The Process of Drying Flowers

March 11, 2015 / Blooms Today
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Flowers are beautiful gifts. They are welcome accompaniments at all events, occasions, times of year, and just to say hello. Live specimens will only remain vivid and healthy for a period of time, and then the gift is gone. You may have the vase, but nothing remains of the flowers that were so lovely to look at in your window, kitchen table, or on your desk at work. You can, however, transform your flowers into a new decoration by drying them.

 

 

It is best to start the drying process when your flowers are still in their prime. If you start the process too late, then the petals may fall off or your finished product will look wilted and not as vibrant. There are several techniques for drying your flowers. Depending on your end use for the dried pieces, one option may suit your needs better than another.

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Air Drying

This is one of the most common techniques for drying flowers. Your flowers will dry in the same way they are arranged and hung, so make sure you like the placement before leaving them to dry.DSC_0005Smaller

  1. Break apart your flowers into individual stems, but keep enough stem to allow for hanging.
  1. Bundle types of flowers together. It is best not to mix your flowers when drying since some will require different drying times than others.
  1. Tie the bundle(s) tightly with string or twine. As the stems start to lose their moisture, they may loosen in their ties.DSC_0014Smaller Check periodically and retie any bundles that loosen too much during the drying period.
  1. Hang to dry in a cool and airy place. Too much light may bleach the flowers, so a dark or shaded spot will be best for this technique.
  1. Allow the bundles to hang for a few weeks, checking on them every few days.
  1. Take the flowers down and carefully remove the strings. Spray your preserved blooms with an aerosol hairspray to fortify the delicate petals.

Microwaving

If you need to quickly dry your flowers, microwaving them may be the best solution. Depending on the technique you choose, your blooms may slightly flatten or preserve their shape.DSC_0193Smaller

  1. Grab a lidded container you can place in the microwave.
  1. Pour a layer of silica beads into the bottom of the container. Create little indentions in the beads for your flowers to rest.
  1. Place your blooms in the indentions with the stem side down. Cover the flowers with more beads.DSC_0205Smaller
  1. Microwave on low to medium heat for roughly 3-5 minutes. Check intermittently to see where your flowers are.
  1. Take the container out and place the lid on top, but don’t seal it. Leave the flowers for a day or so to set.
  1. Use an aerosol hairspray to set.DSC_0430Smaller

Note: You can also place your flowers in silica beads for a period of days to dry them. As the beads absorb the residual moisture from the flowers, they will color slightly, indicating the moisture is gone.

Microwaving II

This process may leave your flowers slightly pressed, but doesn’t require the use of silica beads.

  1. Layer a few paper towels on a plate.DSC_0253Smaller
  1. Place blooms, stem down, on the paper towel and cover with another paper towel.
  1. Microwave for a minute at a time, checking and changing the paper towels as needed.
  1. Allow the flowers to cool completely before applying a sealing spray or using in decoration

Pressing Flowers

Some applications will require blooms that have been flattened. Pressed flowers are perfect for candles, paper crafts, and framing.DSC_0044Smaller

  1. DSC_0051SmallerGrab a heavy book and some paper towels.
  1. Place a layer of paper towels over the surface where you plan to let the flowers dry.
  1. Arrange the flower on the paper towel in the way you’d like it to be pressed.
  1. Put a few more paper towels on top and flatten everything with a heavy book.DSC_0066Smaller
  1. Leave for a couple of weeks, checking on the progress of your flowers and changing the paper towels as needed.DSC_0277Smaller

What to do With Dried Flowers

You may choose to keep the flowers as a memento from a special occasion. Find a decorated box and place your dried petals in it with a note detailing the momentous event. You could also place them in a shadow box picture frame around a related picture.DSC_0421Smaller

Dried flowers work well in homemade candles, and pressed flowers can be mod podged on a number of different materials from scrapbooks to boxes, journals, or canvases. Create a wreath that can be enjoyed year round, or refill your vase with your upcycled flowers to enjoy. Any way you use them keeps the memory of the gift alive and serves as a reminder of a special time in your life.DSC_0448Smaller

 

Photo Credit: Blooms Today

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