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What Is the Process for Drying Flowers?
There are many different processes for drying flowers, but each process slowly and evenly removes the moisture from your flowers while preserving the color and condition of the flower. Here are five methods for drying flowers.
- Air drying: Air drying is the most traditional method of drying flowers. To air-dry flowers, you bind a series of small bouquets and hang them upside down. This method takes two to four weeks to complete because it takes plenty of time for flowers to fully dry without some sort of accelerant. Air drying is great for making dried bouquets for table centerpieces or decorative accents around your home.
- Microwaving: Microwaving your flowers involves heating them in a microwave with a bowl of desiccant—like silica gel or cat litter—to help dry the plant without shriveling. The microwave method allows you to see the results within days rather than weeks and is best for flower heads or smaller plants rather than full bouquets.
- Desiccant method: You can simply submerge your flowers in a bed of desiccant—like kitty litter or silica gel—and let them sit for a few weeks to remove their moisture. This method takes longer than microwaving your flowers, but it can preserve their color more effectively.
- Baking: Baking your flowers to dry them involves putting your blooms in the oven at a low temperature and baking them for a couple of hours. This is a quick method for drying flowers, but you may lose a lot of petals in the process. Also, this method is not the best for preserving the color of your flowers.
- Pressing: Pressing flowers involves using heavy objects to squeeze the moisture out of a flower. Pressing is an effective way to dry flowers for crafts, artwork, or stationery.
What Types of Flowers Work Well for Drying?
Some examples of flowers that work best for drying include:
- Sturdy blossoms: Small and sturdy blossoms like hydrangeas, amaranth, lavender, baby’s breath, celosia, and strawflower do well with air-drying because they have a lesser water content than other flowers and hold up well during the long drying process.
- Flowers with multiple layers: Large, dense flowers or flowers with open-faced petals like roses, tulips, zinnias, and chrysanthemums can withstand the heat of the oven or microwave.
- Smaller or flatter flowers: Small or flat types of flowers with a single layer of petals are the best ones to press. Some flowers that can be pressed include daisies, pansies, lavender sprigs, and violas.
- Larger flowers: Big blooms or more delicate flowers should be kept in a sealed container of moisture-removing substance. Lilacs, pansies, dahlias, peonies, and daisies hold up well when dried in a desiccant.
7 Ways to Use Dried Flowers
Dried flowers have a number of uses, including the following.
- Potpourri: You can use dried flowers to create a blend of petals in a bowl or a sachet that adds fragrance and color to your home.
- Wedding bouquet: Dried flowers hold their shape and color longer than fresh flowers, which can make them a more reliable and attractive option for your wedding day.
- Flower crowns: String large dried flowers together for a flower crown if you’re looking for a creative accent to your wedding day look or something to complement your bridesmaids’ looks.
- Decorative bouquets: Dried flower bouquets provide an alternative to fresh bouquets that can maintain their appearance for way longer than fresh flowers.
- Scrapbooks: If you want to preserve a special bouquet of flowers you received from a loved one, you can dry the flowers as a keepsake like jewelry or bookmarks.
- Craft projects: You can add dried flowers to a number of DIY projects like handmade cards, candles, or wall art.
- Gifting: You can tie dried flowers to a gift with a ribbon for a creative accent to any holiday present.
5 Tips for Drying Flowers
For some tips on how to best dry your flowers, see the list below.
- Use fresh flowers. Pick flowers to dry that are just starting to open to maximize their shelf life and reduce the risk of petal loss. Cut your flowers only after the morning dew has just dried.
- Use healthy flowers. The healthiest flowers will hold their integrity for a longer amount of time, so make sure to pick flowers that are not wilted, damaged, or compromised for any reason.
- Dry your flowers out of direct sunlight. Dry your flowers out of direct sunlight, because the light will cause the color of your flowers to fade.
- Keep out of moisture. Choose a dry location free of humidity with a slight cross-breeze to dry your flowers.
- Preserve your flowers with hairspray. Spritz your flowers with hairspray once they are dry to help the dried flower hold its shape and prevent petal loss.
How to Air Dry Flowers
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For air drying flowers, you’ll need scissors, string, or a rubber band, and a dark, dry place to hang them. Here is an overview of how to air-dry flowers.
