Every gardener should have a flower press to preserve the beauty of their flowers and leaves.
I shared my traditional flower press awhile ago, one my husband made from wood.
I also tried out a microwave flower press (an idea from the book below)
To make a microwave flower press, cut two pieces of thick cardboard – about 10 inches square – but the actual size will depend on the dimensions of your microwave. You also need sheets of newsprint the same size, and wide elastic bands. You can’t fit the larger leaves or many flowers into this press, so you might want to have several of them so that you can do lots of flowers and leaves one right after the other.
Arrange the flowers or leaves on the newsprint, add another sheet of newsprint, and a piece of cardboard top and bottom. Place elastic around all edges – use at least 4. When you take the press out of the microwave, you have to let it cool before opening and using again. A tip for when they come out of the microwave is to put them under some heavy books while they cool. You need to set the microwave for around 2 minutes on medium to “cook” the flowers. :) You will probably have to experiment a few times as all microwaves heat differently.
Once the press is totally cool, you can carefully check the flowers or leaves. If they do not appear to be completely dry, put them back in for another minute or so. Then proceed with the same cooling down time. I tried this method out a couple of times but much prefer my wooden flower press, but if you are looking for pressed flowers quickly this is the way to go.
The book, Pressed Flowers, is one of many gardening books on my bookshelves.
It includes the pressing instructions for a traditional press and a microwave press and is where I got my info for making the cardboard flower press. This book has good instructions for pressing flowers in the microwave. It also has many projects that you can create with your pressed flowers. The lovely illustrations show you various ways of combining pressed flowers and leaves to make attractive designs.
Various methods are explained for creating projects … all over gluing, adding essential oils and adding laminating film. There are numerous projects included as well from cards, drawer liners, wooden boxes, decorating furniture, beautiful picture frames, colourful flower pots and more.
Then one day while browsing garage sales I found a brand new microwave flower press for $2.00.
This item sells in a well known garden catalogue for just under $30.00. I checked out the catalogue and found out some information about it. In as little as 3 minutes I can have dried flowers.
It has two absorbent pads of natural wool and two sheets of broadcloth which have never been used. The terra cotta slabs on the top and bottom weigh about 2 pounds each and will ensure that the flowers are pressed flat. Moisture is forced out of the flower, through the pads and out through the slabs which moderate the drying. I must admit I’ve never used this as a flower press but use the clay sides as garden ornaments.
I neglected my flower press this past summer, just too busy with family visitors, but I certainly plan to make more use of it next year with the intention of making some Christmas gifts and note cards.