Friday, March 12, 2010

How to make a Book Press

 You can use something as simple as a phone book to press thin materials fairly well . But if you really want to Save some mementos  by pressing plant leaves and petals try my press below. The fun begins with collecting  in the yard or anywhere you can!
Show kids how to preserve their finds by drying them in a press.
i have made and used lots of presses and some are posted here.
I made a few presses from thin wood, newsprint, VIVA towels and cardboard, but you can also use a dictionary or phone book.
The pressed materials can be used to create sweet note-cards, bookmarks ,etc
Rubber bands keep the pressure on, and layers of paper soak up moisture from petals and leaves.
  • 2 panels of craft plywood (available at craft stores; I used 1/4- by 12- by 12-inch sheets) You may want to down size, a good size is 1/4- by 6- by 12-inch sheets 
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Several large sheets of newsprint or any acid free paper available
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • quilting padding cut same size for thinker materials (optional)
  • 4 thick rubber bands or 2 adjusted belts or  2 velcro straps
  •  cotton material or Untextured paper towels
1.Using one of the wood panels as a template, cut 4 pieces of cardboard and 8 pieces of newsprint to the same size.  
2.Stack the cardboard and newsprint pieces, starting from the bottom and alternating 1 piece of cardboard with 1 Viva, 2  pieces of newsprint, another Viva ,cardboard ,repeat till done. Place the wood panels at the top and bottom of the stack.
3.To create the binding, cut 2 strips of duct tape or contact paper to the same length as the press. Place the first strip along the left side of the stack, half on the cover and half on the spine. Turn over the stack and repeat with the other strip of tape. Pull the bottom piece of cardboard out of the press and discard it (this leaves space for the plant materials; the remaining layers are loosely bound so they can be replaced as needed).
4.To use the press, arrange flowers and leaves -- thin ones work best -- try not to over lap .
between  the layers of newsprint, with only one layer of plant material between each section of cardboard.  That is 1 piece of cardboard with 1 Viva, 1  piece of newsprint , Flowers or plants , 
1 piece of newsprint ,another Viva ,cardboard ,repeat till done. 
5. put in a dry area for about a day or 2 then check the viva if it feels moist at all, replace with dry.
wait about 2 weeks and they should be ready. 
hint to spend this up .Try putting the press in your parked car in spring and summer. It is like a giant dehydrator! some are done in 2 to 3 days!
I have also put the press in my oven with the light Only on over night air dry in day then back at night ! it will dry pansies and thin things in 3 days.

Slide the rubber bands into place (or the belts )and let the press sit  in dry area for 2 weeks. If you need them quicker .put in your car in sun for a few days and check! they will probably be ready !
I hope these instructions are helpful to you and would love to hear if you try it! 
If this sounds too hard Please look for my other presses here .Just look in the labels on left for the word " presses" 
Peace and Happy Pressing! 
Any questions ,leave a comment and i will be glad to try to help more!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing! With spring on the way, I am definitely going to be giving this a try.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Terica. I want to start pressing a few flowers somy grand daughters can make something with them.

  3. Thanks for dropping by and Happy Pressing to you all!
    peace terica


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