Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Making a Flower Press

Many years ago I read an article about Princess Grace Kelly and how she loved to press flowers in really thick books.  After they were pressed she would make pictures, etc with them.  I decided to try pressing flowers and did some research about making a flower press.  I apologize that I do not remember where this idea came from but it is simple to make.   The instructions may appear to be complicated, but please keep in mind that each step is accomplished in a very short amount of time, some take only a few minutes.
The Supplies you will need are a Drill, Newspaper Pages, Ruler, Pencil, Scissors, Flowers or other greenery you would want to press such as leaves, petals, etc., 2 Pieces of 5/8" - 3/4" Thick Smooth Finish Plywood (these pieces had oak finishes), 4 - 2 1/2"x1/4" Flathead Bolts, 4 - 1/4" Wingnuts, Wax Paper, and Sandpaper (not pictured)  Other size Flathead Bolts and Wingnuts can be used.  We had these on hand.

Close Up of the Flathead Bolts and Wing Nuts 
 The first step is to cut the wood with an electric Skill Saw or have the store where you buy the wood cut it for you.  The pieces pictures are 18" x 14 1/2".  Then sand the edges smooth.

Mark the drill spot
Measure in 1 1/2" from the two sides at each of the 4 corners of each piece of wood and mark this spot with the pencil.

Using the Drill, install the 1/4" drill bit and drill a hole at the spot you mark with the pencil.  We drilled in the garage over a wide sawhorse; just be safe about where you drill.  Keep your drill on safety until you are ready.  We also drilled through each corner at the marked spot with the two pieces of wood stacked on top of each other. (In other words, we did the two pieces at one time).  After you drill the 4 holes make sure the screws fit inside of them easily.

Cut Newspaper to Fit Wood
Cut two pieces of newspaper to fit inside the four holes you have drilled. Put one piece of the newspaper on what will be the bottom piece of the wood.

Put Flower Inside Folded Waxpaper
Fold a piece of wax paper in half.  Put the wax paper on the piece of the newspaper that is on the bottom piece of wood from previous step.  I try to use black and white printed page of newspaper instead of color print pages. Place your flower, etc on the bottom half in the position you want it to dry.  Fold the top piece of wax paper over. (see below).  White xerox paper, or parchment paper can be substituted for wax paper; or the flowers can be put directly on the newspaper.

Fold over the top half of the Wax Paper
You can add an identifying label if you want on top of the folded piece of wax paper. 

Put another piece Newspaper on top of Wax Paper
Put another piece of newspaper on top of the wax paper that the flowers, etc have been put in.  If you have more flower to press, more layers of newspaper can be added with the flowers inside wax paper as above.  I use two pieces of newspaper for each layer).

Put top piece of wood over the bottom piece
 Place the other piece of wood on top of the bottom piece that has the 2 pieces of newspaper on it with the flower in between.

Put Flathead Screws in two piece of wood

Put in the Flathead Screws starting from under the bottom piece of wood through the top piece in all four corners.

TIghten the Wingnuts on the Flathead Screws
Now, screw the Wingnuts on the top of each screw.  I tighten a little at a time on each screw.  You need to screw the wingnuts at tight as possible so the wood is really screwed close together.  At first I would screw one at a time, but it was too difficult to get the last one tight enough.  That is why I screw each one a little bit at a time until the wood pieces are close together.

Flower Press is finished...Yea!!!!
Now that the two pieces of wood are screwed tight, place the Flower Press under a bed, dresser, or another place where there will not be moisture.  Let it sit undisturbed for a week or two.....unscrew and check to see how dry the flowers, etc., are.   Once they are dried and pressed, you can remove them and store in a cardboard box (ex; shirt box) keeping them inside the pieces of wax paper they were pressed in.  Handle very carefully as they will be fragile.  See pictures below of some pressed flowers.

Pressed Rose, Rose Petals, Rose Leaves
Pressed Flowers

Left page shows pressed flowers on stems from a vacation and a Cosmos Flower from our garden.
Right page shows Alyssum, 2 Stems of Sage, Another stem herb, Dandelion

Uses for Pressed Flowers:  Glue on  Plain Cards ( I buy them at Michaels Craft Store)
                                            Use with kids to iron inbetween two pieces of wax paper to make bookmarks or glue onto cardstock and laminate to make bookmarks.
                                             Glue onto gift wrapping
                                             Use in collages
I have used this Flower Press for over 20 years......just nice when I see a flower I want to press to be able to pull it out and add another layer!!!!

I am sure there are more ways to get creative with them.  I will end with a picture below of some leaves that my daughter sent me from Japan.  I purchased the frame at a local frame store and have enjoyed looking at these leaves for eight years. 

Beautiful Maple and Ginko Leaves from Japan

Note from my daughter sent with leaves

I also mount on the wall next to the picture of the leaves the above note my daughter sent with the leaves.  It reads: "Mom, These are some of the fall leaves that fell from trees at one of the temples we visited when the colors were the most beautiful.  I thought you might like some."

Flowers and plants are indeed  some of our greatest silent friends.


  1. This is so cool! At first, when I saw the drill, I thought it was going to be something Dad built...surprise! ...and I feel very special that you included my note :)

  2. Hi again! Come visit my blog to see that I nominated you for a Leibster Blog Award. :-) Jessica

  3. It's me again...Here's the link so you can go straight to it...

  4. What a great idea! this is something i had at the back of my head for such a long time, but never did it. your lovely tutorial is just the motivation i needed :-)
    also thank you so much for your lovely comments on my blog, they are very much appreciated!


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