Even if you're a beginner at pressing flowers, this easy-to-follow tutorial will guide you through how to press flowers step-by-step. Pressing flowers is easy, and there are so many beautiful craft projects in which you can use them. From this beginner tutorial, you'll learn how to press flowers into a book, how to press large flowers, and how to turn pressed flowers into flower art, greeting cards, keepsakes of special occasions, and more!
If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll already know that I'm a big fan of flower pressing. Some of my favorite craft projects using pressed flowers include these paper lanterns and these glass jar lanterns. I also never get fed up with looking at the framed floral wall art I made with delicate meadow flowers either.
I get so many questions regarding my pressed flower projects that it occurred to me that I've never made a tutorial for pressing flowers. Well, in this post, you'll learn everything you need to know about pressing flowers at home.
Table of contents
- Teaching children to press flowers
- The best way to press flowers
- Do you press flowers dry or wet?
- What is the best flower to press?
- Can you press big flowers?
- How to store flowers for pressing
- How to press flowers into a book
- How long do pressed flowers take to dry?
- Can you press flowers with an iron?
- Different ways to press flowers
- How to make a simple wooden flower press
- Using flower press kits
- Pressing flowers with a microwave press
- The easiest way to press flowers (For beginners)
- What to make with pressed flowers
- You may also like:
Teaching children to press flowers
Some of my fondest childhood memories involve crafting in some way or another. I'm so happy that my boys seem to have inherited a love for crafting too. When they were little, my boys and I spent hours crafting together at the kitchen table.
When they were asked to create a collection of herbarium sheets for a school project, my boys saw it as an adventure.
One Saturday, we loaded up the car with boots, some gardening gloves, secateurs, and buckets of water and headed out to marshes. Throughout the morning, we collected all sorts of wild flowers and the boys found no end of 'cool' creepy crawlies to observe! Back at home, we unpacked our 'treasures' and went straight to work pressing flowers to create the herbarium sheets. It was a great opportunity for me to teach them both the easiest way to press flowers for creative projects.
Now that my boys are older, I cherish those memories and I know that the bond we forged through creativity will never dissipate.
The tutorial I'm sharing today is the same tutorial that I used to teach my boys how to press flowers all those years ago. It worked for them and it will work for you too, as long as you follow the tips below for getting the best results. (Also see the FAQ at the end of this post for more information).
The best way to press flowers
Before we start with the tutorial, there are a few tips to help you get the best results from your pressed flowers.
Do you press flowers dry or wet?
Always choose dry flowers for pressing. If you are picking fresh blooms from the garden, pick them on a sunny day after the morning dew has completely evaporated. If you try to press flowers whilst they are still wet, they may end up going moldy and will be useless for your project.
What is the best flower to press?
The easiest flowers to press are those with a single layer of petals. Love In A Mist, Pansies, Wild Roses, Violas, Calendula, and Daisies are all good choices. That doesn't mean that you are restricted to using just this type of flower. For this tutorial, I'm using some flower heads from a bouquet of fresh flowers from the grocery store together with some garden flowers.
Experiment and have fun. You'll soon learn which are the best flowers for pressing and which ones to avoid.
Tip: Sometimes even flowers with flat blooms and a single layer of petals will come apart after pressing. I recommend using a pair of tweezers to pick up and reconstruct the delicate flower petals for use in your craft project.
Can you press big flowers?
Thicker flowers with lots of layers of petals may need to be cut in half before pressing. Press both halves of the bloom separately and reconstruct it after the drying process is complete.
Because of their high water content and the thickness of the flowers, large flowers with fleshy petals are not suitable for pressing.
How to store flowers for pressing
Keep flower stems in a vase of fresh water until you are ready to press them. Cutting the flower stems at an angle allows the flower to take up more water so that they will keep fresh before pressing. Remove any leaves and plant material below the water line to avoid the water becoming slimy.
How to press flowers into a book
Pressing flowers into a book is the absolute easiest way to press flowers. My boys used the book pressing method to press the flowers they collected for their herbarium projects and it worked like a dream.
Supplies needed for flower pressing
- Fresh flowers
- Sheets of white paper or craft paper
- Heavy books
Step 1: Cut flower heads to size with secateurs or scissors or trim flower stems to the length required. (Choose a book big enough to fit the length of the flower stem).
