Selecting Flowers to Dry
Some flowers just work better than others. Flowers with a high water content, like sedum, don’t air dry well. Here is a partial list of flowers that are good choices, but you are going to learn by experimenting. Always cut more flowers than you will need, because you will probably lose some in the drying process.
The best time to harvest your flowers is late morning, just after the dew has evaporated from the leaves. Different plants should be cut at different stages of bloom. In general, most flowers do best when cut slightly immature, with the bud not fully open, since the flower will continue to open once cut. Often fully open flowers will drop their petals as they dry.
There are many ways to dry or preserve flowers What You’ll Need To Get Started
- Cut flowers
- Rubber bands
- String or Hooks for hanging flowers
- Paper clips
- Newspaper or dropcloth
- Silica gel (Optional)
- Airtight plastic or glass container (If using silica gel)
Air Drying Air drying is the simplest way to preserve your cut flowers. Gather the flower stems into small bunches, about a ½ inch in diameter, and wrap them tightly with a rubber band. The stems will shrink slightly, so make sure the band is tight. Hook a paper clip through the rubber band and hang the bunches, upside down, from the ceiling, with a hook or string. Keep them upside down so that the stem don’t bend from being top heavy. If you are only drying the flower heads, lay them out individually on a screen. The other requirements remain the same. The bunches will need to be out of direct sunlight, preferably in darkness. The more sun the flowers are exposed to, the more the color will fade. Don’t group the bunches too close to one another. Good air circulation and low humidity are also important factors in drying flowers. Drying times will vary depending on the type of flower and conditions like humidity, temperature and air circulation. Most flowers will take somewhere between 10 to 20. You will know they are dry when they feel stiff and the stems snap easily.
Drying with Silica Gel Fragile flowers and those with a lot of moisture, may dry better if you speed the process with a drying agent like silica gel. Silica gel is actually granular, like sea salt and it is reusable. You can readily find silica gel in any craft store. Use a shallow, airtight plastic or glass container. Spread a 1 inch think layer of the silica gel on the bottom of the container. On top of that, space your flower heads. Then gently cover the flowers with at least another inch of gel. Seal the container and let it be for 3-5 days. Some flowers that benefit from silica gel drying include: anemones, daisies, pansies, and zinnias.
Microwave Drying Find a microwave-safe container that will hold your flowers and fit into the microwave. (Do not use a dish you might want to use for food again after this project.) Your flowers will dry to the shape of the bottom of your container if you do not support them, so you will need to use silica gel in the container to help the flowers maintain their shape. Cover the bottom of the container with about an inch or two of silica gel (more for larger blossoms), place your flowers in the gel with the flower blossom opening upward, and then gently pour gel over the flower to ensure all petals are positioned to dry properly. If you are not careful with the gel, you can flatten your petals. Still, be liberal with it for best results. Don't worry; your silica gel can be used over and over again. Microwave temperature and time will vary from flower to flower, so find the right recipes by trial and error. Place your uncovered container in the microwave. A safe bet is to start the microwave on one or two levels above defrost for 2-5 minutes. Roses can withstand more heat; daisies prefer lower temperatures. Start with a short amount of time, checking your flower's progress periodically. If it doesn't seem to be drying, you can increase heat and time accordingly. Once your flowers have dried, open the microwave and immediately cover the container. Remove the covered container from the microwave, open the top a quarter of a centimeter, and let it sit for 24 hours. Once the flowers have cooled, clean off the petals with a fine brush and mist them with an acrylic spray. Voila! Fresh baked flowers! Whichever method you choose, we hope that you might find a new hobby in our How to Dry Flowers guide. We all wish our fresh flowers lived forever, but now you can preserve your special bouquet and enjoy it for years to come. There are meanings and expressions behind all flower gifts, so we hope we helped in making your memories last.
Keeping Your Dried Flowers Looking Good
Once the drying process is complete, you can begin enjoying your flowers in arrangements, wreaths and crafts. You will still need to give them minimal sun exposure, to retain their color. It would also be wise to keep them away from forced air heat, which can make the already dry flowers become brittle. As with everything else on display in your house, dried flowers will become dusty. A delicate feather duster can usually be safely used. You might also try a blow dryer on cool or low.
Storing Dried Flowers
If you are going to be storing your dried flowers, wrap them in newspaper, to prevent them from drawing in moisture from the air. Then place the wrapped flowers in a box, so they don’t get accidentally crushed. Keep them out of damp basements and overly dry spots, like attics.