Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Press Carnations

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017
Beautiful carnation flower

Many gardeners want to preserve the beauty of their flowers. Pressing flowers is one way of doing this. Pressing differs from other drying methods because the flowers lose their dimension and are flat. This makes pressed flowers unsuitable for most dried flower arrangements; however, pressed flowers are beautiful when used in greeting cards and scrapbook pages. The process for pressing flowers is simple and the materials required are few. Gather a few flowers from the garden, such as carnations in full bloom, and experiment with the pressing process.

Select carnations that are in ideal condition. Try to find blooms with no imperfections. Avoid carnations that are wilting or past their prime. Cut your blooms from the plants and bring them indoors.

Open the telephone book at approximately the halfway point, and lay it flat. Place a facial tissue onto the left open page of the telephone book. Place a carnation onto the facial tissue. You can place more than one carnation onto the facial tissue, as long as they don't touch each other. Arrange the carnations onto the facial tissue and cover them with another facial tissue. Close the telephone book carefully to sandwich the carnations, making sure the carnations do not shift as you do so.

Find a location where you can stack the telephone book and five or six large, heavy books without having them disturbed. It should be warm and dry. Place one heavy book in your pressing location, and place the telephone book on top of the one heavy book. Stack the remainder of the heavy books on top of the telephone book.

Leave the stacked books undisturbed for one week.

Open the telephone book carefully after one week, and remove the facial tissues from around the carnations. Place fresh facial tissues around the carnations, reposition the carnations and close the telephone book again. Stack the telephone book between the heavy books once again.

Check the carnations after another week to assess their progress. If the flowers are satisfactorily dried without any moisture remaining in them, remove them from the telephone book. If the flowers are not dry and brittle when you touch them, place fresh facial tissues around them and continue to press them. The pressing process may take as long as four weeks.

Remove the carnations from the telephone book when they are completely dry to the touch.


Things You Will Need

  • Carnations
  • Scissors
  • Old telephone book
  • Facial tissues
  • Five or six large, heavy books


  • The fleshiness of these flowers may not produce the desired pressing results because the flowers may not dry out adequately.

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.