Although the practice of flower pressing for species study dates back more than 500 years, it only gained popularity as a hobby in America and Japan during the Victorian era. Fresh flowers were dried in large books, Bibles and between pieces of heavy wood that resembled early flower presses. These dried flowers were used in papermaking, decoupaging and other arts for personal use and home decor. The art of flower pressing has retained popularity, and modern day flower pressers have a plethora of options open to them, one of them being microwave flower presses.
Cut two small pieces of thick cardboard into 6-by-6 inch squares. Use a pair of sharp kitchen scissors and trim the squares if necessary to remove any ragged edges.
Cut several sheets of newspaper into 6-by-6 inch squares. These squares of newspaper should fit between your cardboard squares without any revealed edges, and can be cut slightly smaller to avoid overlapping.
Place two sheets of cut newspaper between your cardboard squares when you are ready to press your flowers. Flowers should be placed between the newspaper sheets and light pressure applied to flatten them slightly.
Circle a rubber band around both pieces of cardboard, about 1 inch above the bottom of the square. Repeat with three more rubber bands, placing another 1 inch below the top of the square, and one on each side, 1 inch from the edge. The flowers should now be trapped between the cardboard and slightly squished.
Dampen the edges of the cardboard very lightly with a sponge or cloth. As the flower press microwaves the water will evaporate, so feel the edges before each set of flowers and wet when necessary. If the cardboard is allowed to dry it runs the risk of catching fire in the microwave.
Microwave flowers on full power for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Let your microwave flower press cool down and remove elastic bands. If flowers are still plump replace rubber bands and repeat until flowers reach the desired state.
Dry leaves along with your flowers for more variety when using them in arts and crafts or home decor projects. Replace newspaper sheets every time you press new flowers.
Repeated microwaving can weaken rubber bands, so make sure and have a few extra on hand in case some snap while drying flowers. Do not use your microwave flower press for longer than two minutes without cool-down intervals. Some thicker flowers may require several minutes to fully dry in the microwave.