It seems that no matter what you do, each microwave you own in your lifetime is a bit different, so I hope you know your oven well enough to adjust times for different temperatures. I'm going to assume for reference that you are using a microwave that is between 500-700 watts. You may have to adjust the time up or down depending upon your own oven's power.
Things You'll Need:
- A microwave
- Two pieces of hardboard (about 8 x 10" should work in almost any microwave - it has to turn comfortably without catching)
- Some elastic bands, about 1/4-1/2" wide
- Blotting paper, cut just slightly smaller than your hardboard (7 1/2 x 9 1/2 should work if your boards are 8 x 10.
I am going to show you how to make a single microwave press, and with that being said, let me add that there's no way I would only make one because they take so long to cool. You may need two, or three, or more, depending on how many flowers you intend to press. In the ingredients list, you'll see elastic bands; I suggest you always have a lot of them on hand because the heat of the microwave weakens them and they tend to pop. Also, have a lot of blotting paper on hand, because it sometimes gets wetter than you like and gets damaged. If you reuse the blotting paper, it can even just wear out eventually.
Place your flowers on top of one piece of the hardboard covered with two or three sheets of blotting paper. Spread the flowers out so that they don't overlap each other.
Next, cover the flowers with another two or three sheets of blotting paper and put the second piece of hardboard on top of them.
Using the elastic bands, hold the whole press together. Put enough bands on it so that the press is held firmly shut. Criss-crossing the bands will help by creating pressure so that the flowers will come out completely flat.
You have your press now, so put the whole thing in the microwave, set it to medium temperature and cook for about two minutes (remember, only you know your microwave). When you remove it, it will be hot - DON'T OPEN IT TO LOOK INSIDE! Put it under some heavy books and leave it there...go take a nap or go for a walk. It won't be cooled down enough for about 30 minutes.
After it has cooled, open it up and VERY gently move the flowers to see if they are completely dry. A flower must be COMPLETELY dry or they will discolor. You don't want limp flowers either. If there's any doubt in your mind, wrap the press up and stick it back in the microwave for another two minutes. Then, go take ANOTHER nap!
Tips & Warnings
- Don't crowd the flowers on the press.
- Flowers that aren't completely dry are no good.
- Make enough presses so that you can rotate them if you intend to press a lot.
- When your press comes out of the microwave, it WILL be hot, so handle it carefully.
- If you are trying to dry orchids, you'll probably want to start with 5-6 minutes in the microwave.
- Always use your microwave on medium heat to keep from burning the boards.
- If a flower is not completely cooled, it's hard to detect if there's any dampness left, so be patient!
You will find a lot of places to use your freshly-pressed flowers, such as:
- Botanical Lamp Shades
- Decorate Candles
- Decorate Bags and Boxes
- Decorative Mirrors
- Decorative Pressed Flower Pots
- Fan Pulls
- Flower Stickers
- Framed Pressed Flower Art
- Framed Botanical Art
- Gift Tags
- Greeting Cards
- Herbarium Collections
- Journal Covers and Pages
- Mats And Frames
- Memory Book Covers and Pages
- Night Lights
- Note Cards
- Ornaments With Pressed Flowers
- Place Cards
- Place Mats
- Press Flowers from Special Occasions
- Pressed Flower Jewelry
- Pressed Flower Luminaries
- Rubber Projects
- Sun Catchers
- Wedding Invitations