How To Dry Flowers

dryflowers

Often, a flower bouquet is so beautiful, one wants to preserve it forever.  The following easy-to-follow guide shows you that it is possible to dry and preserve flowers, while retaining their fragile beauty.  Special memories can be kept close for years bydrying flowers and turning them into decorative arrangements.  Whether, your dried flower bouquet is hung on its own or added to another crafts-related project, its delicate beauty will always haunt you.

But, before you begin, it is important to assess whether your flower bouquet will dry well.  Blooms should not be fully mature, as they will lose their petals during the drying process.  One must also consider the type of flowers one uses for preservation purposes.  The air drying process works well for more robust varieties, such as, roses or smaller, long-lasting varieties like lavender.  Other preservation techniques like pressing are needed for more delicate flowers like lilies.  Gerbera daisies, chrysanthemums, roses, and tulips can be dried far more successfully using the microwave than by air drying, as the former preserves their colour and structure better than air drying.



How To Air Dry Flowers Using Everyday Household Items
Begin by stripping excess foliage from your flowers and cut the stems to the desired length, though not shorter than six inches.  To maintain the flower colours during the drying process, it is important they be removed and kept away from sunlight as soon as they’re cut.  Rubber band bunches of stems together if you would like to hang a bouquet, or leave the stems be if you’d like to hang the flowers individually.

Hang up to dry in a dark, dry area that has good circulation like an unused closet.  Secure the bottom end of the flower’s stem to a hanger with some unflavoured dental floss.  You can hang two flowers / bunches on each hanger on each side, or hang just one flower / bunch in the middle.  Once secure, hang flowers upside down to dry.  Leave your flowers there for a good two to three weeks and make sure not to remove them until they are completely dry.



Once, they are dry, remove flowers from the hangers and spray them with hairspray to give some extra protection.  You can now hang your dried flowers around the house as you please, or remove the petals to make potpourri.  Place your dried flowers in cool, shaded areas as they do not like sunlight or extreme heat.

How To Dry Flowers With A Microwave
You will have to visit the craft store for a microwave-safe container to hold your flowers, if you wish to dry flowers in the microwave.  Do not use a dish you may use for food again after this project.  To help flowers maintain their shape, you will need to support them with an inch or two of silica gel covering the bottom of the container.  Flowers should be placed in the gel with the flower blossom opening upward, and then the gel should be poured over the flower to ensure all petals are positioned to dry properly.

Microwave temperature and time varies from flower to flower, the right recipe can only be found through trial and error.  Place the uncovered container in the microwave and start the microwave one or two levels above defrost for 2-5 minutes.  Roses are able to withstand more heat than daisies, which prefer lower temperatures.  Start by microwaving for a short amount of time and check your flower’s progress periodically.  If it doesn’t seem to be drying, you can increase heat and time accordingly.



Once the 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 centimetre, and let 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!  freshly baked flowers!

Flowers, with fragile petals, like anemones, daisies, pansies, and zinnias are best dried with silica gel.  Spread a one-inch layer of silica gel in the bottom of a shallow container and place the flowers on top of it. Cover the flowers with another inch of silica gel and seal the container tightly.  Leave it undisturbed for 3-5 days.  Remove blossoms carefully and brush off crystals gently to avoid damaging the flowers.

Flowers with firm and brittle petals like strawflowers are very easy to preserve and can be dried using the wiring method.  Simply, clip the bloom from the plant just beneath the head as the stem doesn’t dry well.  Then insert a 20-gauge wire through the stem end of the flower head, stick the other end of the wire into a foam board.  Leave it to dry for 3 weeks.


Or, press flowers between the pages of heavy books.  The best flowers for this method are pansy, coral-bells, lily, hardy geranium, and bellflower.  Fold a paper towel over the flowers with leaves you want to press.  Make sure not to overlap the petals.  Set a heap of heavy books on top of it for two weeks

Last but not least use dried flowers in flower arrangements.  Arrange them in a basket, paste them in homemade bookmarks, gifts and cards, or place them in vases.  To store dried flowers, wrap them carefully in newspaper and place them in dry cool place, dusting them occasionally with a feather duster or blow dryer to make them look fresh and clean.



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