Flower Pressing 101

White poppy flowers with a yellow centerPhoto by Zoe Schaeffer

It’s spring and maybe it’s just me, but flowers look extra beautiful this year! Pressing flowers is a lovely process that you can use to preserve sweet memories (like a wedding bouquet), decorate your space, gift to somebody you love, or just bring you joy.

Flower pressing is also really simple! Here’s how to do it:

Use a Press or a Stack of Books

This press is lightweight enough to take along with you on your walks or hikes, and you can gather flowers as you go. It’s also great because it won’t take up much space at home.

You can also bring your flowers home and press them under heavy books or something else that’s heavy, like an iron or cast iron pot.

Leave them pressed for as long as you possibly can; a month is great if you can wait that long!

Vase of flowers on top a stack of booksPhoto by Elena Putina

Avoid Moisture & Air

Moisture is your enemy when it comes to pressing flowers, and if there’s any air flowing over the flowers at all, they’ll shrivel. Larger flowers that are harder to press, or flowers that have a lot of moisture (like white roses), are more likely to mold because they can’t dry completely.

When you press your flowers (whether it’s in a press or between books), you can use: cardboard, white construction paper or newspaper or something else that will help absorb moisture, and then cardboard again. Paper towels sound good, but they tend to leave imprints on your flowers.

Some people use parchment paper on either side of very delicate flowers to help preserve them, but not everybody likes it because it doesn’t absorb moisture well.

Choose the Right Flowers & Greenery

Large flowers with lots of moisture will be more difficult to dry (you can try pulling out the thick middle of the flowers, or pressing individual petals instead of the whole flower). And some greenery will brown quickly. The easiest flowers to dry are the ones with one set of petals, like violas or pansies or daisies.

Here’s a pro tip for handling your newly-pressed flowers: use tweezers (they’re super delicate at first).

Pressed flowers on displayPhoto by Cary Bates

Display or Share Your Pressed Flowers

There are so. many. ways. to share your flowers after you’ve pressed them! You can use just about any kind of glue or resin or even tape to attach them to paper to make cards, or to frame. You can also frame them between clear glass.

Here, a professional flower framer talks about how she preserves important flowers like wedding flowers, and you can watch this video for lots more craft ideas (like using resin and pressed flowers to make a mirror).

Have you ever pressed flowers before? Let us know in the comments if you’ll be trying this sweet craft!

Sarah Guerrero
Sarah Guerrero
Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.