- Drying and Preserving Flowers – The Best (and not so best) Methods
- How to dry flowers with a press
- Materials Required :
- What type of flowers:
- when is the best time to harvest for drying
- Book Method for drying flowers
- Press Method
- How to dry flowers – Air Dry Method
- What type of flowers
- How to air dry flowers
- How to dry flowers with Silica Gel
- Materials Needed
- when is the best time to harvest flowers for drying
- Silica Gel method for drying flowers
- Using the Microwave to speed up the flower drying process.
- Drying flowers in a food dehydrator
- Dehydrator Method
- Drying flowers with Sand or Kitty Litter
- Sand, or Kitty Litter flower drying method
- So what method is the best to dry flowers and what techniques to leave behind?
- Pressed flowers were #1.
- Silica Gel was #2
- Air Drying, kitty litter, and sand were a “meh”!
- 1. How to dry flowers… in the air
- 2. How to dry flowers… in the microwave
- 3. How to dry flowers… with silica gel
- 4. How to dry your flowers… in a vase
- 5. How to dry your flowers… in a press
- How to Create Beautiful Dried Flowers
- Steps to Perfect Dried Flowers
- Steps to Perfect Dried Flower Heads
- Steps to Perfect Pressed Flowers
- Steps to Drying Flowers in the Microwave
- Steps to Maintaining Dried Flowers
- How to Dry Flowers?
- DIY How to Dry Roses
- How to Preserve Flowers
- Preserving your greenery with glycerine
- When to pick your greenery
- Your glycerine recipe
I grow a lot of flowers every year; you might even say I get a bit carried away. I cut fresh flowers daily in the summer and fill every nook and corner with beautiful blooms. To save some of that summer beauty, I dry some along the way, and over the years I’ve learned how to dry flowers in countless ways.
If you want to know what method was used to dry the daisies in the image above, just jump down to the silica sand method. It created paperlike perfect dried flowers that kept the vibrancy of the flowers we tested.
Drying and Preserving Flowers – The Best (and not so best) Methods
I spend a great deal of time in late winter and early spring getting my flowers started. I grow begonias, dahlias, zinnias, mallow, geraniums, petunias (masses and masses of them) and I get to enjoy them for maybe 12 weeks out of the year.
So it’s nice to save a few, preserve them and keep a bit of that summer colour living through the fall and winter.
Dried flowers are also great craft items and buying them already dried is a bit too rich for my pocketbook, so I make my own.
Learning how to dry flowers isn’t hard at all, and I bet by the end of this post you’re going to want to start hoarding your blooms from your summer garden so you can make your own.
How to dry flowers with a press
Materials Required :
- Old Books or flower press
- Old belts
- Flat, thin-leafed flowers
- Water Colour Paper – Non-Bleached
- Flower press (optional)
What type of flowers:
Flowers that lay flat hold their color, and have thin petals are the best for pressing.
Gladiolus, Borage, Cosmos, Larkspur, Coreopsis, Queen Anne’s Lace, Delphiniums, California poppies, Hibiscus, Geraniums (the individual flowers that make up the fluffy head), Verbenas, Nicotiana, and Pansies. Think single-ply leaves and flattened head.
You can test and flowers for pressing. Larger flowers like roses and dahlias will press, but they will become misshapen.
when is the best time to harvest for drying
Pick your flowers for pressing after the early morning dew has dried from the petals. You want your flowers fresh, but completely dry. Don’t pick your flowers on a humid or rainy day.
Book Method for drying flowers
Pressing flowers in old books is still a useful method for preserving flowers. It seems old-fashioned, but that’s part of the charm. I can remember my grandmother tucking flowers into books that we often found years later.
It is best to use a large book, like a phone book (if you can find one) and either tie a strap or belt around it while pressing your flowers or add something substantial to the top to add pressure. You could also use old belts or straps to wrap around your book to tighten down the pages.
Print can sometimes rub off, or transfer, so it is a good idea to place your flowers between sheets of nonbleached paper before putting them inside of the book. Do this only if you want perfect natural dried flowers.
Another useful method uses a bleach-free hardbound watercolor notebook
. You will still need to add pressure to the top, but this is a pretty easy method that does not require adding additional pages.
Drying flowers this way takes about 30 days. If you open your book before the 30 days to peek, you risk cracking or breaking leaves. But after 30 days you will find your flowers beautifully pressed, and ready to use.
You can buy or DIY a simple flower press using two pieces of wood with bolts in each corner. Stack the inside with pieces of cardboard, and double sheets of nonbleached paper.
