Blotting paper is widely recognized as the best paper for pressing flowers due to its absorbance, strength, and reusability.
However, you will be pleased to know that you have many options for paper for pressing flowers effectively.
Paper is the workhorse of the flower pressing process as it not only provides the flat surface to which the flowers are conformed but also for most types of paper, it will absorb moisture from the flower, speeding the drying process.
Using paper for flower pressing makes this hobby extremely cost-effective, but the results you will experience with flower pressing using each type of paper will vary a lot.
You are likely to find that flower pressing enthusiasts have a particular type of paper that they love to work with. As a hobbyist, you may need to experiment for a while to find out the paper that will work for you.
In this article, we will take you through the best paper types used in flower pressing. Each type of paper will have its advantages and disadvantages in flower pressing.
Newspaper is a dirt-cheap but surprisingly effective paper for flower pressing that is popular with experienced hobbyists. It’s easily available and can be used liberally for its absorbent properties, though it is unlikely to be reusable.
Regular newsprint weighs only 42 grams per square meter, so you will need multiple sheets to press flowers well. Layer up anywhere between 4 and 12 sheets of newspaper to absorb moisture in your flower press.
You can replace the newspaper repeatedly throughout the pressing process to get the flowers to dry out as much as possible.
There are two stand-out disadvantages of relying on newspaper. The first is the ink, which may be transferred to your flowers. This can be prevented by placing a sheet of another type of plain paper close to the flower or purchasing special plain newsprint.
The second problem is using newspaper that has lower absorbance than expected. In some cases, this can cause the flowers to rot.
Blotting paper is one of the best types of paper for pressing flowers effectively. It is the most expensive type of paper, but depending on the types of project you undertake can be reused.
At a minimum, a good quality blotting paper should have a weight of 200 grams per square meter. The greater the weight of the paper the greater the absorbancy and the evenness of the pressing of the flowers.
Blotting paper is also very good at keeping mold at bay, especially if you are pressing large and bulky blooms.
Parchment paper is a popular choice for quick and easy flower pressing. Also known as Kraft paper, it is often selected for its smoothness and non-stick properties that make the pressed flowers easy to peel off.
At 100 grams per square meter, it is less absorbent than blotting paper but still an effective choice.
Parchment paper is an ideal choice for pressing flowers with an iron, a microwave, between the leaves of a heavy book, tiles of blocks of wood. You simply place the flowers between two sheets or fold a large sheet in half with the flowers in between.
Wax paper is a great paper choice for flower pressing delicate blossoms and petals as they become encased in a thin layer of wax, making them easy to handle. It is very cheap too, meaning you can enjoy your flower pressing with aplomb.
Choosing clear or white wax paper means that your flowers will have a translucent finish which looks great when held up to the light.
Wax paper requires an iron to be used for flower pressing. You can learn more about how to use wax paper in our article "How to press flowers with wax paper".
Regular copy paper has a gsm of between 60 and 120 meaning that it is not particularly strong or absorbent. It is not a first choice for flower pressing but will provide a flat surface that is suitable for lining a press.
Cardboard is used in flower pressing to support flowers within a screw or tile press. With the attachment of bands, you can make an effective press from cardboard alone.
Cardboard provides a necessary flat surface while cushioning the flowers from the excessive pressure that may damage the blooms. As cardboard is not absorbent, a lining is needed for the press.
Flat coffee filters make an excellent alternative to the parchment paper lining of a classic flower press. It can be used for pressing flowers with an iron.
It has a gsm of around 100 and allows moisture to be wicked away from the pressed flower as it dries. If you are keen on pressing large numbers of flowers, coffee filter paper is a cost-effective option.
Kitchen roll is another cheap paper option that is substituted in a range of flower pressing methods. It is used for microwave flower pressing or adding absorbance in the other traditional flower pressing methods.
The dimpling of the paper towel may affect the finish of your pressed flowers so it is not a first choice.
Blotting paper is clearly the technical choice for pressing flowers well with characteristics that are well matched to the task. You certainly have a range of alternatives, making paper a cost-effective consumable in your projects.
Part of the fun of this classic hobby is that it provides the opportunity for experimentation. Try out all of these paper options and mix and match to see which ones will work for you.
Want to learn more about the exciting hobby of flower pressing?
Why not take a look at our complete guide to flower pressing. It covers all you need to get started!