How to dry flowers at home
Whether we receive flowers to welcome a new baby, to celebrate a special birthday milestone, or to express love and romance, flowers often coincide with life’s biggest milestones. They provide a lovely expression of someone’s thoughts and sentiments, but what happens when the blooms inevitably fade?
There are several ways to preserve your flowers, and make the memories last, and part of the fun is experimenting to find out which works best for each species.
Hanging bouquets upside down is the most traditional technique for drying flowers. Gather the flowers in a bunch and secure the stems with a rubber band. Hang upside down in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.
Garden shed – this can be really good in the warmer months as sheds that are not 100% shaded warm up during the day to desiccate your flowers, and their drafty nature is a bonus in this situation where good airflow is needed. Just watch out for leaky roofs spoiling your collection!
Spare room – make sure the radiator is on in that room, and leave the door open a little to improve air circulation.
Above a radiator
If you have an inconspicuous corner, hang some flowers up above the radiator to dry, but beware of radiators below windows as they can lead to inconsistent temperatures and fading of the blooms. If you have a radiator cover which acts as a shelf, lay out flower heads to dry flat on some kitchen roll.
The lazy way
Drying flowers in a vase is effortless. Place the stalks in a few inches of water and forget about them. Once all the water is evaporated, the flowers should be upright and perky, but dry.
If you have read this article and still don’t think there is somewhere suitable in your house for drying flowers but would like to give it a go, why not try one of these methods:
You can use this pretty much anywhere but warmer rooms help the flowers to dry quickly in the press.
Take an encyclopedia or other heavy book. Line a page with parchment or wax paper and arrange flowers face down so they don’t overlap. Close the book and leave untouched for seven to 10 days. Once all the moisture is gone and they have a papery texture, use your pressed flowers to make bookmarks, stationary, or fill a picture frame for pretty wall art.
A desiccant is an extra-absorbent material, that will slowly pull out water from your flowers. Whichever desiccant you choose must be completely dry to be effective.
This is the best way to dry large, delicate flowers such as lilies, as long as the flower doesn’t drop its petals too easily. Ideally, pick the flowers when they’re about half open, and dry immediately.
Pour your material into the container, to a depth of 1–2 inches (2.5–5cm). Place the flowers upright in the material, making sure they’re stable. Sift or slowly pour more desiccant on top of them, until they are buried.
You can purchase silica gel at most local craft stores. The name is misleading as it isn’t really a gel, but more like a fine sand. Read more
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