Receiving or giving flowers is a great way to mark a special occasion or simply brighten up a room. A lot of thought goes into picking flowers for any arrangement, and so they deserve more than just being thrown out to be wasted once they eventually wither.
Flowers are very naturally very sentimental, so it's always a little depressing when they start to wilt because you wanted to them to last forever.
The good news is that you can do just that, and it's not even too difficult. Drying and pressing flowers has become a popular pastime and great way to save your flowers and memories. Now I'm going to teach you how to preserve fresh flowers so you can enjoy them for as long as possible.
There are a few important factors to consider before you dry your flowers.
- If you have bouquets, robust flowers like roses or small and long-lasting types like lavender, air drying is the best method.
- Delicate flowers like lilies should be preserved using pressing methods.
- Individual flowers (daisies, roses, tulips and chrysanthemums) are good for microwave drying as this preserves the color and structure.
- If you have fully mature blooms remember that these are likely to lose their petals during drying, so if you are thinking of saving your flowers, make sure you start the drying process early enough.
How To Air Dry Flowers
Now that you've learned the very basics of drying flowers, it's time to learn how to preserve flowers forever - as long as they're carefully taken care of.
Natural Air Drying
The ideal time to start drying your flowers is right after they open. You want to clean the leaves and trim the stems to no shorter than six inches. In order to preserve their color, make sure you remove the flowers from any sunlight as soon as they are cut. Rubber band a bunch together, making sure each bundle only has about 10 flowers.
You can also choose to hang them individually.
The ideal places for drying flowers are dark and dry with good air circulation, like an unused closet or attic. Using unflavored dental floss attache the bundle or individual flowers to a hanger. Hang them upside down for between two and four weeks and if necessary you can spray with hairspray to preserve them.
Microwave DryingYou can speed up the drying process by using a microwave. You will need a desiccant like cat litter or silica gel to absorb the moisture. Add this to a microwavable bowl add your flowers, then more desiccant until they are covered. Heat for two minutes. If they are not dry you can continue to heat in one minute intervals until drying is complete.
Drying with Silica GelUsing silica gel helps to keep flowers looking like they are straight from the garden. You can get this from craft stores and is ideal when working with sturdy flowers like roses. Cover the flowers completely in a bowl full of silica gel and leave for a few days to a week. After this time, you will uncover beautiful, vibrant and well-preserved flowers.
Lazy DryingLetting flowers dry in a vase requires the least amount of effort; leave the stalks in a few inches of water and ignore them. The water will evaporate away and your flowers will be left upright but dry. This method works well for baby's breath and hydrangeas because tender stalks can droop over time. Add a ribbon or other decoration and leave the flowers in the vase as a table-piece.
How To Press Flowers
Pressing is another popular method of preserving roses and other blooms.
Pressing With an Iron
Using an iron takes about five minutes. Place your flowers between parchment paper and then place this between two paper towels. Make sure there is no water in the iron and set it at a medium heat. Press the flowers for about ten seconds and life the iron. Repeat this process for about three minutes.
Press With Books
Using books is the most basic way to press flowers. Arrange the flowers how you want them on paper and be sure to keep them apart from each other. If they are touching when pressed, they will become stuck together. Cover the flowers with paper and place them in a book. Add extra books on top for additional weight and leave them for two to four weeks.
Press In the Microwave
Just like with drying, the microwave speeds processes up. Get two pieces of cardboard and place paper towels on one of them. Arrange your flowers on the paper towels, then cover with more paper towels. Place the other piece of cardboard on top and secure the whole thing with a rubber band. Microwave for two minutes and them leave to cool for fifteen to twenty. Repeat this process until you have dry and pressed flowers. You can opt to use cat litter too. Place flowers one a ta time in the microwaveable bowl and cover with cat litter. Heat for two or three minutes and remove the cat litter once it has cooled.
The various techniques mentioned can help you to keep flowers shape or vibrancy or even keep their smell. You can make decorations, a lasting piece of art or potpourri. Not only can you save the flowers from special occasions to treasure always, but you can make thoughtful homemade gifts for your friends and family.