I don’t like to use newspaper in my flower presses because it can sometimes leave dye behind. To avoid transfers of print, use plain, unbleached, unprinted paper between your cardboard sheets.
You will want to give a tiny bit of space between each flower, don’t overlap, but they can be placed relatively close together.
How to dry flowers with a press is simple but takes a bit of trial and error.
Pros for drying flowers with a press
- Relatively cheap method.
- Does not require special ingredients.
- Easy to do, without any complicated instructions.
- Creates beautiful flat flowers.
- Pressed flowers make excellent craft project additions.
Cons for drying flowers with a press
- Takes up to 30 days for perfect pressed flowers.
- Flowers do not always retain their full vibrancy.
- Flowers are delicate and can easily break.
How to dry flowers – Air Dry Method
What type of flowers
When air drying flowers you want to avoid flowers with lots of water content. They tend to not dry thoroughly and rot long before they ever dry out.
Flowers like African Marigolds, Cornflowers, Anise hyssop, Globe Thistle, Lady’s Mantle, Hydrangeas, Larkspur, Lavender, Love in a mist, Dahlias (pompom), Poppy (Papaver types), Roses, Starflowers, Strawflowers, and Yarrow are good flowers to start with.
In the morning, after the dew has dried and the flowers are their freshest. Pick blooms that are not fully open yet as they will open more as they dry out.
How to air dry flowers
- Start by gathering your flowers in bunches by the stem and secure them with a piece of string or rubber band. Hang them upside down in an area that receives good air flow. Make sure that your bunches are not too close together.
- Hang the flowers in a cool dark place to dry out. Try to keep them out of the sunlight to retain some of their vivid colours.
- Leave flowers for a few weeks to dry. You will notice the flowers will start to change colors. Bright, vibrant flowers change colour to browns, light pinks, dull yellows and transform into vintage bouquets. When the stems can snap easily, they are finished drying.
- Use dried flowers in vases, or crafts like homemade wreaths, or even create centerpieces for the holidays.
Pros to air drying flowers
- Minimum supplies required.
- Easy for anyone to do.
- Least expensive method.
Cons to air drying flowers
- Very brittle petals.
- Flowers lose much of their color and vibrancy.
- Flowers shrink and crinkle.
- This method is hit or miss, and you can lose flowers in the process. It is recommended to dry more than you think you will need because you will inevitably lose a few flowers along the way.
How to dry flowers with Silica Gel
- Silica gel
- Dust mask
- Airtight glass or plastic container
- Scissors or garden pruners
- Plastic squeeze bottles
- Mod Podge or hairspray to seal flower from moisture
- Optional: Microwave
**You can pick up silica sand / silica gel at most craft stores.
Any! If they can fit in a container and if you have enough silica gel you should have no problem drying the largest of flowers. Think roses, pansies, peonies, daisies, larkspur, carnations, bachelor buttons, zinnias, sunflowers, geraniums ( worked but I did get a few batches of petals!), to name a few.
As the summer progresses, I plan on testing my silica gel on a lot more blooms to see what works best.
when is the best time to harvest flowers for drying
Like other flowers, it is best to collect your flowers in the morning after the dew has dried and the flowers are freshest. You will want fully opened blooms if you use the microwave method.
If you use the silica gel to dry your flowers without the microwave, pick flowers that are in full bloom.
Silica Gel method for drying flowers
I always wanted to know how to dry flowers with silica gel, so I went out and bought some to test. I tested, and tested some more, and tested so much that I ended up drying more flowers than I could ever use! It is by far the best method I’ve ever used. I love the results that it created.
The flowers look like very realistic paper flowers, they even feel like paper.
Do not forget to put on your air filter mask and gloves before working with your silica gel.
- Cut your flower stems about an inch away from your flower head.
- Place your large flower heads face up in a container at least 2 inches taller than the flower. Flat faced flowers do better if you place them upside down. Flowers that are long, like larkspur, can be laid down on their sides.
- Gently pour silica gel over the flowers until covered by an inch or more of silica gel. Place a lid on top, or saran wrap and set them aside for 3-5 days.
- You need to be very gentle in removing your flowers, or you will end up with dried flower petals.
- You can use a soft bristle paint brush to remove the remaining silica gel; it just dusts off.
Using the Microwave to speed up the flower drying process.
You can also use the microwave to dry your flowers. This method is fast and does a fantastic job of preserving vibrancy. I do find that the microwave sometimes bubbles leaves a bit, but if you are short on time, this is an excellent method for doing flowers quickly.
I did find that I had to let my silica gel cool down before doing the second batch and for this reason, my advice is to get two jars of gel if you are planning on drying lots of flowers.
