Pressing Flowers in the Microwave

Is there anything sweeter than handmade gifts? I love to take the art Aaliyah has made and give it to our loved ones as presents. I knew we had to create something for Mother’s Day, and decided that these pressed flower suncatchers would be perfect! Even better they’re easy to make by pressing flowers in the microwave!

I, of course, decided this with 8 days left before Mother’s Day. Having pressed flowers before I knew that I didn’t have the time to dry and press them the traditional way. Did you know that you can press flowers in the microwave?? Because you can, and this whole project ( 6 for all of our grandmas!) only took us an hour!

Collecting flowers

To collect our flowers we made a quick stop at our favorite garden at grandma’s house. My grandma is the rose growing queen and she has bushes in lots of bright colors. We stopped by on gardening day and picked through what she had already clipped and gathered some additional leaves and blooms.

Aaliyah loves loves loves gardening, and was happy to help collect a bucketful of flowers. When collecting it’s best to do it in the early afternoon so the petals are dry. The flowers are best when they have just bloomed and there’s no browning, but you can pick out the outer layers if the interior petals are still intact. Make sure you shake for bugs too because I brought a couple of tiny bug friends home!

We collected different roses, hydrangeas, casmalias, daisies, lemon leaves, and ferns.

Once home we sat down and separated the petals. The daisies and hydrangeas I left full. We put all of the petals in a cake pan and I made about 4 full cake pans! I have a huge bin of flowers now but know there’s plenty of projects we can do with them.

What you will need

Being that this was my first time microwave pressing, I read lots of tutorials and every one had the phrase “absorbing paper” without really saying what that would be. I tried printing paper, wax paper, parchment paper, finger paint paper, sketchbook paper, and card stock. Seriously every kind of paper in our house went through the microwave. All of these, besides the fingerprint paper worked well. But because I was doing SO many petals, I wanted to know which would hold up the best so that I wasn’t wasting tons of paper. The best was definitely cardstock. If you are only making a small batch of flowers I would printer paper if card stock isn’t available.

I used the cardboard from my flower press, which is just regular cardboard, and a few rubber bands. You’ll need to have a container ready to place your flowers in when dried.

Pressing flowers

Layer your press cardboard, paper, flowers, paper. Make sure your petals aren’t touching each other! I started doing 7 layers but cut down to two bundles of 3. Wrap the whole press with 3-4 rubber bands. I bought these from the dollar store and only had 2 snap, so you can keep reusing them for all your flowers.

The flowers were microwaved in 45 second intervals, and would alternate between the two bundles. I would suggest starting out at 30 seconds and seeing how your flowers do in your microwave, the tutorials I read said 1 minute but that burnt all my petals.Your cardboard will get really hot so be careful removing it from he microwave. If you’re only doing one bundle, let it cool before putting it back in. I just kept going back and swapping them out while doing cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming. This is of course the most time consuming part but you don’t need to constantly swap out the bundles! I just did it whenever I remembered or when the beeping drove me crazy. Just don’t leave it in there all day like I do when I heat up my coffee ?

You will know when they are dry enough when they fall off the page. You want them to feel a little crispy, they will feel very smooth, but don’t want to overcook them or they will brown. This process is great because it dries them so quickly, a lot of the color stays versus the results of a traditional press. I did start putting these in a book for safe keeping (like in the photo above) but realized they would be much safer and much less forgotten in the plastic container!

So easy right?! Read part two to see how we turned these pressed flowers into suncatchers for Mother’s Day!

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