Melt-and-pour soaps make beautiful gifts. Adding pressed fresh flowers to soaps can make these creations even more attractive. There are two common methods for pressing flowers. The oldest method is to use books to press and dry flowers. Be patient, though, because with this process it can take three to five days for the flowers to dry and be ready for use. The second method is more recent. It requires a microwave, but the flowers would be available immediately for use. Start with fresh flowers for both methods.
Measure the chipboard (cardboard from the back of a notepad; make sure it has no staples in it) with your ruler. Outline in pencil four 4-inch by 3-inch triangles.
Fold a tissue in half so that it is at least two tissues thick and slightly larger than the chipboard pieces. Cut two pieces of parchment paper, again 4 inches by 3 inches.
Stack two pieces of chipboard on a table. Layer the tissue on one piece and cover with a piece of parchment paper.
Place the flower that you wish to dry on top of the parchment paper. Cover with another piece of parchment, a layer of tissues and the remaining pieces of chipboard.
Press the entire flower stack together, and secure with two rubber bands. Set the microwave for medium heat and "bake" for 30 seconds.
Remove the stack from the microwave, and check for scorches. If flowers are still moist, then microwave for 15-second intervals until they are dry.
Open the sheet of newspaper. Place the fresh flowers along its fold. Do not overlap any parts of the flowers or allow them over the fold. Close the newspaper.
Open a large book such as a dictionary or phone book to its middle. Place the newspaper in the book with the fold close to the binding. Place 20 pounds of books on top of the book containing the flowers to weigh them down.
Remove the flowers from the book three to five days later. Once they are dry, they are ready to be used in your soaps.