The abundance of great natural craft materials is one of the top reasons that summer is the best time for crafting.  Flowers are a prime example of a seasonal item you can find foraging through the woods, or your back yard.  Make these blooms last forever with this simple flower pressing tutorial.

Pressed flowers can be beautifully displayed between two pieces of glass in a picture frame.  They can dress up hand poured soaps and candles when strategically placed.  Since they’re perfectly flat you can use them for decoupage and scrap booking.  My personal favorite use for pressed petals is incorporating them into handmade paper.

Flowers selected for pressing

Getting Started with Pressing Flowers

To press flowers, you will need:

  • Flowers or flower petals
  • Wax paper
  • Book
  • A packed bookshelf, or something heavy

Some flowers will have better results than others when pressing.  First, the color of a flower will become darker after pressing.  Purples and reds will have a more deeper hue, but will still look beautiful.  The purple flowers in the photographs are Lobelia.  Yellows and oranges can become a bit browner.  Flowers with thin petals work best, and avoid flowers with a more rubbery texture like begonias.  If you want to press a whole flower, it may still be raised in the center depending on the pressure it is under during the pressing process.  To get completely flat flower petals, remove the end of the petal where it connects to the flower and then press.

Lobelia petals laid on wax paper

Pressing with Wax Paper

Prepare your wax paper for your flower layout.  Cut a piece of wax paper twice the width of the book you will use for pressing.  Then fold the wax paper in half like a book page.  The flowers will be inserted between the fold.  Open up the folded piece of wax paper so you can add flowers.

Once you’ve picked your flowers, decide how you’ll be using them in your project and arrange on top of a piece of wax paper.  This layout will be locked in place after the pressing process, so take care to get it right.  If any flowers are overlapping each other they will likely be pressed together permanently after the process.  Keep them separated if you want more flexibility in adding them to your final display.

Flowers between wax paper

Fold Wax Paper and Apply Pressure

Carefully fold over the wax paper.  Make sure all of the petals are laying the way you like.  You should be able to see through the wax paper.  Open it back up and adjust anything as needed.  When you’re happy, open up your book and insert the wax paper into the middle.  You can add several pressed flower pages to a single book, just separate them with a chunk of pages.  Close the book tightly.

If you have a bookshelf that is packed to the brim, this pressure works great for pressing the flowers.  If you don’t have this situation, set your book on a shelf or table and add a stack of books or something very heavy on top of it for pressing.  Wait at least 2 weeks before opening the book, and then your flowers be fully pressed and dried.

Removing Flowers

If you’re ready to use the flowers right away, gently peel them away from the wax paper and put them into your project.  The great thing about pressing flowers is that you can let them sit in the book for as long as needed, and use them when you’re ready.  For my paper making supplies, I remove all of the petals and store them in a tupper ware container.  This way I don’t need to peel petals off of wax paper any time I’m making paper, and I have a supply of them on hand.

Will you be saving part of the summer and pressing flowers?