One would think that picking up a new hobby under such sad circumstances is insane, but I found it a very therapeutic distraction from all the sadness. Yet, when it comes to flower pressing, there's no putting it off... the flowers must be pressed while they are fresh and alive. That leaves a very small window of opportunity.
I've tried to give you a brief "how to" on microwave flower pressing. Yes, I said MICROWAVE. The benefits of the microwave method are 1) time... hours in comparison to the weeks it takes for the old book pressing method and 2) it captures and preserves the petal colors better.
-fresh flowers and foliage
-4 layers of cardboard (I used 2 priority mail boxes cut in half... that might be a federal offense... shhh... don't tell.)
-6 layers printer paper
-2 to 4 thick rubber bands
-Perfect Paper Adhesive Matte (I found it in Michael's Craft store in the same section as the ModPodge)
-Krylon UV Resistant Clear (optional... I found this in the art/paint section)
-cardstock or cold pressed watercolor paper (140 lb)
*Please Note: I am a complete novice when it comes to flower pressing. I'm just sharing what I researched on the web and what worked for me. I have a pretty bad track record with plants. I can say that I have a reliable black thumb... that is, if I so much as look at a plant, it will most definately die under my care :) Enjoy!
Layer the boxes, tissue and printer paper as shown below. The petals will be sandwiched in between.
I like to disassemble the flower for pressing, then reassemble it after they are dried. This helps to ensure that the petals get pressed nice and flat and don't curl in the microwave.
It's a good idea to press the thicker pieces of the flower separately... otherwise they'll cause a space in the press, which will cause the other flatter petals to curl and wilt while "cooking" in the microwave. In the picture below, I was lazy and just put the thick daisy center in a corner away from my petals.
You'll have to experiment with the microwaving. Some flowers dry quicker than others. You'll need to repeat the process (zap, cool, zap, cool) 2 to 4 times until the flowers are completely dry and papery. Most of the petals I did only had to be zapped twice.
Don't peek while the press is still hot! After it cools, carefully undo your press and peel back the paper to see if your flowers are dry. If they're still wet, repeat process.
Here are the adhesives, so you know what to look for in the store.
Now is the fun part! Decide how you want your flowers arranged and start gluing. When it's dry, apply a coat of either the Perfect Paper Adhesive or the Krylon UV Resistant Spray. This will help protect your flower from fading in the sun. You can also have your art framed using a special UV resistant glass.