We press flowers not just to preserve the flowers themselves but also to preserve the memories of how we got them. Although we may not be able to preserve them in their full bloom, we can still enjoy their ruggedly elegant appeal for a long time. So, how long will it take to actually press them? We have researched the answer for you.
Pressing flowers using a book is the easiest and most common method, and it will normally take 2 to 4 weeks. However, there are other methods you can try for a faster turnaround time.
- Sandwich the flowers with parchment paper and press an iron over them. Make sure it's on low heat, then do 15-second intervals. This can take up to 3 minutes.
- Press the flowers on parchment paper and put them in the microwave. Time it for 10 seconds and take it out to let it breathe, then pop them in for another 10 seconds until it’s dry. This can take around 25 seconds.
There are many ways you can preserve the beauty of a flower, even when it's dry. Different methods work for different flowers, so keep reading below to learn how to effectively press or dry your flowers.
How To Press Flowers
Pressing flowers is one of the best ways to save them. Pressed flowers can be framed, preserved in resin, or you can use them as an inclusion to a personal letter. You can also use them as a decoration on drawings or paintings--there are no limits to the creative opportunities!
We have listed ways you can press your flowers so you can use them in personal or artistic projects.
Weigh With a Book
Using a book may be one of the most common ways to press a flower, but it can also take a lot of time. This method is ideal if you have a lot of time to spare and you won't mind potentially damaging the book.
This is because putting a flower between the pages will draw out the flower's moisture. The pages can get wet and eventually get torn. However, you can try minimizing the risk by putting parchment paper on the pages where you intend to put the flower. In doing this, there would at least be a barrier between the moisture and the book.
Can You Use Paper Towels When Pressing Flowers?
Paper towels are not a good material to press flowers with. Paper towels have patterns embossed on them, and it may transfer on the petals, which can ruin their look. It's best to stick with parchment paper to ensure that the flowers are pressed well.
Use Iron Heat
Pressing flowers with iron is ideal if you don't have time to wait for two weeks. However, this may be the riskiest method since irons can get too hot if you're not alert enough. They can also potentially ruin the shape of the flower because of uneven heat distribution.
To press with an iron, sandwich the flower with two parchment papers, one or two on each side. Set the iron on low heat, then carefully press it on the flower. Wait for 10 seconds, then observe the result.
Note that the texture of the flower will not be the same since direct heat on fragile petals will not always yield the best results. The flower could have ripples and burns, which are sometimes inevitable.
Pop Them Into the Microwave
If you want a safer method with a quick turnaround time, using a microwave is an excellent choice. The microwave heat will effectively draw out moisture and retain most of the flower's shape. Microwaving will also preserve their color better compared to other methods.
To microwave the flowers, make sure you have silica sand. Using this will yield the best results, especially for large yet fragile blooms. However, you will need to be careful when shaking off the sand after the drying process so you won't tear off a petals.
- Trim the stems of the flower.
- Put the flowers in the container.
- Pour silica sand, but don't fully bury the petals.
- Pop it into the microwave and set the timer for 10 seconds.
- Take it out to check, then pop it in again.
- Repeat the process until you reach the 25-second mark.
If you don't have silica sand, you can still press them with parchment paper.
How To Dry Flowers
Drying flowers is a different but effective method to preserve your flowers. Drying preserves the shape and form of the flower best, although you will need to be careful in handling them later since they turn brittle.
Here are several ways you can dry your flowers.
Leave them in a Vase
Leaving the flowers on the vase is an effortless solution to drying the flowers. Basically, you only need to put a few inches of water on the stems so they won't run out of moisture too quickly, then wait about two weeks for the flowers to completely dry.
Note that you can't do this method if the flowers have weak or droopy stems. This is only applicable for sturdy flowers with large blooms that turn brittle instead of lumpy.
Air Dry the Flowers
This is one of the most aesthetically pleasing solutions to drying flowers. Air drying flowers involve tying the stems and hanging the flowers upside down--which can be a decoration in itself as it gives off a rustic vibe that can beautify your space!
Here is how you can air dry flowers:
- Cut off 1-2 inches of the stem. Get rid of dead leaves as well.
- Tie the flowers together using a rubber band. Group them into three to four pieces so they will have enough air between them.
- Tie them upside down on a rod or twine.
- Place the flowers in a dark but well-ventilated area. Sunlight can cause discoloration, especially on roses.
- Wait up to five days before taking them down.
Utilize a Food Dehydrator
If you want something more time-efficient or space-saving, use a food dehydrator if you have one at home. You can dry several pieces at once without any messes from petals or rotting leaves, making it easier to organize and clean up.
This process usually takes overnight, so you can pop it in the dehydrator and forget it for hours.
Pressing Vs. Drying Flowers -- Which is Better?
Deciding on whether to press or dry your flowers depends on your preference and where you intend to use the flowers.
If you want to retain most of the flower or bouquet’s natural form, it is better to dry them. You can display them in a glass vase for aesthetic purposes, or you can turn them into a wreath for your walls or door.
However, if you intend to use the flowers for an art project, it is best to press the flowers and make them paper-thin. This will make it easier for you to incorporate them into scrapbooks, letters, or diaries.
There’s no one superior method, but you should pick one that’s more apt for the type of flower or bouquet and how you want it to look. As a general rule, pressing is best for fragile, flat, and soft flowers, while drying is best for sturdy flowers with large blooms.
Best Flowers To Press
The best flowers to press are those that only have a single layer of petals. It is easier to press these flowers since they are already "thin," and you can preserve most of their form. Here are some flowers you can try:
Flowers that have a lot of pollen need to be extracted so there won't be too much moisture to draw out. It will also make the space easier to clean up.
You can also try pressing multi-layered succulent flowers such as chrysanthemums and camellias, although you would need a certain level of expertise to pull this off.
How Long Do Preserved Flowers Last?
Preserved flowers can last up to three years. Just make sure to keep them in a dry, well-ventilated space that is away from direct sunlight. This will preserve their colors better and keep them from breaking.
Humidity makes dried flowers rot, so invest in a dehumidifier if necessary. If you want to further extend their lifespan, you can dye or bleach the flowers.
Preserving flowers is a creative way of treasuring memories. Dried and pressed flowers have a unique, old-school, and timeless charm that you can incorporate into other memorabilia, such as framed photos, resin accessories, or shadow boxes.
After pressing, flowers need virtually no maintenance anymore, so you can have them as a decoration or a keepsake that you can enjoy for a long time.
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