Which flower press kits are best?
Dried flowers and leaves make beautiful works of art. Today’s flower press kits have come a long way from placing a flower between the pages of a heavy book and piling weights on top of it to press it flat. The process takes anywhere from several days to several weeks to complete.
Pressed flowers are used as natural, organic artwork and in jewelry, greeting cards, paperweights, crafts, scrapbooks, menus, bookmarks and even candles and decoupage projects. If you’re interested in a kit that dries and presses your flowers within minutes, take a look at the Microfleur 9-Inch Microwave Flower Press, by far the fastest way to dry flowers.
What to know before you buy a flower press kit
How does a flower press kit work?
Flower presses remove the moisture from flowers, leaves and plants by a process that’s a lot like making a sandwich. The flower is placed between sheets of highly absorbent materials like paper or cotton to soak up and wick away the water inside the plant’s flower, leaves and stem.
This absorbent layer is sandwiched between two soft pads that protect the delicate flower from being crushed. These two layers are then placed between firm and flat plates that hold the flower, the absorbent layer and the layer of padding in a neat vertical stack.
The last step is applying constant, sustained pressure by means of strong rubber bands or mechanisms that screw down tightly.
Most flower press kits are square, although a few are rectangular in shape. Smaller flower press kits are 4 x 4-inch squares. They can be easily taken along on nature hikes but can only press items small enough to fit inside the size limits. Expect most flower press kits to be 6 x 6 or 9 x 9 inches. Larger presses are better used at home.
What to look for in a quality flower press kit
Elastic bands: Some flower press kits wrap all the layers of the kit together with large rubber bands. Although these are the simplest and easiest to use, especially for small kids, they have a couple of serious drawbacks. Elastic bands cannot apply much downward pressure because most of the force is distributed laterally, not vertically. You can’t adjust the tension on rubber bands and with repeated use, they become stretched out and no longer perform as well as when they were new. The more elastic bands get used, the saggier they become, thus requiring regular replacement.
Mechanical screws: Better flower presses have sturdy metal or plastic screws or bolts that thread through holes in corners of the top and bottom platens. At one end is a rounded head and the other end is the body of a long threaded screw. The blotter and padding layers are placed between the top and bottom platens, and knobs or wing nuts are screwed onto the threads. The amount of pressure applied to the flower and the inside of the sandwich is regulated by how tightly you screw down the controls. The screws lock in position and stay there until removed.
How much you can expect to spend on flower press kit
Smaller and kid-friendly flower press kits go for $10-$15. Classic presses built for adults and more serious hobbyists cost anywhere from $25-$50. Specialty presses like microwaveables cost $75 or more.
Flower press kit FAQ
What kind of drying time can I expect?
A. It depends on the size and type of flower. Check manufacturers’ instructions for specific recommended drying times.
Do I need to use the blotter paper that comes with my flower press kit?
A. Manufacturers say that’s the only way to get consistently great results, but users will tell you paper towels work well in a pinch.
What will my child learn from drying and pressing flowers?
A. Beyond the nature lessons, your child will learn that good things take time.
What’s the best flower press kit to buy?
Top flower press kit
What you need to know: No more waiting weeks for your flowers to dry with this cleverly designed microwave device that’s the fastest way to dry flowers.
What you’ll love: This 9 x 9-inch press gives you dried flowers in just minutes. Flowers and plants are pressed between two cotton liners, two wool pads and two vented platens. Natural colors are retained by drying with short bursts rather than one extended session, so follow the instructions carefully. The liners are washable and this flower press kit can be used for hundreds of pressings, if properly cared for.
What you should consider: Some flowers lose their scent when microwaved.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top flower press kit for the money
What you need to know: This affordable and educational kit is great for kids 5 and up and anyone new to the craft.
What you’ll love: This is a fun and easy activity for young children. The brightly designed 6 x 6-inch wood press has adjustable knobs and metal threaded bolts with wing nuts. It comes with five pressing papers, four cardboards and instructions.
What you should consider: This flower press kit is best for small projects.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The simple and classic design of this flower press kit is sturdy and small enough to take along on nature hikes.
What you’ll love: This flower press kit has six corrugated ventilators and 10 sheets of blotter paper. The plywood is extra strong and the hook-and-loop straps are held in place by a strong metal buckle. Included is a handy project ideas sheet.
What you should consider: This kit is pricey and has a lot of loose parts to keep track of.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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