DIY: How To Press Flowers Or Dry Your Bouquet As Keepsakes

Receiving a bouquet, especially if it’s a surprise, gives such a feeling of joy. Often the sender and receiver have a special relationship—family, romantic, or business—which causes the flowers to have meaning beyond the beauty and fragrance of the blooms. Despite trying to prolong their life, buds eventually fade, but pressing can preserve them for years to come.

Choosing Flowers to Press

Not all flowers press well, so choosing the best flowers for your project will set your preservation up for success. When selecting the perfect flowers for pressing, you should choose flowers that are fresh, flat and dry.

  • Opt for fresh flowers. The fresher your petals are, the better. You want to keep your flowers on display as long as possible, but if you intend to press them, do so before they start to fade or brown. 
  • Select flat flowers. Flat flowers—think pansies or daisies—press better than spherical ones, such as roses. If you have rounder blooms, you can cut them in half to press, hang them to dry, or press the individual petals. 
  • Use dry flowers. Make sure your flower heads are free from water droplets to avoid extra moisture that may cause molding. See the supplies list below for the best paper options to help you dry and prep your flowers.

pressed sunflower art

Supplies for Pressing Flowers

Before getting started on the pressing process, you’ll need to gather some household items to help you complete your crafting.

  • Trimmer - Unnecessary flower parts, like thorns and foliage, can be removed easily with scissors or garden snips, depending on the size of the stem. 
  • Paper - Paper absorbs water from flowers as they dry. Pat dry your flowers with paper like coffee filters, parchment paper, printer paper, thin cardboard, or untreated facial tissue. Avoid textured paper towels as they can leave an imprint.
  • Buffer - Buffers create a layer between the absorbent paper and the weight. Books or pieces of cardboard work well. 
  • Weight - To properly preserve the flower, pressure must be applied. Use a stack of books, or anything else heavy and flat.
  • Tweezers - Tweezers are gentle enough tool that help pick up extremely delicate, dried blooms.
  • Location - Choose a place where your flowers will not be disturbed as they press and dry.
prep flowers to press

How to Press Flowers From a Bouquet

Today you can find ready-made flower presses, yet other methods work for preservation by following the steps below.

  1. Prepare your bloom. Trim off the flower’s unnecessary parts, such as the stem, thorns, and leaves you don’t want to press. Remove browning or damaged flower petals. 
  2. Place your flower in between layers of paper. Choose which side of your flower will be towards the back, and lay it on the paper. Get your bloom as flat as possible. Any folded leaves or bent parts will be more noticeable when pressed. Once you are satisfied with the way the flower looks, place your second paper on top. Depending on the size of your blooms, you may be able to press more than one. 
  3. Put your buffer over and under your prepared blossoms. Do this carefully to protect your flowers and keep them flat. Slide your paper into the pages of your book or in between pieces of cardboard.
  4. Set your weight on top in your final location. Make sure that your setup is flat and level.
  5. Check on your flowers and change the paper every few days. Remove the weight and buffer carefully, and use tweezers to handle the petals as they dry. 
  6. Display your flowers. Give your blooms new life by creatively displaying them. 
fresh flower pressing process

How to Speed up the Drying Process

There are ways to accelerate the process by gently adding a heat source. With the methods below, you can drastically reduce drying time.

  • Microwave - Make a mini-press for the microwave with two ceramic tiles. Do steps one and two above, and use the tiles as your buffer and weight. Microwave for 30-second increments, checking on your flowers each time. When the flowers feel slightly dry, use another method to finish pressing your blooms for two to three days. 
  • Iron - Do step one above, and then place your flowers in between parchment paper. Use the highest setting on your iron—without steam—and press them for 10-15 seconds. Keep the iron still and lift to move onto other sections. Be careful not to burn your flowers, and let them finish drying by pressing them for one to two days.

Things to Do with Pressed Flowers

Floral art crafter Sheila (@dandelionsindec on Instagram) shows us how she dries and preserves her Overnight Flower bouquets. She's turned many of her arrangements into beautiful floral art décor pieces.

pressed flower art

Next time you send flowers to the DIY lover in your life, think about ones that flatten easily for pressing. Our Sunday Brunch, Garden Party, and Gerbera Dreamin’ bouquets contain gorgeous blooms that preserve well and are ideal for crafting.