I get a lot of questions about how to press flowers. There are a lot of resources out there, but I do find a lot of them to make things much more complicated than it needs to be. All you need are:
- a pair of scissors
- a big book with absorbent, non-glossy pages (or else it will mold!)
- some other books or weights to lay on top of the pressing book after the flowers have been placed
You can also purchase an inexpensive flower press like this one here . I don't think they are completely necessary if you are just looking to press a few as a hobby, I use a mix of books and presses since I am always sporadically pressing flowers. They are a nice option for those who prefer to keep things organized. :)
First and foremost, you want to always press fresh flowers. Flowers that are a little dry or wilted will not press well. If you need to revive some flowers, try giving them a diagonal cut about an inch up from the bottom of the stem and placing them in a vase of cool water, they should perk back up.
Never ever press flowers that are wet, or damp, from rain or dew. They will mold. You can blot them with a paper towel and let air dry for a little bit, but make sure to keep an eye on them in order to press them before the begin to wilt.
Not all flowers are ideal for pressing. Larger flowers like ranunculus, peonies and dahlias are far too dense to press properly. If these are your favorite flowers, fret not, you can still press an assortment of their petals to preserve their magic. You can even make a cool framed mandala using them!
Ferns and smaller flowers like daisies and pansies are ideal for pressing and are predominantly the thickness I look for when choosing what to press for my work I usually remove and just work with flower heads, but that's just personal preference. You can leave the stem on or just , play around a little! Flower heads are a little easier because in order to get a good press you want to be able to press the crown of the flower completely face down. This can be a little harder to accomplish while also accommodating the stem.
You really just want to lay them out in a way that will nicely splay out the leaves and petals, it takes a little practice, but you'll get it down quick!
Keep in mind that while pressing that you should give the flowers ample space away from one another, so that they can flatten and dry out. You can put some on the same page, especially if you're using a real press, just give them enough space to breath and evaporate. Also, leave a few pages in between each filled page to ensure a little cushion.
The time you allot for the flowers to dry is kind of dependent on the climate where you are pressing. When I lived in Colorado the flowers only took a week to really dry out, but here in the more humid Seattle I give them 2-3 weeks on the press before I used them. This is also because I will be sealing them in glass and whatever moisture is left in them will be trapped inside and can potentially ruin the piece. You'll figure out how long works best for you, but I say give it at least a week before you open it to check on them, you don't want to risk ruining the still damp flowers.
Once they are completely dry, gently remove them with a pair of tweezers. Be careful not to pull on the petals, as it's pretty easy to accidentally tear them off. I like to shimmy my tweezers under the base of the flower crown and gently pull up from there. You can even roll the page of the book around a little bit to help loosen up the flower.
There are a ton of ideas out there on what to do with pressed flowers, I'm sure you can find some on Pinterest ;). Have fun and make it your own. Playing with flowers has been such a joy in my life and I hope it can be the same for you!