Introduction: Pocket Flower Press

Picture of Pocket Flower Press

Have you ever been out for a stroll and found some pretty flowers that you want to preserve only to find that by the time you arrive home they are crushed, wilted, and no longer good for pressing. Well suffer no more with this handy pocket-sized flower press, now you can press flowers on the go!

Step 1: What You Need:

Picture of What You Need:

  • Plywood
  • Thin corrugated cardboard
  • Paper (blotting paper/ newsprint/ tissue paper, etc)
  • Nylon strap with a metal loop
  • Velcro

  • Wood cutting and sanding tools (I used a Dremel)
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Glue (that white non-toxic stuff)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Step 2: Preparing the Wood

Picture of Preparing the Wood
This flower press has an outer layer of wood sandwiching alternating layers of corrugated cardboard and paper. The plywood I used came from a lid from a dollar store jewelry box (the other part, I used for a previous project).

  • Cut the plywood into two equal sized pieces, about 9cm X 6cm.
  • Sand the corners so that they are rounded.
  • Sand the edges of the wood so that they are smooth.

Step 3: Preparing Cardboard and Paper

Picture of Preparing Cardboard and Paper
Corrugated cardboard is recommended for pressing flowers since it allows for more air flow, improving drying, on the downside it can leave lines on the flowers from the cardboard ridges. I've used corrugated for my press, but try it and see how it works for you.

  • Cut six pieces of cardboard, 9cm X 6cm (the same size as the plywood in step 2).
  • Trim the corners so that they are rounded.

For my press, I just use regular white recycled paper that I use in my printer, but you can use other types too, for example: newsprint, tissue paper, blotting paper, etc. (Avoid using paper with ink on it, like newspaper, it may rub off on the flowers, also avoid paper towels since they can leave impressions on the flowers).

  • Cut five pieces of 9cmX12cm paper.
  • Fold in half (so they become the same size as the cardboard).
  • Trim the corners so that they are rounded.

Step 4: Layers

Picture of Layers

Each layer of paper should have cardboard on either side and the folds should open on the same side. There should be a layer of cardboard at each end next to the plywood. So you should have:

This will give you five spots to place you flowers/leaves. You can add more or less paper/cardboard if you want the flower press thicker or thinner (how big are your pockets?)

Step 5: Nylon Strap

Picture of Nylon Strap
Many models of flower presses use bolts and wing nuts on each corner, to press the two pieces of wood together, this works great, but it is not something that you could comfortably stuff into your pocket. Instead, this flower press uses a nylon strap that you can sinch tight.

  • Sew one end of the nylon strap around the metal loop.
  • Mark on the strap where the velcro(loops) should be and sew in place.
  • Find placement of the other velcro piece(hooks) and sew in place.
  • Cut off excess nylon, leaving about 2cm from the end of the velcro.
  • With a flame singe the end of the nylon to prevent fraying, fold over and sew in place.

(see images below)

Step 6: Finishing Up

Picture of Finishing Up
Gluing the nylon strap onto the press

  • Place the end of the strap with the metal hoop about halfway up the side of the wood.
  • Glue in place.
  • Wrap the nylon strap around and glue in place on the other side. (All of the layers of cardboard and paper should be in the press to ensure the correct thickness).
  • Wait for the glue to dry before you use (I waited until the next day.)

-Feel free to decorate however you like with paint, sharpies, pyrography, glue pressed flowers on, etc.

-Add a small pencil and bring along a plant guide if you are a budding naturalist,so you can write down the name an location of your specimens.

Step 7: Pressing Flowers

Picture of Pressing Flowers
  • For best results pick the flower/leaf you wish to press in the morning.
  • Make sure it is dry, no raindrops or dew on it (or little bugs).
  • Place the fresh flower or leaf in a fold of paper.
  • If you like you can jot down on the paper it's name and the location it was found.
  • Close press and sinch nylon strap as tight as you can.
  • You can leave it in the press, or transfer the fold of paper to a phone book when you get home.
  • It takes about a week to dry, but it can vary.
  • Replace paper as needed.

