At The Flower Farm, we’re all about the joy and beauty of locally grown, fresh-picked flowers. But we also have a soft spot for dried flowers too. So, to preserve the memory of a meaningful floral gift, or a ‘just because’ bouquet of blooms, why not press them.
Pressing flowers is a simple and fun DIY activity that will preserve both the beauty and memory of your beautiful blooms.
Pressed flowers – what are they?
Pressed flowers are blooms that have been dried and pressed flat in some way. This process preserves them for their beauty, as a memento or as botanical specimens. Pressing flowers is an art form that can be traced back to ancient civilisations. In Japan, this art form, developed in the 16th century, was known as Oshibana, and was the practice of creating large pictures using pressed flowers.
As trade with Japan increased in the mid-1800s, pressing flowers – usually between the pages of books – then became a common and fashionable pastime in Victorian England and other western countries. Today small flower presses can be bought to continue the practice, preserve your memories or create beautiful works of art.
Which flowers are best for pressing
Pretty much any flowers can be pressed. But to get the best results, there are a few things to keep in mind. Flowers to be pressed should:
Be freshly bloomed. This will ensure your pressed flowers will be as colourfully authentic as possible.
Be partially dry. Flowers free from moisture will give you the best results. This is easy to control if you’re pressing flowers straight from a vase. But if you’re picking flowers from the garden to press, be sure that they are free from any early morning dew.
Be unblemished. Any blemishes on the petals can discolour when pressed.
- Have a flat bud and a single layer of petals. This flower form will hold its shape better when pressed (and flowers with a round bud tend to hold moisture). These include daisies, pansies, geraniums, zinnias and delphiniums.
How to press flowers – the process
As pressing flowers involves drying, flattening and the preservation of petals and leaves, the process is important. Successful pressing removes light and moisture from the flowers, which helps to preserve their natural colour, shape and beauty.
To press flowers, you can use a book or iron, but at The Flower Farm, we love the even, true-to-life results from using a wooden flower press.
A wooden flower press is made from two pieces of wood that are tightened together using wingnuts. The press works by evenly pressing the flower layer together and excluding light and removing moisture over a period of time, usually two to four weeks.
We love our range of Sow’n’Sow presses. They are hand-crafted in Australia and feature engraved botanical illustrations on the pressing boards. Made from hard-wearing materials, the presses ensure stable, even pressure and long-term use.
How to press flowers using a wooden press
- Start with flowers that are:
- Freshly picked, partially dry, unblemished and have a flat bud.
- Trimmed, including removing the stem or any part of the flower you do not wish to press.
Take two sheets of clean, absorbent paper. Craft paper or drawing paper from an art supplies shop is ideal. Place one sheet of paper on the cardboard (which is provided with the Sow’n’Sow press).
Note that using paper with the cardboard isn’t strictly necessary and you will achieve beautiful results without it. But the added layer of paper will help draw moisture from the blooms and keep the cardboard clean. This means your cardboard will last for many years.
Lay your dry, trimmed blooms on top of one layer of papered cardboard. Fit as many flowers into the available space as you can, but make sure that none of the petals or leaves overlap. This way they don’t stick together while being pressed.
Carefully place this flower layer on top of the bottom half of the wooden press.
Carefully place the other papered cardboard on top of your flowers, followed by the top pressing board. Screw the wingnuts firmly into place, pushing down on the press if you need to. Take care that the press isn’t screwed tightly together – just firmly.
- Put your flower press in a cool, dry place for at least two weeks. Unscrew the wingnuts after two weeks to look at your flowers. If they aren’t completely dry, screw the press back together and leave it for another week or two.
Flower Press Experts
We love to be surrounded by fresh, beautiful blooms each day of the year. To preserve the memory of your own beautiful blooms, why not give flower pressing a try. We hope this post has helped you to understand the process and encourages you to give this art form a try.