How to Use the Terracotta Microwave Flower Press
The thermal properties and V-shaped vapor holes of the ceramic tiles allow flowers to dry evenly. In addition to your press, you will need:
- blunt tweezers
- sharp scissors
- oven mitts or potholders
Important tips and safety information
- Make sure the inside of the microwave oven is clean so heat is evenly distributed.
- Press similar blooms or plant materials (i.e. similar sizes and thicknesses) at the same time for the most consistent drying results.
- Make sure your fingers, plant materials, and all flower press parts are dry to prevent scorching. No wet fingers!
- The tiles will become very hot with repeated use. Wear oven mitts or use potholders when removing the flower press from the microwave.
How it Works
Microwave flower pressing forces moisture from the plant material through the absorbent pads and out of the terra cotta tiles. The tiles hold the plant materials in place and help to moderate the drying so that flowers or plants won't dry too fast and shrivel.
Drying times will vary. Not all microwave ovens heat at the same rate and moisture content can vary from plant to plant. Generally, small flowers dry faster than large ones. Take time to practice and record the drying times of various flowers, leaves, ferns, or herbs. And be sure to gather extra plant materials to sacrifice in tests in the beginning.
Collecting Fresh Plant Materials
- Use plant materials that are at their peak in both color and bloom. Some flowers collected after their peak will lose petals during the drying process.
- Do not use diseased or injured flower petals, stems or leaves.
- Harvest fresh plant materials in late morning on a sunny day, when they're likely to be dry.
- If fresh-grown flowers are not available or you'd like to press an exotic variety, try using fresh flowers from a florist.
Layering the Press
- Lay all parts of the press on a flat surface.
- Place an absorbent pad on top of the bottom tile (the bottom tile has platform feet), followed by a cotton liner.
- Spread flowers or other plant materials over the surface of the cotton liner. Arrange the flowers, adjusting flower heads, stems, or leaves. Use tweezers to carefully remove unwanted creases or folds. Do not allow any of the flowers to overlap or extend outside the edges of the tile.
- For best results, press only a few flowers at a time. Cover the flowers with the second cotton liner and follow with the second absorbent pad. Lay the remaining tile on top.
Drying in the Microwave
- Heat for 30 seconds on medium heat. Too much heat for too long can result in blistering or burning the plant materials or absorbent pads. Use oven mitts to carefully open the press and look to see if the flower is fully dried. It's dry when it looks thin (rice paper texture) and the colors have darkened slightly.
- If the flower looks limp, replace the terracotta cover and put the press in the microwave for 30 seconds more on medium heat. Depending on the variety of the flower, you may need to return the press to the microwave several times before the flower dries completely. For example, it can take 2 minutes to dry Johnny jump-ups (60 seconds + 30 seconds + 30 seconds = 2 minutes).
- Don't attempt to remove the flowers from the press until they are completely cooled. When cool, free the flowers from the cloth. (If they crack, they were dried too long.)
Note: Flowers will often stain the cotton liner, but the stain will not transfer to new flower pressings. Replacement pads and liners are available on our web site.
- Experiment with the position of the plant materials. Try arranging the flowers with different profiles.
- Use blunt tweezers to remove creases or folds in delicate petals.
- Use sharp scissors to trim off lumpy backs of flowers for a flatter flower or to cut blocky stems in half.
- Gently tap flowers to remove excess pollen or cut off a pollen-filled stamen with sharp scissors.
Using Dried Flowers
- Use regular white glue, latex adhesive, or a permanent glue stick to affix pressed flowers and plants to a variety of crafts and projects, including greeting cards, picture frames, wedding invitations, candles, memorial albums, paintings and pottery.
- Place a small amount of glue on an old plate or plastic dish. Hold the dried flower with tweezers and use a fine brush to apply glue to the back of the flower. Wipe excess glue off the flower or plant, then stick the flower to paper, wood or another surface. If you're using a glue stick, rub the stick on paper or other material that you are using, then gently place the flower onto the sticky surface.
We hope you enjoy drying flowers with your Terracotta Microwave Flower Press for many years to come.
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