their petals. It's important to begin the pressing process when no moisture is present. Choose flowers with a vibrant color and thin petals.

If a person wishes to press individual petals, the best flowers to use are tulips, roses, lilies, irises, and carnations. Cut the flower as close to the stem as possible, and press the flowers as soon as they are collected. Pressed flowers are relatively simple to make. The process involves using a book or wood press, some type of paper, and a heavy weight.

To press flowers using books, place them between two sheets of paper inside the book's pages. Use old telephone books as another option. Put something heavy on top of the book, and leave it this way for about two weeks. Instead of regular paper, some people use blotting paper. They place flowers on the blotting paper and a second piece on top of the flowers or petals. This way, the flowers are pressed between the two blotting sheets. An important fact to remember is that flowers will dry best if air is permitted to circulate through the pages; therefore, don't place too much weight on top of the book.

Some people choose to purchase or make their own wood press instead of using books. In order to create a wood press, use two square pieces of wood. Drill holes into each corner. Use bolts to attach the two pieces of wood together. Add washes and wing nuts. After the wood press is ready, put a white paper towel on the bottom piece of wood. Place the flower in the center and cover it with a second paper towel. Put the second piece of wood on top. Tighten it with the washer and wing nut, and then allow the flowers to press for about two weeks.

Pressed flowers can be used to decorate a variety of items. Arrange pressed flowers in creative ways to design greeting cards, stationery, decorative boxes, wall hangings, and framed pictures. When choosing to make wall hangings or framed pictures, use an acid free mat board.

People who love flowers can easily preserve them by pressing them in books or a wood press. Pressed flowers can be preserved for years if they are processed correctly. By harvesting the freshest flowers, choosing specimens with a vibrant color and thin petals, and following these pressing techniques, a person can preserve her favorite flowers and use them in several craft projects.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By julies — On May 24, 2011

I was at a local farmers market where they had bunches of dried flowers for sale. These were not pressed, but were picked fresh, tied and hung upside down to dry. I purchased some of them and made a wonderful dried flower bouquet.

Celosia is one of my favorite flowers to use in a dried flower arrangement. They have such bright colors and retain their color and shape very well. I usually hang them to dry, but you can also dry them in the microwave for 5-6 minutes.

By John57 — On May 21, 2011

I was always fascinated with pressed flowers too. After the flowers dried I remember placing them between pieces of waxed paper. I would then place a towel over the waxed paper and use an iron to flatten the flowers. I have also heard that you can microwave pressed flowers, but have not tried that.

There are several creative things that you can do with pressed flowers that really bring a unique touch to any project. I have seen some beautiful pieces of pressed flower art at a local arts and craft fair. It looked similar to a picture collage, but was made with bright, bold flowers.

By golf07 — On May 18, 2011

I have always loved pressing flowers even as a young girl. I would place the flowers that I picked in just about any big book I could find, so you never knew when you might open a book and have a beautiful pressed flower. There are probably still several of them around.

I never really thought much about how to press flowers, I just picked them, let them dry and stuck them in a book. It is also fun to use them to make your own cards and stationary with. Roses were my favorite - probably because we had a lot of them around.

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