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Pressed Vs. Dried Flowers: Which is best?

A beautiful, bright pink daisy like flower that has been pressed, laying on an open note book.

Kate Blott |

Is It Better To Dry Or Press Flowers?

Using either of the two methods outlined above, the flowers dry out as they are pressed. It is down to personal preference, however, there are some sound reasons why ready-dried flowers can give a better result. You may have tried to dry your own flowers before and had poor results, with dull petals and brown stems. To retain the colour, and prevent unsightly browning, it is important to dry flowers quickly. It isn't always possible to do this, depending on the time of the year, or method used, so purchasing ready-dried flowers means this isn't a concern.

You may not wish to have super flat flowers for your project or artwork. When placing pressed flowers on a canvas or board, the finished result will be very flat. Using a dried bloom will allow for some depth and texture. A deep frame will protect the work from dirt and dampness, giving a beautiful display for decades to come. Think about what you're trying to achieve with your flowers and let that guide you as to which kind to choose, and what method to use.

Table of Contents

A collection of pressed flowers arranged on paper
Image by Freepik

Fresh Vs. Dried Flowers - Which Press Better

It's possible to use either fresh or dried flowers for pressing. The finished result will be slightly different, with a ready-dried flower retaining some of its contours and fresh flowers becoming much flatter. Fresh flowers flatten as their natural moisture is wicked away, but a dry flower has already set in its dried state, meaning a completely flattened result isn't achievable. You may wish to read about how flowers are dried to see the differences.

Slightly crumpled dried flowers in cream, orange and deep red.
Image by Freepik

How Long Do Pressed Flowers Last

Pressed flowers can last a very long time. Unlike standard dried flowers that may be exposed to dirt, damp and harsh light, pressed flowers are often kept tucked away inside journals or behind glass. This will extend their lifespan. It's possible to purchase pressed flower artworks from the 19th Century that still look beautiful. As with all dried floral products, the level of care they are given will directly affect how long they last and look their best.

Top Care Tips:

  • Avoid direct sunlight and strong light which can bleach the flowers.
  • Protect your flowers from dampness and humidity, as the dry flowers will try and absorb the moisture, leading to mould growth and the deterioration of the overall structure of the petals, stems, and leaves.
  • For more general care tips, read our article on dried flower care.
A top down view of a selection of pressed flowers in a pine coloured frame, surrounded by more pressed flowers.
Image by Freepik

Benefits of Pressing Dried Flowers

Much of the work is done. The part of flower pressing that takes the longest is the physical pressing that in turn dries the flowers out to preserve them. By pressing an already dried flower, this part is shorter, although remember you will end up with a less flat result. As the florals are already 'set' in a dry form, they will be reluctant to squash completely, thus giving a slightly 3-d result, but it's possible to turn that to your advantage when crafting.

A dried flower can be pre-purchased, removing the need to dry the product yourself. Professionally dried flowers may have a better shape, form, and colour than home-dried florals, thus giving you a better quality end result.

If you choose to buy in dried flowers for your crafting, there is more likely to be a greater choice of flowers, offering you a greater range of colour and shape for your art.

Go on, try it!

Top Ready-Dried Flowers For Pressing

Why not try pressing some dried flowers to see the difference to fresh? We recommend a few that give good results.

Acrolinium and Rodanthe look like daisies and come in either white or pink. Depending on when they were harvested, Acrolinium will either have a yellow or a black centre, whereas Rodanthe are always yellow. Flowers will range from 3-4cm across. These make great embellishments to handmade cards, and also within shadow boxes to hang on the wall.

A top down view of pressed flowers on a green background with a gold plate and airmail envelope underneath
Image by Freepik

The delicate flowers on Statice sinuata have a paper-like quality that presses very well when dried. The stems are quite thick, so it's a good idea to either trim these away or add additional pressure to get a better result.

Helichrysum verstitum are not as spherical as their Helichrysum bracteatum cousins, so they press more easily, either as open flowers or in profile. With their soft finger-like petals, they look as if they've been painted in watercolours! The stems are woody, so will not press easily, therefore we recommend trimming these away to leave the flower.

Celosia's long tendril-like plumes press beautifully and give a wonderful textured finish.

For bold blue colour, delphiniums are perfect! Their flowers dry to a complex ruffle that presses well and will look great as part of your pressed project! These also come in rich pinks, and delicate white colours.

If you would like to add a little scent to your work, lavender also presses quite well. Because it contains essential oils, these don't completely evaporate when the flower is dried, so it retains its perfume and will give under the press. It will require good pressure to achieve the best results, but we think it's worth it!

We hope you have found this inspiring, and equipped you with the knowledge to experiment with pressing some beautiful florals!

Share Your Makes!

Have you created a pressed flower piece you are particularly proud of? Tag us in your post so we can see it and share the love!

A view of a crafting table with a pair of hands laying out pressed flowers on sheets of kitchen paper
Photo by Freepik

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