made with love: flower press

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This project was born out of pure necessity. I’ve been pressing flowers all season long, tucking them into little books on my bookshelf. Honestly, I was pretty proud of myself, as pressing flowers is the kind of thing one loves but never remembers to do. But here’s the catch- I know I stashed dozens of Queen Anne’s lace blooms away, but I’ll be darned if I can’t remember which of my hundreds of books I used to press them. With my new flower press, I’m putting an end to this silliness so I can find my flowers when I want them!

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!

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What you’ll need:

– 2 rectangular wooden boards, mine measured about 6” X 12”

– power drill and 3/8” drill bit

– several cardboard boxes

– watercolor paper (to absorb moisture during pressing)

– 4 bolts and 4 nuts, preferably wing nuts

1. Find 2 identically sized thin, wooden rectangles (I found my on the street but you can use something from your local craft store or cut your own).

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2. Drill a hole in each of the 4 corners of both of your blocks. Measure and drill 1” out from each corner so corresponding holes line up exactly when the blocks are place on top of each other.

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3. Make a template for the sandwiched layers that will separate your flowers, ½” smaller on all sides than the measurement of the wooden block. Cut the corners of the template at a 45 degree angle. Cut out 5 sheets of cardboard in this shape and 4 sheets of watercolor paper.

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4. Alternate cardboard and watercolor paper in a pile and sandwich between the two wood blocks. Line up holes and insert bolts in each corner. Screw on nuts to tighten. I used regular nuts because it’s what I had on hand, but using wing nuts would make it slightly easier to open and close your press.

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5. And because I can’t help myself, I glued an old illustration of some zinnias to the top of mine. Now let’s all get out and collect some of the last flowers of the season to press!

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laura trevey

this reminds me of when I was younger ~~ I made a book of pressed flowers ~~ I wonder if I can find it now… thanks for posting!

Stacey

I have a flower press that I haven’t used in a very long time, going to get it out this weekend, lovely inspiration.

Jenny

Thanks for posting this. A great end-of-summer project!
I have some pressed flowers that I’d like to glue to paper and frame. What kind of glue do people use for that? Should I seal them down with Mod Podge?

Simone

With the fall upon us and memories of summer’s flowers waiting what a perfect post! Heading for the park this weekend!

visualingual

That’s awesome! I have to say, though, that it’s always such an amazing surprise when I find some pressed flowers in a book that I’d completely forgotten about. I do understand that it can be frustrating, though.

KimJ

Awesome! I’ve been meaning to press flowers this summer too… yeah it’s September.
This is so cute, if I have the press i might be more likely to do the pressing!

When do we get a tutorial for actually pressing the flower?!? :)

KD

Thanks for this post, I love the idea of flower pressing – it’s so old fashioned and sweet. Hooray for more sweetness!

MH

Does anyone know how to preserve color in pressed flowers? I pressed some hot pink dianthus and geranium in a book and they turned quite purple-blue.

Nicole

I’m loving this! What a great idea to use for wedding invites, bookmarks, even pretty placemats. Thanks!!

LA

oh! what a fun project! my dad made me and my brothers each a “nature” press when we were little. we had so much fun collecting pansies and pretty fall leaves! (I think my dad did use wingnuts with a washer underneath to screw the board tightly together). funny–I later worked in a herbarium pasting pressed plant specimens…

manvi@mochatini

Thanks for this REALLY well timed post. I was JUST getting tired of smudges in my books from pressing flowers+ leaves and was trying to come up with a flower press like this one. I have been pressing flowers since I was 4 and am so happy to see others into it too.

Morning Glory

This makes me want to get my mom’s old flower press out…I remember every summer we would press flowers and make a project at the end. Thanks for helping jog such a good memory:)

CLK

My sister made me one of these (with my dad’s help) when I was 7! I looooved it. I wonder where it is now . . . .

iris

For those who missed flower-pressing season, I believe leaf-pressing season is coming up (assuming you get a colorful autumn).

Aveen

I had a flower press when I was younger and I absolutely loved it – my dad was a keen gardener and kept me supplied with flowers to press even in winter. I wish I knew what happened to it.

Stephanie Smirnov

OK, I’m an idiot. At first I thought the zinnia illustrations were actual flowers you had pressed (!!) What a wonderful idea. It reminds me of searching for four-leaf clovers to press at summer camp (I cheated and mixed together three-leaf clovers btw).

Barbara

I used to press so many flowers I found unscrewing my press all the time annoying. So I used phone books and put some heavy college math books on top. I still put the flowers between paper, but used a manila paper type paper that I could buy by the ream. My favorite flower to press were pansies – they come out wonderful.

Leigh

wow… I always thought flower presses were really hard to make and use and really expensive – this is such a wonderful project! I am definitely making this (for me, even if my boys won’t use one!).

LKB

I was given one as a wedding present 21 years ago. It still contains flowers from my wedding and is displayed in my home. I loved having it so much that I have often given one to brides that I knew would appreciate it.

*gemmifer*

Great project! This reminds me that I have a nice press I need to dig out and use again. It does away with the nuisance of unscrewing the press by using nylon webbing bands with these sort of buckles to tighten them.

Sarah

I remember being a little girl and pressing flowers with my mum, very nostalgic and brings back many memories. I now press flowers with my children and it takes me back to when me and my mum did it

Christine Murphy

This is wonderful and so simple to make. Just one suggestion: Instead of corrugated cardboard in between the sheets of water color paper, use lots of newspaper. The corrugations will be imprinted on your flowers and leaves. I have a flower press too. A friend of mine presses flowers and leaves with which she makes cards, bookmarks, pictures, business cards, you name it, with hers.

Kimara

I think most people will be surprised at just how easy it is to make a flower press. Thanks for sharing this project. I will be linking to it on Wee Folk Art’s Facebook page.

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