With two containers of silica gel, you can allow one batch to cool down while you work on the second one.
- Use a microwave-safe container and cover your flowers entirely with about an inch of extra on the top. Pop in the microwave for a minute.
- Let the container cool for 30 minutes before removing your dried flowers.
You can seal your flowers with hairspray, mod podge, or with a rattle can spray varnish, be sure it is non-yellowing.
Pros of drying flowers with silica gel
- Creates beautifully vibrant dried flowers.
- Retains the same look like a freshly picked flower.
- The fastest method by far, one minute in the microwave and your flowers are dry.
- You can recharge silica gel by placing it in the oven for 30 minutes.
Cons of drying flowers with silica gel
- Silica gel is one of the most expensive methods to start out with, but since the gel can be recharged the costs diminish over time.
- Don’t spill your silica gel because it is a pain to clean up! (ask me how I know)
- You also need to use a filter mask and gloves while working with Silica gel.
- You can make dried flower petals, but I wouldn’t use them in any beauty products, like bath salts. Silica should be handled with gloves, and you have no sure way of knowing if you pulled all the silica from a dried flower.
Drying flowers in a food dehydrator
Food dehydrators work well for drying flowers. I did not find it as impressive as the silica gel, but it did work.
I would not dry flowers on trays that I would later use for food. Some of the flowers I dehydrated did leave behind a scent. I am sure that will dissipate, but after a single wash, that scent still lingered on my trays.
Not sure how much the husband is going to enjoy jerky with a hint of marigold.
- Food dehydrator (this is the one I use and it works great)
- Scissors or garden pruners
- Mod Podge or hairspray to seal flower from moisture
You can dehydrate any small or medium-sized flower that will fit in your dehydrator. Small pom type flowers like zinnias, or marigolds do very well.
Larger flowers with delicate leaves like geraniums or tuberous begonias tend to take longer and end up a bit too brittle.
Harvest your flowers at their full bloom early morning after the dew has dried.
- Cut your flower stems close to the flowers. Place your flowers right side up but do not allow them to touch each other because they will stick.
- For medium-sized flowers like pompom zinnias, or any cone style flowers, leave them for a few hours.
- For small delicate flowers, like Queen Anne’s lace, add for 1 hour but check on them periodically.
You can seal your flowers with mod podge, hairspray, or a rattle can of spray sealer.
Pros for drying flowers with a food dehydrator
- A relatively quick method, flowers can be dried in a few hours.
- Easy process, no real fuss.
- Perfect drying method if you want to make potpourri, or make dried petals.
Cons for drying flowers with a food dehydrator
- You need a food dehydrator.
- Some flowers, like French marigolds, leave a smell behind on your trays.
- Overdrying can cause very brittle and delicate flowers.
- Most flowers change color, especially the pinks purples and magentas that gained a deeper. ruddier color after drying. Yellow flowers generally held their color well.
Drying flowers with Sand or Kitty Litter
How to dry flowers with sand or kitty litter uses the same process as drying flowers with silica gel.
Drying with sand or kitty litter, it takes longer, and the results are a mixed bag. I found I never really got any consistency with this method. You can use it in a pinch and still get OK results.
- Sand or kitty litter
- Airtight glass or plastic container
- Scissors or garden pruners
- Mod Podge or hairspray to seal flower from moisture
If your flowers can fit in a container and if you have enough sand or kitty litter you should have no problem drying most flowers. Think roses, pansies, peonies, daisies, larkspur, carnations, bachelor buttons, or zinnias. The larger, more delicate flowers like geraniums or peonies are hit and miss. I found the kitty litter and sand too heavy to keep the shape of the flowers, but zinnias and daisies worked fine.
Like all the other methods collect your flowers in the morning after the dew has dried and the flowers are freshest.
You will want partially opened blooms as the sand and kitty litter both take time to dry.
Sand, or Kitty Litter flower drying method
Cut your flower stems about an inch away from your flower head.
- Place your large flower heads face up in a container at least 2 inches taller than the flower. Flat faced flowers do better if they are placed upside down. Flowers that are long, like larkspur, can be laid down on their sides.
- Gently pour your kitty litter or sand over the flowers until covered by an inch. Place a lid on top, or saran wrap and set them aside for 10-21 days. (It’s hit or miss here you will have to test and experiment)
- You need to be very gentle in removing your flowers. The sand and kitty litter are heavy and can damage the shape of the flowers or weigh down and break off the petals. Go slow, pretend you’re Indiana Jones without the fun and excitement.
- You can use a soft bristle paint brush to remove the remaining sand or kitty litter.
Pros for drying flowers with sand or kitty litter
- Inexpensive method.
