How to Dry Flowers
Would you like to keep your house full of flowers right through the winter? You can do it by drying your favorite blossoms with a few easy methods at home. This provides you with a frugal and beautiful decoration for your home.
1. Choose your flowers. You can dry any type of flower, but fresh, full, healthy flowers are the best. Avoid wilted or unhealthy flowers as these will appear to be dead when dried. Strip each of the flower stems of all leaves, so that they are smooth till the flower bud.
2. Separate your bundles. When you hang-dry flowers, each type of flower should be gathered into individual bundles. Large flowers, such as roses, should be left out of your drying bundles altogether.
3. Tie the bunches of flowers. Wrap a piece of twine around each bundle several times near the base of the stems, tying it with a knot or bow. Be sure that the twine is tight enough that the flowers will not slip out when hung.
4. Hang the bunches. Place wall hooks in a cool, dry location where the flowers will not be disturbed. Hang the bundles of flowers on the hooks by the twine in such a way that they are not protruding from an odd angle. The flowers will dry in the same direction as they are hung, so try to make sure all the buds are facing the ground.
5. Wait. Leave the flowers for 2-4 weeks to dry thoroughly. If the flowers begin to slip during the drying process, retie them and hang again. Otherwise, avoid touching them during the drying period. When they are finished, give them a light misting with an aerosol hairspray to help set their shape.
Drying Flowers with Borax and Cornmeal
1. Gather your supplies. Get a tightly sealed container, borax (available at craft and home supply stores), cornmeal, and your flowers of choice. If you don’t have cornmeal, a common substitute is sand.
- For this method, avoid using flowers that are very dainty and delicate, as the petals may fall off in the process.
- Although there is debate, adding a tablespoon of iodized salt to the mixture may help the color of the flower petals to remain vibrant.
2. Create your mixture. Fill your container with one part of borax to one part of cornmeal. The borax works to dry out the flowers, while the cornmeal holds them in place without weighing them down or damaging their petals. Fill enough in your container so that your flowers will be completely covered.
3. Add your flowers. Place them in the container by setting them onto the mixture, and then spooning it over the tops of the petals. It may be helpful to make a little divot in the sand where the flower bud will rest so that it doesn’t dry at an angle. Be sure to cover all the flower completely, and then seal the container with the lid.
4. Wait. You may have to wait anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the moisture content of the flowers and air. Check on the flowers occasionally to see if they are drying the way you want them to. After enough time has passed, you can remove them from the borax/cornmeal mixture. Brush off any excess powder, and enjoy your newly dried flowers.
Drying Flowers with Silica
1. Fill a container with silica. Use a resealable container big enough to fit your flowers, and fill it with a layer of silica gel beads. They should be deep enough to completely cover the flowers you are drying.
2. Immerse the flowers in the gel. Use flowers with large petals for the best results. Place your flower sin the gel beads, and spoon the beads over any petals or parts of the stem that sticks out. Be sure that the flowers are completely covered.
3. Wait. Silica gel is the fastest means of drying flowers, with most taking only 2-3 days to dry completely. Certain types of flowers may take up to 5 days, but the total drying time should never be more than 5. Silica gel turns pink when it has absorbed as much moisture as it can, which is typically the indicator that your flowers are finished drying.
4. Remove the flowers. Carefully take them out of the silica, removing any beads that may have gotten caught. They should be completely finished drying, and ready for use!
5. Re-dry the silica beads. Once the silica has turned pink, it has absorbed as much moisture as it can take in. To remove all the moisture and make the silica good as new again, spread the beads on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 200 degrees. This may take upwards of one hour, but will remove all the moisture and prepare the silica for future use.
1. Choose your flowers. Although hang-drying and dessicant drying lend themselves to big, thick flowers, pressing flowers is done best with small flat buds. Choose flowers that don’t have a very round stem or bud. Traditional pressed flowers include pansies and lilacs.
2. Place the flowers on dry paper. Use a matte, non-glossy paper such as newspaper, cardboard, tissue paper to line your flowers. Lay them in whatever pattern you would like, knowing that they will be pressed this way. When you have arranged your flowers how you like, place another sheet of dry paper over the top.
3. Press the flowers. Place them under something that has a large, evenly dispersed weight. Typically, dictionaries or encyclopedias are a good option for this, but you could also use heavy boxes or pieces of wood.
4. Wait. Give 1-3 weeks of time for the flowers to be press-dried completely. After the first week, remove the flowers and replace the paper with fresh dry sheets. Then put the flowers back under the weights to continue pressing them.
5. Remove the weights. After the flowers have been left for a few weeks, take off the weights and papers and pull our your flowers. These are best used displayed as art or framed because they will be completely flat.
Microwaving Your Flowers
1. Choose your flowers. To microwave the moisture out of your flowers, it is best to choose small, flat buds or foliage. Herbs can also be microwaved dry, and then stored for use later.
2. Lay the flowers on a paper towel. These don’t need to be arranged in a specific order, but should not layer or touch each other on the towel. Do these in small batches if you have many flowers you are trying to dry this way.
3. Heat the flowers in the microwave. Place the paper towel with the flowers in the microwave, and heat them on medium to high for one minute. If they are still not dry after this time, replace the used paper towel with a dry one and repeat the process.
4. Remove the flowers. Once all the moisture has been taken out via the microwave, take them off the used paper towel. Leave them to cool off for at least ten minutes before using them for your decorative project.
Oven-Drying Your Flowers
1. Prepare your flowers. The best flowers to be oven-dried are ones with large buds and stems like chrysanthemums and zinnias. Cut a piece of chicken-wire or fine-mesh wire in a big enough size for all your flowers to fit. Then, slide the stems through the holes in the wire, so that the bud holds the body of the flower up while the stem dangles below.
2. Place them in the oven. With your oven heated to 100 degrees, put the wire with the flowers onto the rack. The low heat will dry the flowers slowly; leave them in the oven for several hours. The total drying time will vary based on the type and number of flowers you used.
3. Remove the flowers. Once the flowers have dried completely, you can remove them from the oven and set them on a drying rack to cool down. Wait until they are back to room temperature before doing any projects with them.
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