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How to Dry Flowers

Here are some easy ways to preserve flowers’ beauty for bouquets, arrangements, crafts and wreaths. You can press them between the pages of a large book or a flower press. You can also dry flowers in the attic, in the microwave or in a box of silica.

You will want to choose flowers that look good for drying because they lose some of their form when dried. Pick flowers in different stages of development like buds, opening flowers and open flowers. They’ll look better and more realistic in bouquets, arrangements and crafts. The flowers will continue opening while they dry.

Pick flowers that look good for drying. Yellow, blue, orange and pink flowers are more likely to keep their color. Purple and red flowers will seem darker and white flowers may become cream or tan colored.

The flowers should not be damp. Wait two days after a rain. Pick the flowers in the late morning or early afternoon when they are dry but not wilted from the heat of the sun. Pick flowers that are at their peak or nearing it before they begin to fade. Mature flowers may lose petals when they are drying. It is best to dry the flowers soon after you pick them. If you aren’t going to dry the flowers when you pick them you can keep them in a bucket of lukewarm water in a cool dry place for 24 hours.

Pressing Flowers

Flowers that seem flat can be pressed. You can preserve these flowers by pressing:

California poppies, chrysanthemums, clematis, columbine, coneflowers, croci, dahlias, delphiniums, dusty miller, freesia, geraniums, goldenrod, hydrangea, larkspur, lobelia, marigolds, pansies, primrose, sage, tulips and windflowers.

Put the flowers between two pieces of paper so you don’t stain the book’s pages. If you’re pressing more than one flower, there should be several pages at least 1/8 inch between the flowers being pressed in the book. Put a weight on the book to press the flowers for approximately two weeks. Continue to press the flowers until they have no moisture and they feel papery.

Silica Drying

Flowers keep their shape and color best when they are dried in silica. Put silica in a box big enough for the flowers. Put about an inch of silica in the bottom of the box. Then arrange the flowers in the silica so they are not touching. Add a half inch of silica to cover the flowers. Leave the flowers in the silica for two to seven days.

Microwave Drying

Microwave drying times will vary. You will have to watch the flowers and dry them with a trial and error method. For your initial attempt dry the flowers for two minutes on a high setting. Put the flowers between folded paper towels. Put a lightweight plate on them so the leaves and petals won’t curl. Put a small container of water in the microwave while drying flowers. If they aren’t dry after two minutes continue drying them for 5 – 10 second intervals until they are dry.

Air Drying or Hanging

Hang flowers in a warm dry place with ventilation like an attic, shed, storage room or garage. The flowers’ color will fade in direct sunlight and they won’t dry properly in damp places. So remember to dry them in a dry room away from the sunny spots.

Dry the flowers and plants by tying them together and hanging them upside down in a dry room. Remove the leaves before drying if they won’t be part of the craft or arrangement. Tie the plants or flowers together or use a rubber band to hold them together. Tie 3 – 7 plants or flowers together two inches from the ends of the stems. Put different lengths of flowers together so the blooms are in different places. Check the plants to see if they’re dry. The flowers are dry when they feel dry, papery and stiff and the stems aren’t flexible and snap when you bend them. The drying process can take one to three weeks.

Remember to spray the dried flowers with a floral sealer, clear lacquer or clear craft spray. You can also spray them with hair spray. This will help keep the flowers’ colors and shapes and prevent them from breaking.

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