Cons for drying flowers with sand or kitty litter.
- The process is longer than say using silica gel.
- Flowers can be easily damaged during removal.
- Flowers do not keep or hold their vibrancy.
So what method is the best to dry flowers and what techniques to leave behind?
Pressed flowers were #1.
After testing all the methods above, I’m all for pressing flowers.
I love how easy it is, and the investment was a few pieces of wood and some screws to make a DIY press.
The pressed flowers are the best to use for cards, tags, decals, scrapbooking, bath bombs, handmade papers, potpourri, home decor items, and wallpaper. You read that right; you can make your own wallpaper and deck it out with dried flowers.
Silica Gel was #2
My second favorite method was silica gel. I plan on trying many more flowers with this method over the summer months. The flowers retain their shape and colour better than any other way and open up the doors to all kinds of craft projects.
The dried silica gel flowers could be used in wreaths, centerpieces, and garlands, to name a handful. Imagination is the limitation here because these flowers look amazing when dried and hold most of their shape and colour.
Air Drying, kitty litter, and sand were a “meh”!
Air drying flowers work well for bouquets and lavender. I am not a fan of the vintage flower look, so the sepia tones of the dried blooms just didn’t do it for me.
Kitty litter and sand didn’t hold a candle to the silica gel. But if you are opposed to working with silica, the kitty litter or sand could be an option.
And if If you like flowers and pretty things you should check out these posts:
Rose covered vases using polymer clay.
Rose covered flower made from a drop cloth.
1. How to dry flowers… in the air
One of the easiest ways to dry out a bouquet is to hang it upside down and allow the moisture to evaporate into the air. This is great for robust flowers, such as roses, and long-lasting varieties, like lavender. Strip away any excess foliage, secure your stems with an elastic band and hang in a dry, shady spot away from direct sunlight.
TIP: Once completely dry, spray with unperfumed hairspray for protection.
2. How to dry flowers… in the microwave
Pop your flowers in the microwave if you want to dry them fast. This technique is also ideal if you want to preserve single flowers, such as gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums.
All you’ll need is a microwavable container and, strangely, some cat litter (if it can dry out what the cat left behind, it can dry out flowers). Place the flowers blossom-up on a layer of cat litter and pour more litter over the petals. Heat in the microwave for 2-5 minutes on half-power, then remove and dust of any traces of litter.
3. How to dry flowers… with silica gel
Silica gel (yes, the curious substance inside those little sachets you find packaged with new leather shoes and bags) is a drying agent that can be readily bought from craft shops. You can use this to dry out your blooms by either using the microwave technique (above) or by gently burying your flowers in a container filled with the ‘gel’ and leaving them for a week to dry out.
4. How to dry your flowers… in a vase
Large robust blooms, like hydrangea, can be dried by leaving them in their vase of water – and doing nothing. Once the water has evaporated the flowers will dry gradually. This method will help retain more of their fresh-flower colour vibrancy than if left to dry with air alone.
5. How to dry your flowers… in a press
Pressed flowers can be used for all manner of pretty craft projects. This technique is best suited to flat-headed flowers, such as violets, pansies and daisies – and can be done in a variety of ways. Check out our complete guide to pressing flowers to find the right method to suit your needs.
How to Create Beautiful Dried Flowers
Air-dry annuals in bunches upsidedown.
Dried flowers are the perfect accent to wreaths, forever bouquets, or other decorating projects—and drying flowers you’ve grown is a great way to conserve the fruits of your labors. There are several ways to dry flowers—either by hanging them upside down, laying them flat (for flower heads), or pressing them. Here are simple how-tos, as well as tips for maintaining your dried flowers.
Steps to Perfect Dried Flowers
- Choose flowers that are not completely open and are not quite mature. (They continue to open as they dry and may lose petals if fully mature.)
- Cut flowers in the morning, after the dew has dried; use sharp garden scissors.
- Cut off unneeded foliage.
- Take them inside as soon as possible.
- Group flowers into small bundles or leave them as individual blooms. Use string or dental floss to hang flowers upside down in a cool, dark, dry, indoor spot. To prevent mold, hang the blooms so that air circulates well around each bundle.
- When flowers are done drying, they will feel dry and stiff to the touch. This may take several days or several weeks, depending on conditions and the type of flowers.
Learn how to dry flowers to maintain their color here.
Steps to Perfect Dried Flower Heads
- Pick flower heads that are not completely open; cut off just below the bloom.
- Set the flower heads on newspaper in a cool, dry spot.
Dry peony flowers with these easy steps.
