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How to Make a Flower Press

Updated on June 15, 2013

Build a simple press for drying flowers

In June 2010 I stood up in a wedding and the bride asked if there was anything I could do with the flowers. I took them home and immediately had the idea to build a flower press.

I've previously used the Crayola Big Yellow Box microwave flower press to dry flowers, but had never worked with something as large or thick as gerbera daisies. I searched the web for directions and eventually came up with my own design.

This flower press took me only about two hours to build, even as I tried to find suitable scrap wood and bolts that would work together, and work my way through the design with trial and error.

Turns out, it works great! And, I'm building more as gifts. Learn how to make your own flower press to use to save memories and make crafts. While they'll need adult help for the press building, kids will love selecting flowers to press and save.

Yes! Repin me!

Materials List

Having everything available up front will make your project run smoothly.

  1. 3/4" or 1" thick solid wood. Try plywood or boards, no OSB or pressboard. You'll want two pieces that are at least 10"x10", and no longer than 20". (If you want a press for longer flowers, be sure to get 2-4 additional hardware sets to fit on the sides so the flowers press evenly.)
  2. Table saw
  3. Sandpaper and block
  4. Electric drill (cordless is fine).
  5. Drill bits to fit the diameter of your hardware, and 1-2/8" larger (see below for more info on this)
  6. Four sets of hardware (described below). You'll need four hex bolts, four nylon (nyloc) nuts, four wing nuts, and 12 washers total.
  7. Several layers of corrugated cardboard cut to fit the press.
  8. Several layers of felt cut to fit the press (try sheets sold in the kids' craft section or buy several yards off a bolt at a fabric store).
  9. White, undyed tissue paper cut to fit the press. Look for cheap stuff at a party supply or dollar store.
  10. A socket wrench that fits your bolt end.
  11. A combination wrench to fit your bolt end.
  12. A Sharpie marker or craft paint and brushes.

The Flowers I Used

The Flowers I Used
The Flowers I Used

Selecting your Hardware

To build my first flower press I used 3" bolts that are 1/4" in diameter and have a #20 thread. (Don't worry if you don't know what that means. All you really need to know is that all the parts fit together.) I selected a nylon insert nut, three washers, and a wing nut that dry fit the bolt. You'll need four sets of this hardware to make one flower press.

When I built the first flower press, I accounted for 1 1/2" of space for the two boards (3/4" thick each) and over an inch for the pressed flowers in the middle. As it turns out, I didn't need all three inches of bolt length, so when after making this first press, I found 2 1/2" - 1/4" - #20 hardware at Menards for 1/4th the price, I grabbed it up. I'm making more of these for Christmas presents. Shhh, don't tell!

If you'd like to match the hardware I used, here are links to photos that will help you find bulk parts at your hardware store.

Building the Press - Cutting the boards and measuring the bolts

Click thumbnail to view full-size
First I picked a piece of scrap wood that's approximately 24" long, 10" wide, and 3/4" thick.I used a table saw to cut the board exactly in half, so the two rectangles fit on top of each other.  It doesn't matter if they're cut perfectly or banged up a bit.  As long as they're solid wood (no OSB or particle board) and at least 3/4" thick.For each corner of the press you'll need a set of hardware.  Shown, from left to right are three washers, a nylon threaded nut (tiny piece above the right washer), a wing nut, and a 3" hex bolt.Check the description above for more details on selectIf you use slightly different diameter hardware, make sure all your other parts dry fit it properly.  You can also check bolt diameter with a drill bit guide.Using the drill bit guide I selected a drill bit that is exactly the size of the bolt.  You'll also want a drill bit that is 1-2/8th" larger than your bolt hardware.  So if your bolt is 1/4", you'll want a drillbit that's 1/4" and one that's  3/8" or
First I picked a piece of scrap wood that's approximately 24" long, 10" wide, and 3/4" thick.
First I picked a piece of scrap wood that's approximately 24" long, 10" wide, and 3/4" thick.
I used a table saw to cut the board exactly in half, so the two rectangles fit on top of each other.  It doesn't matter if they're cut perfectly or banged up a bit.  As long as they're solid wood (no OSB or particle board) and at least 3/4" thick.
I used a table saw to cut the board exactly in half, so the two rectangles fit on top of each other. It doesn't matter if they're cut perfectly or banged up a bit. As long as they're solid wood (no OSB or particle board) and at least 3/4" thick.
For each corner of the press you'll need a set of hardware.  Shown, from left to right are three washers, a nylon threaded nut (tiny piece above the right washer), a wing nut, and a 3" hex bolt.Check the description above for more details on select
For each corner of the press you'll need a set of hardware. Shown, from left to right are three washers, a nylon threaded nut (tiny piece above the right washer), a wing nut, and a 3" hex bolt. Check the description above for more details on select
If you use slightly different diameter hardware, make sure all your other parts dry fit it properly.  You can also check bolt diameter with a drill bit guide.
If you use slightly different diameter hardware, make sure all your other parts dry fit it properly. You can also check bolt diameter with a drill bit guide.
Using the drill bit guide I selected a drill bit that is exactly the size of the bolt.  You'll also want a drill bit that is 1-2/8th" larger than your bolt hardware.  So if your bolt is 1/4", you'll want a drillbit that's 1/4" and one that's  3/8" or
Using the drill bit guide I selected a drill bit that is exactly the size of the bolt. You'll also want a drill bit that is 1-2/8th" larger than your bolt hardware. So if your bolt is 1/4", you'll want a drillbit that's 1/4" and one that's 3/8" or

