How to Press Flowers in Stained Glass?

by Jennifer

Stained glass artistry is a timeless craft that beautifully combines the intricacy of design with the brilliance of color. Adding pressed flowers to stained glass creations infuses them with a touch of nature’s elegance, creating breathtaking pieces that captivate the eye and uplift the spirit. This article delves into the delicate art of pressing flowers for use in stained glass projects, exploring techniques, tips, and considerations for achieving stunning results.


Understanding the Art of Pressing Flowers

Pressing flowers is an ancient practice dating back centuries, revered for its ability to preserve the delicate beauty of botanical specimens. The process involves flattening fresh flowers between absorbent materials to remove moisture, thereby preserving their form and color. While traditionally used in botanical art and crafts such as card-making and scrapbooking, pressing flowers has found a new realm of expression in stained glass work.

Selecting Suitable Flowers

Not all flowers are created equal when it comes to pressing for stained glass. Some varieties retain their color and shape better than others, making them ideal choices for this craft. When selecting flowers, opt for those with flat, thin petals and minimal moisture content. Common choices include pansies, daisies, violets, and ferns. Experimentation with different species can yield unique and striking results, so don’t hesitate to explore beyond the conventional options.

Harvesting and Preparing Flowers

Timing is crucial when harvesting flowers for pressing. Choose blooms at their peak, just before they reach full maturity. Avoid flowers that are wilted or damaged, as they may not press well or could detract from the final piece’s aesthetic appeal. Handle the flowers with care, using sharp scissors to cut them from the stem, leaving a bit of length for manipulation during the pressing process.

Before pressing, it’s essential to prepare the flowers to ensure optimal results. Remove excess foliage and any damaged petals, as these can introduce moisture and impede the pressing process. For larger flowers, consider gently flattening them with your fingers or a small rolling pin to facilitate better contact with the pressing materials.

Choosing Pressing Materials

The choice of pressing materials greatly influences the outcome of your pressed flowers. The goal is to remove moisture from the flowers while maintaining their shape and color. Several materials can achieve this, including blotting paper, parchment paper, or specialized flower pressing papers. Avoid using materials with textures or patterns that could transfer onto the flowers or interfere with their natural beauty.

Additionally, you’ll need a suitable pressing device to apply uniform pressure to the flowers. Traditional flower presses consisting of wooden boards and bolts are effective, but you can also improvise with heavy books or purpose-made flower pressing kits. Whatever method you choose, ensure it provides even pressure across the pressing surface to avoid distortion or uneven drying of the flowers.

The Pressing Process

Once you’ve gathered your flowers and materials, it’s time to begin the pressing process. Arrange the flowers between layers of absorbent paper, spacing them apart to prevent overlapping. Be mindful of the orientation of the flowers, as they will retain their pressed form once dried.

Place the assembled flowers inside your pressing device, ensuring they are sandwiched between the pressing materials. Tighten the press evenly to apply gentle pressure, being careful not to crush or damage the delicate petals. The pressing duration can vary depending on factors such as flower type, thickness, and ambient humidity. As a general guideline, most flowers require one to two weeks of pressing to fully dry and preserve their shape.

Monitoring the Drying Process

While the flowers are pressing, it’s essential to monitor their progress regularly. Check for signs of mold or mildew, especially if you’re working with high-moisture flowers such as roses or hydrangeas. If mold appears, carefully remove the affected flowers and replace the pressing materials to prevent contamination.

Humidity levels can also impact the drying process, with higher humidity prolonging drying times. Consider placing the pressing device in a dry, well-ventilated area to expedite drying and reduce the risk of mold growth. Avoid exposing the pressed flowers to direct sunlight, as this can cause fading or discoloration.

Preserving Color and Form

Preserving the vibrant colors of pressed flowers is a primary concern for stained glass artists. While some color loss is inevitable during the pressing process, there are techniques you can employ to minimize fading and maintain the flowers’ visual appeal.

One approach is to treat the flowers with a flower preservation spray or resin before pressing. These products help seal in moisture and protect against color loss, enhancing the longevity of the pressed flowers. However, exercise caution when using these treatments, as they can alter the texture or appearance of the flowers if applied excessively.

Another method for preserving color is to apply a fixative spray to the pressed flowers once they have dried. Fixatives create a barrier that shields the flowers from environmental factors such as humidity and UV radiation, helping to maintain their vibrancy over time. Choose a fixative specifically formulated for use with dried botanicals, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Incorporating Pressed Flowers into Stained Glass

With your pressed flowers successfully dried and preserved, it’s time to incorporate them into your stained glass designs. There are countless ways to integrate pressed flowers into stained glass panels, from subtle accents to bold focal points. Here are some techniques to consider:

1. Encapsulation: Embed pressed flowers between layers of glass to create a three-dimensional effect. This technique works particularly well for smaller flowers or delicate botanical specimens.

2. Overlay: Adhere pressed flowers directly onto the surface of stained glass using a clear adhesive such as UV resin. This method allows you to arrange the flowers precisely and experiment with different compositions.

3. Inlay: Cut or grind channels into the surface of the glass and insert pressed flowers into the recessed areas. Inlaid flowers add texture and visual interest to stained glass panels, enhancing their overall aesthetic appeal.

4. Mosaic: Break pressed flowers into smaller pieces and arrange them mosaic-style within stained glass panels. This technique lends itself to abstract or intricate designs and allows for endless creative possibilities.

When incorporating pressed flowers into stained glass, consider the overall composition and balance of the design. Experiment with different placement options and combinations of flowers to achieve the desired effect. Don’t be afraid to let your creativity flourish and embrace the natural beauty of pressed botanicals in your stained glass creations.


Pressing flowers for use in stained glass opens up a world of creative possibilities, allowing artists to infuse their creations with the timeless beauty of nature. By mastering the art of flower pressing and exploring innovative techniques for integration, you can elevate your stained glass work to new heights of elegance and sophistication. Whether used as delicate accents or bold focal points, pressed flowers add a touch of enchantment to stained glass panels, captivating viewers and celebrating the exquisite artistry of the natural world.\


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