Steps to Perfect Pressed Flowers
- Choose flowers that are not completely open and are not quite mature. (They will continue to open as they dry and may lose petals if fully mature.)
- Lay each flower out flat between two sheets of plain paper; place the flower sandwich between the pages of a book. Weigh the book down for several weeks until the flowers are dry to the touch. (As an alternative, flower presses are available.)
Make your own pressed flowers with these tips.
Steps to Drying Flowers in the Microwave
- Pick flowers just before they open up. (They will continue to open as they dry and may lose petals if fully mature.)
- In a shallow, microwave-safe container, gently cover the flowers in silica sand (available from crafting stores) or an equal mixture of borax (sodium borate) and cornmeal. Fill trumpet- or cup-shape flowers with the mixture to help them keep their shapes.
- Leaving the container open, place the container in the microwave and “cook” on high for a minute or so. Check to see if the flowers have completely dried; if not, microwave for another minute. Flowers that have thick petals take longer to dry than those that are thin.
- Leave the flowers in the mixture for about a day after microwaving them to allow them to finish drying.
Steps to Maintaining Dried Flowers
- Keep dried flowers out of direct sunlight to reduce fading.
- Keep dried flowers away from heat vents.
- Dust dried flowers as needed with a feather duster.
- When not in use, store dried flowers in a box in a dry place away from dry heat.
Get tips specific to drying hydrangeas.
- By Kelly Roberson
How to Dry Flowers?
Drying flowers is such a rewarding experience because it is easy to do, the flowers usually dry remarkably well, and they last for many years. Flowers can be dried in several different ways, by hanging, pressing or with various drying agents.
If you would like to dry flowers or bouquets on your own, cut the blossoms when their color is at its peak. Remove the leaves, then try one of the following flower drying methods:
Dried Flowers By Hanging/Air-drying This is the most widely used and the easiest method to reap dried flowers. There are a number of garden flowers, as well as wild plants, that can be dried simply by hanging them upside down in a warm, dry place for several weeks. Flowers best suited to this are the “everlastings” and a few others that do not wilt readily. Some, such as globe amaranth, can be dried in bunches on their natural stems. Others, such as strawflower, should have a wire substituted for stems before drying. Dried Flowers By Pressing Easy and quick, though the contour is lost and flowers are flat. For pressing, use unglazed paper, such as newsprint or an old telephone book. Place the flowers so that they do not overlap between several thicknesses of the paper. Weigh down with a heavy object. Dried Flowers are ready in two to four weeks. Dried Flowers Using Drying AgentsFlowers can be dried by burying them in materials such as sand and borax or corn meal and borax. These materials are successful for certain flowers, but undependable for others. More recently, the most satisfactory material for drying flowers at home is silica gel. Initial cost is greater than that of borax-sand or borax-cornmeal combinations, but it can be used over and over for many years. Since it dries flowers quickly, more flowers can be moved in and out of the mixture during a single season than in the same quantity of a borax mixture. Silica gel is available under a number of trade names. It is white, but some types contain blue crystals that act as an indicator of the amount of moisture which has been absorbed. When these crystals are a clear blue the material is dry. As the moisture is absorbed from the flowers, the crystals gradually turn pink. At that point it is time to redry before using again. To dry the material, spread the silica gel on open pans or cookie sheets in a layer 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Bake in an oven at about 250 degrees until the crystals are blue again. This may take about an hour. Stir the crystals several times while they are drying. Keep unused silica gel in air-tight containers. Dried Flowers With Micro Oven Microwave drying takes only a few minutes and provides dried flowers that look fresher and more colorful than those obtained by other methods. Support material such as silica gel must surround and support the flowers during heating and drying. Use heat-tolerant glass or microwave containers. Do not cover the containers. Place a cup of water in the oven before starting to help prevent excessive drying. Drying times vary from about 3 minutes for very dense flowers with a lot of petals to about 1 minute for smaller or thinner-petaled flowers. Since ovens and flowers vary, experimentation will be required. After treatment is complete, leave flowers in the silica gel for 12 to 24 hours to make sure they are cooled and dried. Since microwave-dried flowers tend to absorb air moisture, spray the petals with hair spray or lacquer. For long term storage, keep them in an airtight container.
Storing Dried Flowers
Dried flowers in storage, may occasionally be attacked by one or more household insects such as museum beetles, silverfish, roaches or others closely related to them. As they chew on the soft tissue of the plant centers, flowers may shatter and fall apart. They are not necessarily on the flowers as they come from the garden but move into the boxes in the home during storage.
