What Are The Easiest Flowers To Press? – Leah Nikolaou

What Are The Easiest Flowers To Press?

Explore the easiest flowers to press & follow our easy guide, 'Flower Pressing For Beginners.' It's packed with lots of tips on the best way to press flowers and has a list of flowers that press well to get you started! 

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Best pressed flower

Flowers are nature's most perfect creations. They come in all shapes and sizes, and each one has its own personality. From the humble daisy to the majestic rose, there are so many ways to enjoy these beauties. But if you want to keep your flowers fresh and vibrant, you need to press them first. Pressing flowers is a great way to preserve their beauty and extend their lifespan. You can incorporate them into so many crafts.

Easiest Flowers - List Of Flowers That Press Well

List of flowers that press well

1.  Pressed Pansies

Pansies are great because they bloom from winter through to Spring and their delicate naturally flat faced structure press beautifully preserving their bright and vibrant colours and markings. You can’t help fall in love their pretty little faces, the Victorians certainly did, making flower pressing popular in the 19th century. ‘Three Faces Under A Hood’ is one of many nicknames they are known to have had which I think is just gorgeous and so fitting of their striking characteristics.  They come in such a lovely range of colours too which all press equally as well as each other.

Pansies press the best as illustrated

2.  Pressed Love In The Mist

Also known as Nigella flowers, love-in-the-mist is a flower that self seeds and spreads everywhere making it common to find it in alley ways, curbside and other areas left to go wild as well as been a favourite in people’s back gardens.  Most commonly found in shades of blues, pinks and whites their spiked foliage is so structurally striking when framed.  White flowers don’t always press very well and have impact but even in their white form these press beautifully.

Pressed Love-in-the-mist in a frame on a table next to daffodils in a glass cup

3.  Pressed Daisies

The humble daisy really gives a sense of childhood nostalgia of making daisy chains and enjoying their abundance and wide-spread growth.  One of the reasons they grow so abundantly is that they thrive in poor soil conditions and manage to establish on the thinnest of little stalks.  For flower pressers this is great news, they hold little water in their stems and heads and press and dry extremely quickly.  

flower pressed daisies

4.  Pressed Forget-Me-Not

Another self seeder falling into the weed category these flower heads are so tiny they are great if you are thinking about using your pressed flowers for jewellery.  They keep their strong blue colour and also press well on their stems and with their leaves if you want a whole specimen to frame.

easiest flowers to press, forget-me-nots

5.  Pressed Roses

Roses with their bloused, billowing forms are notoriously difficult to press and prone to rotting, turning particularly ugly looking.  However wild roses and dog roses with more simple structures and just one or a few layers of petals will bring you more success as they will dry faster and may keep some of their colour.  Quite often these roses are repeat bloomers lasting throughout the season so if you have some in your garden it will give you multiple opportunities to practice.  Look at the pressed roses examples below which are from different roses.  The pale pink roses have turned a slightly brown shade whist the deep red flowers have turned a more striking shade of purple.  Also note how it's lovely to use the front and back profiles of pressed roses.

illustration showing how some pressed flowers loose their colour

6.  Pressed Lily-Of-The-Valley

Such fragrant little blooms with beautiful bell like structures, lily-of-the-valley has a mythical like quality and adds interest in structure if you are grouping pressed flowers together.

Flowers that press well, lily-of-the-valley

7.  Pressed Bluebells

A spring staple in the UK, these are perfect starter blooms for the press!  The common English bluebell is a pinky shade whilst the blue bluebells derive from Spain.  If you happen to find a white bluebell, they are incredibly rare so leave it in the ground unharmed.

framed pressed flowers

8.  Pressed Muscari

Another spring flower this one you wouldn’t necessarily think would press well with its bobble ‘berry’ like structure but they do dry very quickly and preserve their deep blueish/ purple tones.

best flowers to press, muscari on paper

9.  Pressed Larkspur

If you are looking to press an abundance of flower heads then this is the flower for you.  Lovely in size to fill a sheet of paper you can pick all the separate flower heads off one stem and press them all individually.  

white pressed flowers

10.  Pressed Blossom  

I don’t know about you but brambles to me always conjure up memories of Brambly Hedge the seasonal children’s fictional stories written by Jill Barklem in 1980.  The flowers which come before the blackberry fruit is extremely delicate but so easy and pretty to press as well as easy to find out in nature.

11.  Pressed Hydrangea Petals

Their names just make you want to get planting in your garden, the French Hydrangea, Lacecap Hydrangea, Pink Hydrangea & Blue Hydrangea. Their blooming great heads are made up of lots of individual flat flowers that are brilliant for flower pressing.  When I see hydrangeas I just can’t help but feel excited, the graduation of the pastel colours in their petals are to die for.

Pressed cosmos

Pressed flowers in a frame on a table next to a glass cup with an anemonie in

12.  Pressed Cosmos

My absolute favourite to press, cosmos come is such a variety of colours and sizes and all press beautifully.  The heads look lovely on their own or pressed on their stems.  I love them pressed on their stems with a few of their fern like leaves still attached.

Top-Tips For The Best Flower Pressing Results

1. Choose The Right Flower Pressing Kit

  • Flower Press | Book | Microwave Press
  • Blotting Paper is the best paper for pressing the flowers directly onto as it absorbs moisture, but any paper can be used. 
  • Absorbent towel (kitchen towel)
  • Thick card
  • Tweezers (to handle pressed flowers optional)
  • Sharp secateurs or scissors (to take flower cuttings)
  • Craft Knife or scissors (to trim leaves and petals off specimens)
  • Air tight container for storage

2.  Follow The Best Practices When Pressing Your Flowers

In my opinion the best way to press flowers at home successfully is in a traditional flower press. 

