Flower-Pressing Basics

Preserve the beauty of your garden by drying flowers naturally -- or even in the microwave!

Flower pressing is easy and a great project to do with children. Use a pressed flower as a delicate bookmark, or glue pressed flowers onto cards and paper with white or crafts glue to create romantic stationery.

Flower pressing can always be performed in that time-honored practice of pressing flowers in a heavy book between two sheets of newsprint or paper towel. But you can press more and a wider variety of flowers with the simple press shown here.

Instructions:

1. Arrange flowers. To press complex or rounded flowers, such as roses, carnations, and mums, begin by dismantling the flower, petal by petal. Arrange the petals on a padded board, making sure that none of the petals touch or overlap.

2. Insert into press. Place a sheet of blotting paper over the petals. Then top it with a sheet of cardboard. Repeat this procedure with a second padded board. Stack the two sets of padded boards between the wooden press boards, and bind them together with rubber bands.

3. Allow the flowers to dry for up to several weeks. Or, to speed the process along, place the flower press in a microwave oven and heat for about three minutes on the defrost setting. The heating time will vary with the microwave oven and the thickness of the petals.

4. Microwaving. If you're using a microwave oven, once the flowers are dry, let them cool completely. Then, with a pair of tweezers, gently remove the petals and store them in an envelope or a flat box until you're ready to use them.

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