Occasionally check boxes, and if insects are present, destroy the infected materials. Tightly sealed containers prevent invasion. If the pests are present, thoroughly clean the container before using it again. Naphthalene flakes may repel insects or some general insecticides may help control them, but once an area is infested, complete eradication is difficult. Cleanliness and persistence are the best means of remedying the situation.
Don’t consider dried flowers as everlasting. Preferably, dried flowers should be replaced yearly, but with good care they often last longer. Even the best dried flowers gradually fade and should be discarded when they no longer produce the desired effect. Flowers that tend to fade may be lightly tinted with aerosol paints or dyes for more durable color. With care, the natural look is preserved.
DIY How to Dry Roses
Drying Your Roses
There are two ways to dry roses
1. Air drying
2. Desiccant- Drying
Air Drying is the most common method of preserving roses.
This method is best for rose buds that are just about to open. Hang them in a warm, dry and dark place with good ventilation for a two weeks. Tie a string around the stems and hang them upside down. This will prevent moisture from becoming trapped between the flowers which can mold them.
Once they are completely dried be careful to handle them with care for they will now be brittle.
Display them tightly in a terracotta pot for the wonderful display.
For more complete information on air drying flowers see “Working with Dried Flowers” In the floral instruction section of this site.
This method is perfect for open roses.
You will need an airtight container that measures 1 inch taller than the roses you are drying and silica gel crystals (enough to completely cover your roses -standing on end) If you would prefer to save on silica gel crystals you can cut the stems shorter.
Put 1/2 inch of Silica Gel in an airtight container -place the roses so that the blooms face up.
Cover them very carefully with more silica gel crystals until every part of the flower is covered. Now seal the container tightly. Keep them at room temperature for 10 days before removing the lid of the container. After 10 days carefully remove them from the desiccant.
For more complete information on drying flowers with desiccants see “Working with Dried Flowers” In the floral instruction section of this site.
The dried flowers can be preserved at home for the next season of the year. There are very special bouquet for arranging and preserving the dried flowers for a long period of time until the very nest seasons of the year. Almost all the flower types can be kept preserved in the dried form. These dried flowers can be kept in various beautiful flower arrangements like bunches, bouquets and vases. The dried flowers can be best preserved in all these types of floral arrangements.
The needed things
The following things are needed to preserve the dried flowers:
- Dried flowers
The dried flowers are kept in jars in numerous floral arrangements. Hairsprays are effectively used to put the flower bunches together in correct combinations in the flower arrangements. These preserved dried flowers look equally bright and beautiful as the freshly plucked flowers except the smell. Only the scent is not present in the dry flower arrangements. The dried flowers are preserved by many reputed florists round the world. These are also available online on the website of these florist companies in the “dried flower” category. The prices of these flowers are also quite reasonable with longer durability.
It must be ensured at first that all the flowers are totally dried. The best and the fastest way to dry the flowers is to hang the flowers upside and down in a dry and warm dark room. Then, the flower is to be bundled by the stem and making them secure with the help of a rubber band. After that, hang them in upside and down fashion by hook in order to dry them completely. Then, the flowers are to be left untouched until they become drier. This process may take a longer time starting from 2 weeks to 1 month. It should be ensured that the place selected to dry the flowers is a place with lower humidity level. Atmosphere with high humidity can hinder the drying process of the flowers.
In this step, the dried flowers should be sprayed all over by hairspray. This is to be done to prevent the flowers from falling here and there apart in the nick of time. The flower arranger must also be careful not to spray too much Hairspray over the flowers. The moisture content present in the hairspray chemical may have a very negative effect in the drying and arranging process of the flowers. A light coat of hairspray must be applied on the flowers to bind them together.
The person has to decide the exact application of the dried flower whether he wants to keep them at home for the decoration purposes. If the flowers are to be used for decoration purposes, then a clear glass jar must be arranged first. The dried flowers are to be placed carefully inside the glass jar. The glass jar should be provided with a lid that can be closed and keeping the elements out. The jar should be placed in an area which is away from direct rays of the sun.
In this step the dried flowers must be wrapped up in a newspaper and to be placed in a shoe box for a while. The shoe box should be placed in a dry and warm place in the house. Care must be taken not to crush the newspaper since the dry flowers are very fragile. The newspapers must be kept as flat as possible. All these things must be done utmost carefully without hurting the fragile dried flowers in some way.
Freezing the dry flowers
The dry flowers can be kept well for a longer period of time by freezing them with the help of silica gel and keeping in freezing equipment. It usually takes 12 hours for the completion of the entire process. The dried flowers usually freeze at 5 degree Farenheit.
All the process and the steps mentioned above are best suited to preserve the flowers in the best dried condition for a very long period of time. Selling of the dry flowers is a very big business in the florist industry for past many years.
