Do you want your home to stay in bloom even during winter? You can achieve this by drying your favorite flowers. There are so many ways to do this and the most fun is experimenting to find which method works best for different species.
Method 1 of 5: Air dry flowers
Step 1. Choose your flowers
Most flowers air dry best when they are just starting to open. They will continue to do so lightly as they dry. A flower that is already fully open risks losing its petals. This method works best with small, sturdy flowers, such as lavender or larkspur.
Once they are dry, you will notice more that they wither and will be more vulnerable to pests. Pick only the best flowers and set a few more aside if you have a problem
Step 2. Prepare the flowers by making lumps
Remove all leaves from the stems. Separate the flowers by species, then make lumps of 10 flowers of one species. On the other hand, large flowers like hydrangeas, roses and peonies must be dried individually.
Helichrysum and some other species have fragile stems that break off when dry. Cut them and run florists' thread around the base of the flower
Step 3. Tie the end of each root ball with a rubber band
Pass a fairly large elastic around two or three stems, make several turns around the root ball, then finish by passing it around two or three stems. The stems will crumble when they dry, but the elastic will hold them together.
The elastic should not be so tight as to bend the stems: this can create wet pockets and cause rotting. If you're worried about this, tie the root ball with twine or raffia instead. You will likely need to re-tie the twine as it dries
Step 4. Hang the clods upside down
Keep them in a warm, dark and dry place so that they do not rot and fade little. Air circulation helps the flowers to dry out and not rot, so store your clods spaced apart in a well-ventilated place at least six inches from the ceiling.
You can hang the flowers on a hook, nails or a coat rack. Bending an S-shaped paperclip is an easy way to do this. Pass one end of the paper clip through the elastic and the other end over the hook
Step 5. Wait between 2 and 4 weeks
Your flowers will be ready when the petals are crisp to the touch. A root ball may take more than four weeks to dry. This is usually because the room is not perfect or the petals are particularly thick.
Usually the stems dry straight. If you want to make them look more natural and curvy, soak them in hot water until they soften. Bend them as you like and keep them in that position with the help of weights until they dry again
Step 6. Preserve your flowers using hairspray (optional)
A light haze of hairspray will keep their shape. They will be less prone to breakage and falling petals.
Method 2 of 5: Use a microwave and a desiccator
Step 1. Choose your flowers
Microwaving works best with flowers that have many petals and are not hairy or sticky on the surface. Roses, zinnias, and marigolds are good choices, although varieties with thick petals might not work. Pick flowers when they are half open and firm, before their petals start to droop.
Cut the stems quite short, to 2.5-5 cm
Step 2. Tie the flowers (optional)
The rods will no longer be flexible once they are microwaved. If you want your flowers to be curved when you arrange them, wrap 20-24 gauge wire around the base of the flowers and then wrap it around the stems.
If the base of your flowers is not strong, pass the thread through the middle of the flowers and around the stem. Hide the wire as much as possible so that it is not visible
Step 3. Pour your desiccator into a microwave safe container
A desiccator is a substance that absorbs moisture. Silica gel is the best option for fragile, colorful petals, but you can use kitty litter or mix borax and white cornmeal in equal parts. Fill the container in a layer of 2.5 to 5 cm.
Step 4. Bury the flowers in the desiccator
Place them straight and space them at least 2 cm apart. Pour more desiccator over the flowers to bury them.
- Use a toothpick to arrange the petals if they curl.
- Start with one or two flowers in case they end up burnt. This will be easier as you learn what length is suitable for a given flower.
Step 5. Put a bowl of water in the microwave
A shallow bowl of water will absorb some of the microwave energy. This will prevent accidental burns and overdrying.
Step 6. Start your microwave
Put the container in the microwave and heat it for 2 minutes. Prick the desiccator with a toothpick to see if the flowers are dry. If not, heat at one-minute intervals, checking between each minute.
This step can take a lot of trial and error, as there are many variations between flowers and the microwave. Some fine flowers such as daisies tolerate microwaves better on low power, just a little above the defrost mode. Others that have many thick petals can take up to 8 minutes in medium to high temperatures
Step 7. Let cool for a whole day
Remove the container from the microwave. Cover it by lifting the lid slightly and do not touch it for 24 hours. The desiccator (especially silica gel) may take a long time to cool down to the correct temperature.
- Leave dahlias, pansies and peonies free for 36 hours. Bigger and thicker flowers like roses and carnations might be ready after 10 hours.
- Store everything out of the reach of children and animals.
Step 8. Brush the desiccator
Once the container has cooled, gently tap it to expose the flowers. Gently collect the flowers by holding them by their base. Brush them with a small brush.
You can also preserve them with hairspray
Method 3 of 5: Squeeze them
Step 1. Choose your flowers
Pressing them works best with small, flat flowers like pansies and lilacs. Do not take flowers with fleshy stems or extremely thin petals: they will eventually deteriorate.
Step 2. Lay your flowers on dry paper
Choose a matte, non-glossy paper like newspaper, cardboard, or tissue paper. Arrange your flowers in a single layer, then cover them with another sheet of dry paper.
