Pressing flowers can be a rich and rewarding experience. Collect your flowers when they are at their peak. But avoid any excess moisture on your flowers by collecting them in late morning after the dew has burned off. Below are some simple techniques for pressing flowers.
The simplest way to press flowers is the one we all experimented with in grade school, the waxed paper technique. Take two sheets of waxed paper and place your flowers between them.
Cover the waxed paper with a thin cloth and press with a warm iron on a low to medium setting. The cloth prevents the iron from acquiring a waxy residue. Waxed paper today is not as waxy as it used to be so you might need to add some melted paraffin. You can use dried or fresh flowers. Flat flowers and foliage are easier to press.
Homemade presses are made with items you can easily find around the house. This includes corrugated cardboard, newspaper or blotting paper, tissue paper or paper towels, flat boards, heavy books and bricks.
Place flowers and foliage between two sheets of tissue paper, paper towel, or any thin, porous paper. Take time to arrange the flowers the way you would like them to appear once dried.
Carefully surround the porous paper holding your flowers and foliage with absorbent paper. Newspaper is the cheapest and most easily available. Blotting paper is more expensive but is more absorbent and can be reused.
Experienced flower pressers recommend using 3 to 12 sheets of folded newspaper to absorb moisture. If you use the lower number of sheets, replace the newspaper with fresh, dry paper on a daily basis for several days and then every few days thereafter.
Make sure you do not disturb the flowers and foliage or remove them from between the sheets of porous paper during the drying process otherwise they will wrinkle and curl. You can dry flowers in layers by using corrugated cardboard to separate each layer.
The drying chamber that you have just constructed must be weighted down. Place a flat board above and below and weigh the press down with heavy books or bricks. It will take approximately 2 to 3 weeks for your flowers to dry.
Most craft stores sell standard presses. They are usually made of plywood boards secured with four bolts and wing nuts at their corners. Plants are pressed between sheets of blotting paper separated by corrugated cardboard.
Plants should not be stacked too high in the press. Thoroughly dry and remove one batch of flowers before you add another batch. Flowers at different stages of the drying process have different moisture levels. Remember that it is important to dry the flowers as quickly and thoroughly as possible
The pressure is adjusted with the wing nuts. Start with gentle pressure so that the flowers have some air circulation at first. Tighten the press after a few days.