How to Preserve Flowers
- Hanging The easiest way to preserve flowers is to hang them. Bunch the flowers up around the base of the stems. Hang them upside down in a dark, warm and dry room for one to three weeks. If you’re drying several bouquets of flowers, place a fan in the room to circulate the air properly. Flowers that dry especially well using this method include hydrangeas, marigolds and Chinese lanterns .
- Glycerine A fantastic way to preserve flowers is to use glycerine. The flower absorbs the glycerine, replacing its water content with it. This keeps your flowers supple and bright. Simply place the stems of fresh flowers in a mixture of two parts lukewarm water to one part glycerine (car antifreeze is a good solution). Let the flowers to sit in the mixture for two to three weeks. If you notice that the flowers begin to wilt after you take them out of the mixture, hang the flowers upside down, so that the mixture reaches the wilted parts . Flowers that dry especially well using this method include magnolias, bells of Ireland and forsythia .
- Chemical drying Create a mixture of equal parts borax and cornmeal or oatmeal. This mixture will allow open flowers to dry while retaining their shape and color. Place the flowers in a shallow box lined with newspaper. The box should be 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) off the floor. Punch holes in the bottom of the box and the newspaper so that you can feed the flower stems through. Sift the borax mixture on the top of the flowers and in between the petals until the flowers are lightly coated. Leave them in the box for 1 to 3 weeks, until they’re dry .
Are you thinking about preserving greenery from your garden so you can add it to your autumn and winter flower arrangements? If so, you’ll need a bottle of glycerine.
Preserving your greenery with glycerine
There are two easy steps to preserving greenery with glycerine. Although, there is an element of trial and error involved.
- Pick your greenery in the summer months
- Use the correct solution of glycerine
When to pick your greenery
You need to think about preserving your greenery in the same way as dealing with a glut of fruit and veg in your garden. Enjoy it in the moment and what you can’t use, preserve for another day.
You need to pick your greenery during the summer months, before it enters its dormant stage and after the new growth has hardened off. If you cut it too early the new growth will not be robust enough to hold the glycerine and the tips of your stems will droop. If you cut it too late the glycerine solution won’t be pulled up through the stem in an effective way.
Your glycerine recipe
You’ll need to mix one part glycerine to two parts hot/boiling water. I bought my 200ml bottle of glycerine from a high street chemist – I found it next to the cough medicine. You’ll end up with 600ml of liquid (1 pint).
If you’re using boiling water make sure you mixing jug/bowl is heat resistant. I’d suggest you use a narrow container/jug for preserve your greenery in, so your 1 pint mixture sits at a reasonable depth in your jug, rather than having a shallow amount in a wider container.
Re-cut the stems of your greenery and place them in you glycerine mix. Then watch and wait.
There are several ways to preserve the fresh beauty of flowers for years in their natural vivid colors without a great deal of work or expense. The two easiest and least expensive methods are sand-drying and air-drying.
Sand-drying can be used to dry a wide variety of flowers, such as roses, tulips, dahlias, marigolds and snapdragons. Flowers which last only one day, like day lilies, do not dry well. Do not dry asters, azaleas, chrysanthemums, geraniums, petunias, phlox, pinks, poppies or violets. But feel free to do your own experimentation.
To prepare for sand-drying, cut the flowers at the peak of their show as any imperfections will be exaggerated by drying. Pick the flowers after the dew has fully evaporated. Make sure the stems are dry.
Prepare the flowers by reinforcing the stems and blossoms with florist’s wire or with white glue. For daisy-type flowers and flowering shrubs, push a 6″ piece of wire through the stem and right through the flower head; bend the end of the wire into a hook over the flower head and then pull it down, thus securing the head to the stem. For flowers such as roses and tulips which are dried face-up, cut off most of the stem except an inch or so and insert the wire as above. For many-petaled flowers, use glue instead of wire. Diluting the white glue with a drip of water and using a toothpick, dab a thin coat of glue at the base of each petal, working the glue into the base of each flower to attach each petal to the base. Dry completely.
To dry the flowers, slowly cover them with white sand in deep, open boxes. Cup-shaped or rose-shaped flowers should be dried face-up. Make the sand deep enough to hold the flowers in an upright position, position the flower carefully and slowly pour the sand around the base of the flower, then around the sides and under and over the petals. Pour the sand evenly and slowly in order to preserve the natural shape of the blossom.
Daisy-type flowers should be dried face down. Make an even base of sand in the box and make a little dip in the sand the same shape as the flower. Hold the flower steady and carefully build up the sand around the blossom until it is fully covered.