Drill your Bolt Holes

To drill your bolt holes, first stack the two wood pieces so they're even around the edges. They don't have to be perfect, just close. Clamp them together or clamp them to your workbench with each corner that you're drilling hanging off the edge.

To mark the holes for the bolts, measure one inch in and over from each corner. The image above demonstrates this.

When you're drilling the holes, first drill the 1/4" holes (or whichever size your bolts are). Make sure to hold your drill perfectly perpendicular to the boards so each hole goes straight up and down through the boards. If you have a drill press handy, that's the best way to ensure perfectly straight holes.

Once you've drilled the first hole, mark each piece of wood so you can match them up again later in exactly the same way. This will be important since unless everything is exactly square, the boards and holes may only fit together in one way. Take the top board off and drill through the existing holes with the larger drill bit. This will give you some wiggle room for placing the top board. You'll see why wiggle room is important after you place the bolts and replace the top board.

Before you release the clamps, you may want to use a marker or colored paint to mark the corners of the boards. This will help you line up the boards later, after you've placed the hardware. .

Inserting the Hardware

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Stack the two boards so your bottom piece with the smaller holes is on the bottom and the top piece with the larger bolt holes is on the top.  Make sure the boards are stacked and rotated properly so the hardware will slide through the holes and fit.Place a washer on the top side of the bottom board around the bolt, and use the combination and socket wrenches to crank down the nylon nut all the way to the bottom where it meets the washer.  When you're done, you'll see in layers, from the bottom Place the hardware on the other three corners of the bottom board.Here you can see the top board being dry fitted onto the protruding hardware.  Here you'll see why it's important to drill the holes perfectly perpendicular.  If a hole is slightly angled, this doesn't matter much when the two boards are touching. BuThis shows the dry fit up close.The rest of the hardware will be placed after the flowers have been stacked.  The top board will be placed, then the washer on each bolt end, then the wing nuts.  The washers displace energy and pressure from the small hardware and keep the nuts and Finally, the wing nut goes over the washer and is tightened to put pressure on the top board and squeeze the two together.  When you get to this step, you'll want to make sure you tighten each wing nut evenly.  Do two wing nuts diagonally to each oth
Stack the two boards so your bottom piece with the smaller holes is on the bottom and the top piece with the larger bolt holes is on the top.  Make sure the boards are stacked and rotated properly so the hardware will slide through the holes and fit.
Stack the two boards so your bottom piece with the smaller holes is on the bottom and the top piece with the larger bolt holes is on the top. Make sure the boards are stacked and rotated properly so the hardware will slide through the holes and fit.
Place a washer on the top side of the bottom board around the bolt, and use the combination and socket wrenches to crank down the nylon nut all the way to the bottom where it meets the washer.  When you're done, you'll see in layers, from the bottom
Place a washer on the top side of the bottom board around the bolt, and use the combination and socket wrenches to crank down the nylon nut all the way to the bottom where it meets the washer. When you're done, you'll see in layers, from the bottom
Place the hardware on the other three corners of the bottom board.
Place the hardware on the other three corners of the bottom board.
Here you can see the top board being dry fitted onto the protruding hardware.  Here you'll see why it's important to drill the holes perfectly perpendicular.  If a hole is slightly angled, this doesn't matter much when the two boards are touching. Bu
Here you can see the top board being dry fitted onto the protruding hardware. Here you'll see why it's important to drill the holes perfectly perpendicular. If a hole is slightly angled, this doesn't matter much when the two boards are touching. Bu
This shows the dry fit up close.
This shows the dry fit up close.
The rest of the hardware will be placed after the flowers have been stacked.  The top board will be placed, then the washer on each bolt end, then the wing nuts.  The washers displace energy and pressure from the small hardware and keep the nuts and
The rest of the hardware will be placed after the flowers have been stacked. The top board will be placed, then the washer on each bolt end, then the wing nuts. The washers displace energy and pressure from the small hardware and keep the nuts and
Finally, the wing nut goes over the washer and is tightened to put pressure on the top board and squeeze the two together.  When you get to this step, you'll want to make sure you tighten each wing nut evenly.  Do two wing nuts diagonally to each oth
Finally, the wing nut goes over the washer and is tightened to put pressure on the top board and squeeze the two together. When you get to this step, you'll want to make sure you tighten each wing nut evenly. Do two wing nuts diagonally to each oth