Step 2: Open up a large book and place a piece of paper inside.
Step 3: Place each flower face down on the paper. Leave some space between the flowers to avoid them overlapping and sticking together.
Step 4: Cover the flowers with another piece of paper.
Tip: If you have more flowers to press, instead of continuing to add pieces of paper and flowers on the same page, I recommend leaving a few pages of the book in between layers.
Step 5: Once all of your flowers are between layers of paper, carefully close the book.
Step 6: Place the book in a warm dry place out of direct sunlight.
Step 7: Place a heavy item (or a stack of books) on top of the book.
How long do pressed flowers take to dry?
Drying time will vary between two to three weeks. After they've been drying for a couple of weeks, check the pressed flowers to see whether they are dry enough. Depending on the water content of the flowers you've used, you might need to replace the paper although, I've never had to do that myself.
Once the flowers have completely dried out, they are ready to use for crafting.
Can you press flowers with an iron?
Yes, but I don't recommend pressing flowers with an iron. I tried this method and found that the flowers tended to look squashed and bruised. If you are in a rush, pressing flowers with an iron first may speed up the drying process before pressing flowers in a book.
How to press flowers with an iron
Step 1: Set the iron on medium heat (no steam).
Step 2: Place the flowers between two sheets of absorbent paper on a hard surface (tabletop ironing board).
Step 3: Gently press the iron on top of the upper sheet of paper at intervals of a few seconds. Do not move the iron back and forth as the flowers may get damaged.
Step 4: After pressing flowers with an iron, continue to the book method for pressing flowers.
Different ways to press flowers
Now that you've learned how to press flowers into a book, let's take a look at some of the different methods of pressing flowers.
How to press flowers in a flower press
Pressing flowers in a wooden flower press is very similar to pressing them in a book. The difference is that instead of having to place a heavy object on top of the press, pressure is applied to flowers in a flower press using bolts and wing nuts.
How to make a simple wooden flower press
You can easily make a flower press from left-over pieces of wood.
- Pieces of cardboard
- 2 equal-sized pieces of wood
- Pieces of white paper (see FAQ below for more info on the best choices of paper)
- Bolts x 4
- Washers x 4
- Wing nuts x 4
Step 1: Line up the wood and drill holes in each corner big enough for the bolt to go through.
Step 2: Cut pieces of cardboard and paper to fit the size of the wooden press. Don't forget to leave space for the bolt holes.
Step 3: Place a piece of cardboard onto the base of the press.
Step 4: Top the cardboard layer with a piece of paper.
Step 5: Place a second sheet of paper on top of the first.
Step 6: Continue adding cardboard and paper in layers until the wooden press is as thick as you want it to be.
Step 7: Finish with a cardboard layer.
Step 8: Push the bolts through the holes and tighten them with wing nuts.
Your homemade flower press is ready to be filled with a variety of flowers or leaves.
Using flower press kits
If you don't want to make a flower press yourself, you might consider getting a ready-made flower press kit. Flower presses are inexpensive to buy, come in all sorts of designs, and can even be personalized with your name.
Below, you can see some of my favorite flower press kits to buy. Flower presses also make great gifts for the crafty people in your life.
A note about the listed products: If you order a product from one of the partners via links on this page, I receive a small commission. I only recommend products that I have already used myself or have selected with care. You pay the same price whether you use my affiliate links or not. Please read my full disclosure here.
Pressing flowers with a microwave press
Did you know you can press flowers in a microwave oven? With the Microfleur Max, you can do just that. After adding your flowers to the Microfleur Max, place it in the microwave. With the oven on a low setting, microwave the flowers for a short length of time. Check the flowers and allow time for resting/airing in between short bursts of time in the microwave.
Using a microwave press is a good method if you need pressed flowers in a rush. You'll know immediately how the flowers turn out and can quickly grab some more from the garden if you've accidentally 'overcooked' them.
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Tip: You can also use a book to press flowers in a microwave. For your safety, be sure to check that the book has no metal parts (check the spine) before using it in a microwave oven.
The easiest way to press flowers (For beginners)
In my opinion, the best way to press flowers is the book method as hardly any supplies are needed plus the flowers retain their color nicely. The book pressing method is definitely the easiest way for beginners to press flowers.
A flower press also does a great job of pressing flowers, looks pretty and there's not much chance of losing your flowers or forgetting where they are!