Snapdragons, lilac, elongated flowers and flowering branches should be positioned horizontally in the sand, flowering branches face up. Carefully pour the sand around and between the flowers and into individual blooms. A soft artists’ brush will help you in lifting the blossoms slightly as you pour the sand so that they won’t be flattened by its weight.
When all the flowers are completely covered with sand put the drying box in your drying area and leave undisturbed for one to three weeks.
Removing the sand should be done very carefully, tipping the container slightly, allowing the sand to flow slowly from one corner of the box. As each flower is released from the sand, lift it gently out.
If you wish to store your dried flowers for later use, seal them in airtight containers such as tins or plastic boxes sealed with masking tape, or in sealed cardboard boxes enclosed in airtight plastic bags.
Sand Preserving Leaves:
Place the leaves in a pan and cover them with dry, hot sand. Allow this to cool. Remove the leaves and smooth them with a hot iron. Dip them in colorless varnish and let them dry.
Large leaves can be painted with aluminum or bronze paint. Dip them into a clear plastic paint to set them firmly.
Air-drying can be very successful with herbs, everlastings and ornamental grasses. Choose perfect plants with long stems, removing the lower leaves. Put the flowers in small bunches, fastening them together with an elastic band; then open each bunch into a fan shape. Hang the flowers head down from nails in a dry, dark place for one to three weeks until they are completely dry. The colors will usually be muted. Display your flowers in the house or store them as above.
This method works with roses as well. Cut the stems off to the very bottom of the rose head, and carefully insert a 6-8″ length of wire. Hang upside down by bending the end of the wire over a hanger and place in a dark dry closet where it won’t be disturbed. One hanger can accomodate several flowers, just space them apart a bit.
Drying With a Desiccant:
Another method of drying flowers is to use a desiccant drying mixture such as silica gel, borax, cornmeal or alum. The following recipe uses a combination of silica and borax.
Simply mix a combination of four parts of borax to one part of silica gel. You can make your mixture by hand; the borax should be run through a sieve before mixing with the gel to remove any lumps.
You should treat all of the flowers to be preserved immediately after picking. Cut off the stems close to the base of the flower. In the bottom of a plastic bag or an air-tight jar put down a layer of the preserving powder and lay a blossom face down on the powder. Pour some additional powder over the flower until it is well covered. Then lay another flower face down and cover it, repeating the procedure until the bag or jar is full. Put on your lid, or if using a bag, press down on it lightly to squeeze out all the air. Tie the bag tightly with string as close to the contents as possible to prevent air from coming in.
Now put your flowers and powder mixture away in a dry place for about four weeks without peeking at it. Never store it out of doors.
At the end of the four weeks, open the container very gently and remove the blossoms one at a time, blowing the powder off them. Now you have preserved flowers in their garden freshness.
This method keeps some flowers soft and pliable for easier handling and less shedding. Try this method with eucalyptus, babys breath and statice. According to “Martha”, this is the best way to preserve leaves.
You will need:
Vegetable glycerine, (available at Pharmacies)
A glass or enamel container large enough to hold the flowers upright
Mix 1 part vegetable glycerine to 2 parts hot tap water, using enough to make the mixture about 2 inches deep.
Smash the bottom inch or two of the flower stems to help them absorb the glycerine quickly. (One or two whacks with the hammer is all you need.)
Place the flower stems in the glycerine-water mixture, and leave 3 to 5 days so the flowers can absorb the glycerine. (Babys breath can take 1 to 2 weeks, wait until the stems turn tan.) You can tell when the flowers have absorbed enough glycerine by the way they look and feel. A good way to test if they are ready is to let one stem air dry and compare it to the flowers in the glycerin after a few days. If the air dried flower feels dry and the flowers in the glycerine feel soft and look slightly darker in color they’re probably ready to be taken out of the glycerine mixture.
Cut off the part of the stem that was setting in the glycerin. Allow the flowers to air dry for a week or so before storing. The glycerine/water mixture can be reused several times.
You may want to experiment with waxing fresh flowers. This too is simple; just melt some paraffin wax and plunge each individual flower into the wax. Remove and shake the excess wax off each flower. Put it into the refrigerator to set and harden.
I use a solution of 2 parts boiling water and 1 part glycerine plus plenty of food coloring to maintain the green color. Immerse them in the solution. Some greens uptake the solution and through the stems and some don’t. So it is best to imerse the whole stem if you are not sure. I think a nice bath of the wax solution of (acrylic floor wax, 4 parts water to 1 part wax, with some color added) would be a nice finish to help lock in the moisture, and give the leaves a nice shine.