The more absorbent material you use, the more beautiful your flowers will be. Try putting your flowers in newspaper, newspaper in blotting paper, and blotting paper in corrugated cardboard. Tape the entire stack to seal it
Step 3. Squeeze the flowers
Put them under a large object, the weight of which is evenly distributed. Usually, dictionaries or encyclopedias are good options, but you can also use heavy boxes or pieces of wood.
Store in a warm, dry place
Step 4. Wait 1-3 weeks
After the first week, remove the flowers and replace the paper with new, dry leaves. Then put the flowers back under the weights so that the pressure continues.
Step 5. Remove the weights
When the flowers have been pressed for a few weeks, remove the weights and paper and take out your flowers. They should be crisp, as thin as paper and transparent or almost transparent.
Method 4 of 5: Dry them in a convection oven
Step 1. Prepare your flowers
Cut a piece of wire mesh large enough to hold all of the flowers. Next, slide the stems through the holes in the wire mesh so that the flower buds hold the flower upright and the stem hangs down.
The best kiln-drying flowers are those that are compact and have many petals. Blueberries and chrysanthemums are one of them
Step 2. Heat on low for several hours
Set your oven to 40 ° C and place the wire mesh containing the flowers on the notches. The low heat will slowly dry the flowers: leave them in the oven for several hours. The complete drying time will vary depending on the type and number of flowers you are using.
A well ventilated convection oven will give better results. Do not try this method with a normal oven: it is too humid and its minimum temperature usually exceeds 40 ° C
Step 3. Remove the flowers
Once they have completely dried, you can remove them from the oven and place them on a rack to cool. Wait for them to come back to room temperature to handle them.
Apply hairspray to make your flowers sturdier and last longer
Method 5 of 5: Bury them in the desiccator
Step 1. Choose your flowers
This method is best for large, fragile flowers like lilies, but also for those that do not shed their petals easily. Ideally, pick your flowers when they are half open and dry them immediately.
Step 2. Choose your desiccator
A desiccator is an extraabsorbent material that will slowly draw water from your flowers. Whichever desiccator you choose, it must be completely dry to be effective. Here are the most common options:
- silica gel: this is the fastest option, you will find it in garden centers. Even if it is more expensive, you can reuse it several times (see the "tips" section below),
- borax and white cornmeal: it's an inexpensive and light choice. Mix in equal parts or with 1 part borax and 6 parts cornmeal. There shouldn't be a lot of difference,
- fine sand: it will follow the shape of the flowers and allow the air to dry them. It is the slowest solution, but it is often the cheapest.
Step 3. Add non-iodized salt (optional)
Some people say that the salt helps the petals keep their color, even if other people disagree. Try with 3 tablespoons of salt per liter of other material (15 ml per liter).
Step 4. Choose a container
If you have a large amount of material, choose a container that can hold an entire stem. Most people cut off the stem and only leave the bud to fit in a shallow container. The adjustments differ depending on the material:
- for silica gel, use a container that you can seal tightly. A coffee box is a good choice for a single flower,
- for borax and sand, use an open container. A sturdy cardboard box is fine, but first check that there are no holes in the bottom.
Step 5. Bury your flowers in the desiccator
Pour your material into the container in a 2.5 to 5 cm layer. Put the flowers straight into the material, making sure they are stable. Gently pour more desiccant over the flowers until they are buried.
- If you are using sand, there is no need to bury the flowers completely. Much of the sand is used to support them, and exposure to air will help dry out the petals.
- Flowers of the daisy family dry best upside down. Some flowers, such as snapdragons and larkspur, dry best horizontally.
- If the stems are still present, fill the container as much as possible to hold them.
Step 6. Wait until they are dry
Store the container in a warm, dry place. If you are using an open container, keep it in a well-ventilated room. Check after a few days by using a toothpick to examine the petals and test for dryness.
- Silica gel is the fastest way to dry flowers: most of them only take 2-4 days to fully dry, while thicker ones can take up to a week. When the silica gel turns pink, it will have absorbed as much moisture as possible.
- Borax mixtures take 5-14 days to dry out the flowers.
- Sand is the slowest and takes 14-21 days.
Step 7. Gently collect the flowers
Set the container on its side and pat its sides together until the flowers are visible. Gently remove the dried flowers, holding them by their base. Remove any material residue with a small brush.
- If the material sticks to the flowers, pour a net of sand at a height of 30 cm above the flowers. It should dislodge the trapped particles.
- Removing the flowers too early can cause sagging. Test the edges first to see if the flowers are crisp before picking them up.
- The lacquer will delay breakage.
- You can also dry decorative flower buds like the ones you find on poppies or damask nigella. Nail chicken wire or floral netting between two boards. Place each button in its own hole and let the stem hang down.
- Your dried flowers will be a little darker. White flowers will turn brown, while dark reds or mauves may turn black. Yellow flowers tend to keep more or less the same color.
- Silica gel turns pink when it absorbs moisture. To dry it out and have it serve you again, put it on a sheet of baking paper and put it in the oven at 120 ° C for 2-3 hours.