Cutting the Cardboard, Felt, and Tissue Paper

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here I've shown the cardboard cut to fit the bottom of the press.  The cardboard I used was already smaller than the press, but there's no reason you can't make it the exact dimensions of the press.  Remember to use corrugated cardboard, like what laHere you can see that notches have been cut out of the corners of the cardboard so it fits around the hardware of the press.Here you can see that notches have been cut out of the corners of the cardboard so it fits around the hardware of the press.Here is a piece of felt cut to fit the press.Corners were also cut out of the felt to fit the hardware of the press.Corners were also cut out of the felt to fit the hardware of the press.Finally, white, undyed tissue paper was cut to fit the press.
Here I've shown the cardboard cut to fit the bottom of the press.  The cardboard I used was already smaller than the press, but there's no reason you can't make it the exact dimensions of the press.  Remember to use corrugated cardboard, like what la
Here I've shown the cardboard cut to fit the bottom of the press. The cardboard I used was already smaller than the press, but there's no reason you can't make it the exact dimensions of the press. Remember to use corrugated cardboard, like what la
Here you can see that notches have been cut out of the corners of the cardboard so it fits around the hardware of the press.
Here you can see that notches have been cut out of the corners of the cardboard so it fits around the hardware of the press.
Here you can see that notches have been cut out of the corners of the cardboard so it fits around the hardware of the press.
Here you can see that notches have been cut out of the corners of the cardboard so it fits around the hardware of the press.
Here is a piece of felt cut to fit the press.
Here is a piece of felt cut to fit the press.
Corners were also cut out of the felt to fit the hardware of the press.
Corners were also cut out of the felt to fit the hardware of the press.
Corners were also cut out of the felt to fit the hardware of the press.
Corners were also cut out of the felt to fit the hardware of the press.
Finally, white, undyed tissue paper was cut to fit the press.
Finally, white, undyed tissue paper was cut to fit the press.

Layering your Flowers

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Start by layering the bottom of the press with one piece of cardboard.Next add one piece of felt.I use two pieces of tissue paper on either side of the flowers.  This soaks up plant material and keeps felt fuzzies from attaching to the flowers.  Since I'm pressing gerbera daisies and they're pretty thick, I've placed them face down. Top this layHere is a second layer of flowers I've laid out.And a third layer of flowers.After each layer, press down gently on the cardboard to squish the flowers.It won't take long for a few layers to build up to 3-4" high.  Press down on the layers and gently place the top board.
Start by layering the bottom of the press with one piece of cardboard.
Start by layering the bottom of the press with one piece of cardboard.
Next add one piece of felt.
Next add one piece of felt.
I use two pieces of tissue paper on either side of the flowers.  This soaks up plant material and keeps felt fuzzies from attaching to the flowers.  Since I'm pressing gerbera daisies and they're pretty thick, I've placed them face down. Top this lay
I use two pieces of tissue paper on either side of the flowers. This soaks up plant material and keeps felt fuzzies from attaching to the flowers. Since I'm pressing gerbera daisies and they're pretty thick, I've placed them face down. Top this lay
Here is a second layer of flowers I've laid out.
Here is a second layer of flowers I've laid out.
And a third layer of flowers.
And a third layer of flowers.
After each layer, press down gently on the cardboard to squish the flowers.
After each layer, press down gently on the cardboard to squish the flowers.
It won't take long for a few layers to build up to 3-4" high.  Press down on the layers and gently place the top board.
It won't take long for a few layers to build up to 3-4" high. Press down on the layers and gently place the top board.