  • Pick flowers on a dry day preferably in the afternoon when any moisture from the night time should have evaporated. If they are still damp, put them in a vase if on a stem and let them air dry indoors for a few hours.
  • Remove leaves and flowers of congested specimens to reduce the bulk without losing the character of the plant.
  • Shake gently and brush off any dirt or little bugs that may be hiding.
  • Dab any moisture from the stems before pressing.

lady showing first step in how to press flowers

     3.  Learn How To Use A Traditional Flower Press Properly

    1.  Place flowers down head first onto the blotting paper. If on stems, press flowers down lightly in the position you want the flowers to be with your finger tips. Don’t overlap flowers unless you want them to press together.

    lady demonstrating tips for flower pressing

    2..Quickly cover with a second piece of blotting paper over the top.

    Flower press open showing flowers for flower pressing

    3.  Best tip I can give is to use kitchen towel on top and below your blotting paper to soak up moisture from more chunky flowers. This prevents the flowers from turning brown.

    adult ladies hands flower pressing

    4.  Then on top of the paper towel layer a  thicker piece of card to stop the flower shapes imprinting onto other layers of flowers.  

    5.  Put layers on repeat to layer up your flower press.  Board, Paper towel, Blotting paper, flowers, blotting paper, paper towel, board.

    6.  Place heavy books on top, or applying pressure evenly throughout making sure screws on press are as tight as they can be.

    7.  Move to a warm place, such as an airing cupboard or damp-free room above a radiator. The quicker your flowers dry the better they press and preserve their colour.

    How to press flowers using a book.  book open with blotting paper and flowers.

    4.  Learn How To Press Flowers In A Book 

     Repeat all above methods of collecting flowers and layering flowers with blotting paper and card to achieve good results.  The most important step however when flower pressing using a book is to make sure enough heavy pressure is placed on top of the books. See pressed flower video below:

    5.  Know How Long To Press Flowers For

    Unless you are attempting super chunky flowers with many layers, 3 weeks in the flower press is a good rule to work to when pressing.  Every few days tighten the screws on your press to ensure best results!  You could even tie a belt or tight fabric around the middle to help compact the press.  This is particularly affective if you have built up so many many layers that you have a bit of a bulge in the middle of your press.  After three weeks you can asses if you think they need longer.  It may be a case that some are pressed with a few needing longer.  

    image showing a pressed flower that has turned brown

    6.  Understand Why Pressed Flowers Turn Brown

    The above rose petals looked so beautiful after they had turned brown that I turned them into a piece of artwork.  This detail is from a piece of artwork which was short-listed for a prize and exhibited at the Glyndebourne’s Gallery 94, UK.  So yes, pressed flowers can turn brown when pressed, but can also be extremely beautiful in that state.  Most flowers which won't press well will go brown in the flower press.  Flowers which press and keep their colour will just fade in colour over time, but not necessarily go brown.  To prevent flowers from turning brown its important to use the right layers of paper and towel and pick and press at the right time of day.

    pressed irises

    7.  Avoid Flowers That Are Difficult To Press Until More Experienced

    Not many flowers are completely impossible to press but some are more difficult.  This is usually due to their layers of petals, stem density, head size and colour.  It’s notoriously harder to preserve the colour of white flowers as they press because they are prone to turning yellow and brown.  Flowers that are difficult that I’ve persevered with are daffodils, roses, astrantia, iris (above) and scabiosa flowers.

    8.  Store Your Pressed Flowers Correctly

    Pressed flowers prefer a dark environment where sunlight can't fade their colours.  I try to keep my flowers in the press for as long as I can, ideally until I'm ready to use them.  However its not always possible when pressing large amounts of flowers for craft and business purposes.  In this instance I like to store mine in recycled take away containers and I put them in a dark cupboard.  I layer up little sheets of tracing paper with my pressed flowers on.  This works particularly well for smaller pressed flowers.

     pressed flowers kept in a plastic tub on sheets of tracing paper 

    9.  Understand The Life Span Of A Pressed Flower

    Pressed flowers will fade with time especially if hung in direct sunlight.  Steps can be made to slow this down like using by using commercial sealants to using conservation glass or museum glass when choosing a frame.  However your pressed flowers should last approx 3 - 5 years and the fun is definitely in pressing more flowers when you feel they are past their best!

    Ideas For Pressed Flowers

    There are literally many many craft projects that incorporate pressed flowers, once you have some beautiful specimens. 

    Framed pressed flowers between glass including cosmos and nigella

    Pressed Flower Wall Art

    Pressed flower frames aren't the only way of incorporating flowers into wall art.  Leah also uses her pressed flower to create unique paper embroidery kits that fuse the crafts of flower pressing and hand embroidery.  She photographs her pressed flowers and digitally prints them onto museum quality paper, then embroiders into them.  It's become her signature style that she is recognised for.

    Displaying Pressed Flowers

    Nkuku have the most beautiful gigantic brass picture frames which are perfect for framing a whole collection of pressed flowers!  It's on my list to buy next!

    pressed flower art

    So it's important to take away from this what makes flowers, the easiest flowers to press.  It's not just about choosing the right flowers but picking them at the right time of day, with sharp scissors or secateurs, following best flower pressing practices, understanding their longevity, understanding how to store and preserve them and much more.  With practise your easiest flowers to press might change and your favourites definitely will!  Two of my new favourites pressed flowers since I originally wrote this, are scabiosa heads and poppies.  

    If you would like to give pressed flower art a try, with or without kids, check out our 'Flower Pressing With Kids' guide which will give you lots of size, shape and composition ideas. Plus Leah's own original pressed flower art designed to get your imagination flowing!  

    Dried pressed flower picture of a dog

     

    illustration of lady with pressed flowers in hair holding a card

     

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