Be careful when picking wildflowers, there are some restrictions around picking plants in national parks as well as plants that are endangered.


carterburwell (author)2010-07-26

i can't get over how adorable this is! you have quite a talent.

ChrysN (author)carterburwell2010-07-26


1arrow24 (author)2010-01-04

Nice! One of those things you just wish you had when feeling like a little natuaralism on a walk- great for a pocket, up there with a hand lens and jars!

handprints (author)2009-11-14

This is perfect!  I built an herbarium press for my daughter (to be published).  She's doing a science research project.  The press is 11 in x 16 in, about the standard size of herbarium vouchers.  We went on a loooong hike to find a special tree fern (with a permit of course).   She carried the press in her backpack and I carried the collecting tools and water.   Poor girl... the press alone weighed almost 7 or 8 lbs!  add the fern specimens (The fronds are can be 6-8 ft long and over 3 ft wide) and after 5 hours...I was dead tired.  I can only imagine that she must have felt like a burro.  What a trooper!  I was considering making a lighter, smaller press for future collecting trips and then bringing the plants home and putting them in the big press to dry.  I like your design a lot!!!

handprints (author)handprints2009-11-15

Hey Chrys,
What do you think about connecting the corrugated pieces with duct tape so it could fold up accordion style and then tucking your folded papers into each of the grooves.  Or even connecting your top and bottom boards to the corrogute?

One of our problems with the press was that the corrogated pieces and the papers kept moving around alot..  Especially when I was trying to strap those babies in.

I think I'm going to try it as soon as I figure out my dimensions and collect enough cardboard.

I REALLY like you design!  Oh, did I say that already??

ChrysN (author)handprints2009-11-15

The duct tape is a great idea, I had that problem too with the pieces moving around, taping them will definitely help.

ChrysN (author)handprints2009-11-14

Thanks, I'd love to see the press you made.

handprints (author)ChrysN2009-11-15

posted...nowhere near as nice as yours!

tonictina (author)2009-07-28

this is going to be my next project. thx for the instructable! excellent idea!

ChrysN (author)tonictina2009-07-28


Miscelinious (author)2009-07-16

This is great! I've always been going on walks and looking at the flowers thinking how pretty they are... Especially when I've been at camp with nothing to press flowers with, not even a book. :( Thank you for the idea!

mastermaker (author)2009-07-09

hey this is a really good idea,im thinking of using some sort of really fancey wood and polishing it too, i love to make gifts for my mom, grandmothers and my sister so i usually need to press and dry flowers a lot!

ChrysN (author)mastermaker2009-07-09


MrBrownThumb (author)2009-07-06

Really cool.

ChrysN (author)MrBrownThumb2009-07-06


loximuthal (author)2009-07-01

It looks like you glue the strap to both pieces of wood. Doesn't that interfere with the covers pressing equally all around when you cinch up the strap? I would think that you'd end up only squeezing the "open" side.

ChrysN (author)loximuthal2009-07-01

Yes,that's true it would give uneven pressure. When you open the flower press, there are a lot of loose pieces, so I thought by gluing the the strap to both pieces of wood, it would be a bit more held together.

loximuthal (author)ChrysN2009-07-01

I plan to make one for my daughter's birthday. I might try gluing a loop of strap to the other cover and run the main strap through it. That way the two covers will stay together, but still be able to give even (-ish?) pressure.

ChrysN (author)loximuthal2009-07-01

That sounds like a great idea.

loximuthal (author)ChrysN2009-07-06

Here is my build. Two changes: loop on the back I mention above and strap is $ store dog collar (bonus reflective threads!) My daughter will decorate it when she gets it for her b-day.

ChrysN (author)loximuthal2009-07-06

That looks great, I'm sure your daughter will have fun decorating it!

Ninzerbean (author)2009-07-03

Ooooooooh I love this, thank you.

omnibot (author)2009-07-02

I'm loving this one.

carterburwell (author)2009-07-01

soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo COOL!!

ChrysN (author)carterburwell2009-07-01


snideprime (author)2009-07-01

I think you could use a couple big binder clips to hold it together. Just flip the handle parts to lie along the plywood, and it'll still fit in your pocket.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
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