Placing the Top Board and Pressing

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here you can see several layers of cardboard, felt, tissue paper, and flowers.Here you can see the top board has been placed and tightened using the washers and wing nuts.  You'll want to make sure you tighten each wing nut evenly. Do two wing nuts diagonally to each other for a few turns, then the other two. You can use a wreHere you can see the top board has been placed and tightened using the washers and wing nuts.  You'll want to make sure you tighten each wing nut evenly. Do two wing nuts diagonally to each other for a few turns, then the other two. You can use a wreThis shows the washer and wing nut placed while the press is still full and thick.This shows the press after it's been tightened.
Here you can see several layers of cardboard, felt, tissue paper, and flowers.
Here you can see several layers of cardboard, felt, tissue paper, and flowers.
Here you can see the top board has been placed and tightened using the washers and wing nuts.  You'll want to make sure you tighten each wing nut evenly. Do two wing nuts diagonally to each other for a few turns, then the other two. You can use a wre
Here you can see the top board has been placed and tightened using the washers and wing nuts. You'll want to make sure you tighten each wing nut evenly. Do two wing nuts diagonally to each other for a few turns, then the other two. You can use a wre
Here you can see the top board has been placed and tightened using the washers and wing nuts.  You'll want to make sure you tighten each wing nut evenly. Do two wing nuts diagonally to each other for a few turns, then the other two. You can use a wre
Here you can see the top board has been placed and tightened using the washers and wing nuts. You'll want to make sure you tighten each wing nut evenly. Do two wing nuts diagonally to each other for a few turns, then the other two. You can use a wre
This shows the washer and wing nut placed while the press is still full and thick.
This shows the washer and wing nut placed while the press is still full and thick.
This shows the press after it's been tightened.
This shows the press after it's been tightened.

A Beautiful Leftover Arrangement

A Beautiful Leftover Arrangement
A Beautiful Leftover Arrangement

Now what?

Once you've set your flowers to press, place them in a dark and dry area. Check them every day to tighten the press, remembering to tighten the wing nuts evenly. I left mine for three weeks before opening it to check on the flowers. You can see a picture of the results below.

After three weeks, carefully change the tissue paper and put everything back in order. Press for one more week for thin flowers such as pansies, and up to three more weeks for thicker flowers.

When you're done, carefully remove all the layers, peel the tissue paper off the flowers, and set them out to dry for a day or two. You're done! Now they're ready to be used in craft and display projects.

Flowers after three weeks

Flowers after three weeks
Flowers after three weeks

I'm on Pinterest!

Repin me and find other cool crafts.

Build Your own Flower Press

Build Your own Flower Press
Build Your own Flower Press

Did you try it? Let me know how it went, or just say hi!

How did your flowers turn out?

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    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 2 years ago from Chicago Region

      I like how the pressed flowers in your picture also took on the texture of the paper you used!

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

      I've used flower presses before, but never built my own. Thanks for the easy to follow instructions. I just may attempt this.

    • WeeCatCreations1 profile image

      Susan Caplan McCarthy 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I've never had the nerve to try to construct a flower press. You make this project seem very doable.

    • mamabrat lm profile image

      mamabrat lm 4 years ago

      This is a little above my skill level, but is a great lens.

    • RadaFrancis LM profile image

      RadaFrancis LM 5 years ago

      wow, thanks for a detailed explanation. Great job!

    • profile image

      garip1 5 years ago

      its very nice

    • ghaelendlareh profile image

      ghaelendlareh 5 years ago

      Very nice lens. I will have to try this. Linked to it, thanks!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

      Another Beautifully done tutorial. Blessed!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      I was doing that a lot when still in grade school. The pressed flowers look beautiful and they last and last. Great lens and instructions. Blessed! :)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      This is really awesome! Now I really want to make my own flower press. In the past, I have simply used heavy books, like the old hardback dictionary. LOL Angel Blessed, not only because it is awesome, but because to I wanted to be able to feature this lens on "Squid Angel Mouse Tracks in Crafts"

    • RobininColorado profile image

      RobininColorado 7 years ago

      I think I need to press some flowers! This looks so fun! Thank you!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      I have only pressed flowers between books - and it never works quite right. Now I know why. This is a wonderful tutorial, and it will make a great family project. I have featured it today on facebook. Please stop by and see it at: Homeschool Fun for Tweens and Teens.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Wow, I love this idea, lens! We have beautiful flowers to press around here. Thanks for the demo!

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 7 years ago from USA

      This is excellent. Beautiful tutorial.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      I have always wanted to learn how to do this! Thanks for the super instructions!