- Pick your flowers. Use sturdy flowers that will keep their petals for air drying. Pick as many flowers as you can, because you may lose some in the drying process.
- Strip and bunch your flowers. Separate your flowers by type, keeping the same species bundled together. Larger flowers should be individually dried. Remove all leaves and foliage from the stems and snip to the desired length. Limit your bundles to about three stems.
- Tie your stems together. Use a rubber band or twine to hold the plant stems together firmly without denting or creasing them. Keep in mind that your stems will shrink as they dry out.
- Hang your flowers. Hang your flowers upside down in the open air. You can tie the flowers to a stick with a piece of twine, keeping the bundles at least six inches apart. If you don’t have a natural place to hang your flowers, you can use a hanger or hook. When your petals are crisp, they are fully dried. The drying process can take anywhere from two to four weeks but may take longer depending on the size of your bundles.
How to Microwave Flowers
Microwaving flowers with the help of a desiccant to remove moisture is a process that takes a day rather than weeks. For using the microwave method, all you need is a microwave, scissors, desiccant, and a cup of water. Here is an overview of how to dry flowers in the microwave.
- Remove the foliage. Strip your flowers of any remaining leaves and snip the stem so it can fit into your microwave-safe container.
- Cover your flower with desiccant. Before placing your flower in the container, fill it with a layer of moisture-absorbing desiccant like silica, then place your flower on top. With your flower on top of your first silica layer, fill up the rest of the container with silica.
- Place in the microwave with a cup of water. Place the container with your flower in the microwave along with a measuring cup of water which will help from the flower drying out too much.
- Heat in increments. Heat your flower in the microwave at 30-second increments. Once the petals feel dry, remove the flower from the microwave. Leave the flower in the silica for at least another 24 hours before removing, cleaning the flower off, and displaying it.
How to Dry Flowers With a Desiccant
If you don’t own a microwave, flowers can also be dried in a container of desiccant. It may take up to a week to dry your flowers, but this method will eventually dry them out and help maintain their color. Here is an overview of how to dry flowers in a desiccant.
- Choose your desiccant. You can use silica gel with a little salt or simple kitty litter to wick the moisture out of your flowers. Choose a large container and pour in your desiccant to create a bed for your flowers. Consider using a mask and gloves when working with the desiccant.
- Remove the foliage. Strip your flowers of any remaining leaves and snip the stem so it can fit into your container. Depending on the size of your container, you may need to trim the stems of your flowers.
- Cover your flower in desiccant. Submerge your flowers in the desiccant and cover it with a lid to lock it in.
- Let your flowers dry. Your flowers may take two to seven days to dry. Check on them in about five days to see their progress. Once the petals are dried out, they are ready to be displayed. Clean off the excess sand and display.
How to Dry Flowers in the Oven
Baking your flowers in the conventional oven is a quick and easy way to dry them out. Your flowers may lose petals or color in the oven, this method is best if you’re making potpourri. Here is a quick overview of how to dry flowers in the oven.
- Remove the foliage. Strip your flowers of any remaining leaves because the greenery may not dry well in the oven. Lay them out on a baking rack that is placed on a cookie sheet.
- Bake your flowers. Bake your flowers for about two hours in a conventional oven heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Check on your flowers after an hour. If they are shriveling, you can remove them.
- Let your flowers dry. Once your flowers have cooled off, they are ready to use.
How to Press Flowers
All you need to press flowers is parchment or wax paper, and a heavy book or flat object. Here is a brief overview of how to dry flowers.
- Pick the right flowers. Choose flat flowers or flowers with thick petals because these are the friendliest flowers for pressing.
- Lay your flowers between paper. Sandwich your flowers between two pieces of parchment or wax paper and lay them flat on a table. You can also open a large, thick book to the middle and line the pages with non-stick paper.
- Apply pressure. Place a heavy, flat object on top of the paper containing your flower or gently close the book you’re drying your flowers in. Leave your pressed flowers in a warm, dark, and dry location.
- Replace the drying paper. After a week or so, check your flowers. Replace the used paper with fresh, dry paper, but be careful because your flowers will be in a very delicate state. Repeat the process until the flowers have completely dried, which may take up to four weeks.
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