Although I've never tried it myself, pressing flowers with a microwave looks like another simple way to press flowers. The only downsides are the price (If using the Microfleur Max) and the risk of scorching delicate flower petals. Alternatively, if you plan on making lots of projects with pressed flowers, the Microfleur Max would be a good investment. (Maybe you could add it to your Birthday/Christmas wish list).
What to make with pressed flowers
Pressing flowers is a beautiful way of preserving summer blooms. Some great craft projects you can make with pressed flowers include:
Whether you're just looking to preserve your beautiful blooms or some flowers from a special occasion pressing flowers is easy and fun! There's no end to the craft projects you can make with your beautifully pressed flowers.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to press flowers with me today and hopefully I've inspired you to have a go at it yourself.
Have more questions? If they are not covered in the FAQ below, let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.
Plain white paper, craft paper or blotting paper are all good for pressing flowers into a book. Avoid absorbent paper towels as their perforated pattern transfers to the pressed flowers. Wax paper and parchment paper are not absorbent enough and may cause pressed flowers to become moldy. Tissue paper is too thin and may disintegrate during the drying process.
Unless you are using an old book that you don't mind getting stained, I would not recommend pressing flowers directly into the pages of a book. Using sheets of absorbent paper to hold the flowers is a great way to avoid staining book pages.
Pressed flowers will last a long time after pressing. I press the beautiful blooms from my garden as they come into flower to use in craft projects throughout the year. It's always a treat for me to come across pressed flowers that I'd forgotten all about.
Store pressed flowers in a cool place in a folder (laid flat) or in a container placed on a flat surface.
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I’ve always loved your pressed flower crafts. Thanks for sharing such a detailed tutorial so I can try pressing myself.
Jayne Westerholt says
Thanks, Janet! You'll love pressing flowers, you can use them for so many beautiful crafts!
Kim | Shiplap and Shells says
I love this so much, Jayne! I can't wait to try to press my own flowers this summer. I would love to feature you on my Saltwater Sounds post this Sunday morning.
Jayne Westerholt says
Thanks Kim! I'm so glad you liked the post. Sorry this answer is late, I was in the mountains and managed to fracture my foot!
I used to use a telephone book to press flowers until my husband tossed it in the recycling. I'll have to make a proper press :).
Jayne Westerholt says
Oh, no, what a shame! But, yes, I think making a flower press is the best overall. At least you always know where the flowers are then!
I used to do the book method as a kid! I recently tried it but haven't checked on my results... It's sweet to hear your boys still enjoy crafting 🙂
Jayne Westerholt says
I recently found some lovely pressed flowers that I forgot I'd pressed! Found them in a stack of magazines!
Lynne Zemaitis says
I love this, Jayne! I have always wanted to press flowers and now am inspired to give it a try. Thank you for sharing!
Jayne Westerholt says
So glad you found my beginner flower pressing tutorial helpful, Lynne! Thanks for commenting!
Christina Ellis says
Thank you for the tutorial. I tried this with my kids a few weeks ago. I put paper bag as paper on 1 side and plain white paper on the other side of the the flowers. We laid them flat...pink rose petals among other flower petals. But all the rose petals turned dark yellow. 🙁 And the green stems mostly turned brown. The smaller field flowers kept their light purple color and the small clovers remained green. What may we have done wrong?
Jayne Westerholt says
Hi Christina thanks for your comment. There are a few reasons why your roses could have changed color after pressing. For one, the flower should be fresh and in good condition. If roses have already started to wilt or deteriorate, they do not usually keep their color well after pressing. The petals also need to be completely dry, any moisture in the flower will cause discoloration. If the rose petals were quite thick, you could try sandwiching them between parchment paper instead of plain white paper to see if that works better. I've also used absorbent kitchen paper with thick flowers, which works really well at absorbing excess moisture. The only thing is that the pattern of the kitchen paper will show on your flower afterwards. Another reason why your petals may have changed color is that there may not have been enough pressure on the rose petals to completely press out all of the moisture quickly enough. All flowers will lose some color after pressing though and that's perfectly normal but I find that flowers with thin petals and stems usually retain their color much better after pressing. Don't let it put you off, experiment with different kinds of flowers until you get a feel for what works for you. I love that you did this with your kids, I used to press flowers with my kids when they were younger and we made some great artwork together so don't give up!