Steps to take…
Pick flowers from your garden or gather wildflowers from a field. Shop-bought flowers may also be pressed if you wish to select a certain type of flower that doesn’t grow in your region. Ferns and other leaves can also be preserved by pressing them, and they add a natural, wild element to the finished piece you’ll create with your dried flowers. (Flowers with naturally flat faces such as daises, violets and geraniums are easier to press than flowers with conical faces like tulips and roses you can however, press rose, or tulip petals individually so don’t dismiss conical flowers completely).
Collect your plants when they are dry, but preferably before the heat of the day has wilted them. Usually you only want the flower, not the stem, but you will want to gather some foliage. Some roots systems are neat and useful.
Flatten the flowers. Remove the petals from a thick centre core. Press some foliage at the same time as it can be nice to use in a display. Press flat with fingers if necessary.
Completely remove the wingnuts and the backboard from your press and put them somewhere you wont loose them. Arrange flowers on the piece of flower press paper. Lay the flowers flat on the top sheet of paper., leaving ample space between them so they are able to thoroughly dry, place the cardboard on top and repeat with the next flowers or leaves.
To press flowers with a conical shape, cut them in half lengthwise, or press individual petals. Without disturbing the arrangement add a second sheet of paper. Add the second piece of cardboard to the stack. Add the remaining paper and cardboard layers.
Press the flowers. Fit the top piece of the flower press over the screws, and gently lower it onto the cardboard piece. Use the wingnuts to tighten the flower press. Store the pressing flowers in a dry place in your house.
You must change the sheets of the paper as they will have absorbed some moisture from the flowers. Changing damp sheets prevents the flowers from turning brown.
Remove the flowers from the press. After a few weeks the flowers will be completely dry and flat Gently open the layers of paper and lift them using your fingers and place them on acid free paper (most paper is acid free these days).
You are then free to use your beautiful pressed flowers in craft projects or as a display!
The following plants, flowers, herbs and grasses work well and retain brilliant colours: Fennel, Catnip, Thyme, Dill, Larkspur, Coral Bells, Queen Anne’s Lace, Butterfly Weed, Hydrangea, Cosmos, Buttercups, Yellow sour Clover flowers, Crocus (Saffron-Orange Centers) and Wax Plant flowers.
WARNING: Be aware of the flowers you are picking! Never collect your flowers from private gardens or parks without permission and be aware of native wildflowers as they may be endangered or threatened and some are protected by law in many countries and you can be fined for picking them!