One of the most important ways to keep colors of flowers bright and original is to dry as quickly as possible. Picking flowers on a warm, sunny day is the first step. Flowers must be dry of all dew when picked. Next, the medium used to press and dry the flowers is important. I have found that using a microwave press not only speeds the drying process, but preserves the bright color as well. Do keep in mind that some flowers will naturally keep their colors better than others. As you experiment with various flowers, you will learn which ones preserve color well and which do not.
Making a press that works in the microwave is not difficult. You will need:
* Two 6-inch square tiles, smooth on one side, ridged on the other side.
* Narrow, good quality elastic
When buying the muslin and felt, choose a natural or white color.
Cut two 6-inch squares of muslin and two 6-inch squares of felt.
Place the tiles on the table with the smooth side up.
On each tile, place a square of felt.
Place the square of muslin over the felt.
You are now ready to place flowers in your press. Right now, I have placed violets and petals of sweet William on mine. Lay your flowers on top of the muslin on one of the tiles. You will want to arrange your flowers with a little space between each. If you can get a slight curve to the stem, you will be able to make more artistic arrangements when you create projects with your dried flowers. When you have arranged the flowers on one side of the tiles,
gently take the other fabric square and place over the top of the flowers with the muslin going over the flowers, then the felt going over the muslin. Place the second tile on top of the fabric, with the ridge side facing up.
Knot a 16-inch length of elastic (I prefer to use black elastic) to form a circular piece of elastic and band the two tiles together from one corner to the opposite corner.
Now you are ready to nuke your flowers. Finding the amount of time to microwave will take some experimentation, as the power of microwaves differs and the thickness of flowers varies. Start with a medium temperature for 2 ½ minutes. Use a potholder to remove the press and allow to cool before checking. If the flowers are still damp, lower the power and microwave for 30 seconds and check again. I prefer to leave mine in the press for several days and allow natural drying to complete the process. Be sure the tiles are completely cooled before drying another batch.