Pressing flowers may be one of the oldest and simplest ways of drying flowers to preserve their beauty. Pressed flowers can be used to decorate items such as bookmarks, candles, pictures frames and much more. Although using a flower press works well for this, pressing flowers at home can be done with only a few heavy books and some newspaper.
Pick flowers at their freshest, usually right after the buds are starting to open. Cut the flowers, leaving approximately a 6-inch stem. The flowers should be dry when pressing or mold can form. Cut your flowers either late morning or late afternoon when they have a chance to be drier. If you won't be pressing your cut flowers immediately, preserve the life of the flowers by placing in a vase of water and putting in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Cut the flower heads off the stems and place on a piece of newspaper or cardboard approximately 8 inches by 8 inches. Position the flower head so the petals are spread out. Place another piece of newspaper or cardboard on top of the flowers pushing down gently to flatten out. If desired, leave on the stem and some leaves when pressing.
Place the newspaper or cardboard inside a heavy book, such as a phone book or encyclopedia, close the book and place a heavy object on top of the book to weigh it down. Stacking several heavy books on top of each other works well. For best results, press the flowers for two to four weeks to dry out completely.
After two to four weeks, remove the flowers from the book and gently lift off the top layer of newspaper or cardboard. The flowers may stick to it; if so, use tweezers to remove them. If not using the flowers immediately for decoration, store them in reclosable sandwich bags or a plastic box with a lid.