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Drying Flowers

Flowers that Dry Easily

Ageratum Aster Baby's Breath Bells-of-Ireland
Blue Sage
(And White)
Calendula Chinese Lantern Chrysanthemum
Cockscomb Coreopsis Cosmos Dahlia
Daisies Dianthus Goldenrod Globe Amaranth
Gloriosa Daisy Hydrangeas Larkspur Love-In-A-Mist
Seed Pods
Marigolds Money Plant Roses Salvia
Statice Strawflower Yarrow Zinnias

Ways to Dry Flowers

Experiment to find out which method you need to dry your particular flower.

Air Drying Flowers

  1. Cut them when the dew is gone and when their color is at its peak
  2. Remove the leaves
  3. Cut the stems to your desired length (but not shorter than six inches).
  4. Tying several stems together with string or pipe cleaner after the leaves are removed. Tie 6 to 10 stems together about two inches from the stem ends
  5. Hang upside down in a warm, dry, dark place until the moisture content is evaporated. An attic, closet or pantry is a good place to hang flowers for drying.
  6. Don’t group the bunches too close to one another. Good air circulation and low humidity is important
  7. Flowers dried in this manner are extremely stiff once dried.
  8. You can spray your dried flower with hairspray to give them some extra protection
  9. Some flowers that work well with this method: baby’s breath, cattail, statice, celosia, dock, goldenrod, heather and pussy willow, marigold, salvia, cosmos, zinnia, coreopsis and gloriosa daisy, ageratum, dahlia, calendula, chrysanthemum, dianthus, aster and daisies

Using Drying Agents

  • Sand, fresh kitty litter, a white cornmeal-and-borax mixture (proportion: (2 borax to 1 cornmeal), or silica gel can be used.
  • Flowers that are dried using drying agents are less stiff than those preserved with the "hang and dry" method
  • Flowers dry in about 10 days if cornmeal is used, and about 16 days of drying is needed if sand is used.
  • Builders sand or play sand should first be washed thoroughly.
    • Put the sand in a bucket of water with a couple of squirts of liquid dishwashing detergent.
    • Stir it and pour off the water.
    • Continue to add fresh water and pouring it off until the added water remains clear.
    • Dry the clean sand. It may be placed in a 250 F oven on a cookie sheet to dry more quickly.
    • The flowers are either laid in an inch bed of sand with space scooped out so that they rest snugly
    • In the case of compact-headed blooms like zinnias, put them head first into the sand with wire supporting the stem
    • Cover only the petals and do not submerge the flower
    • Place the box in a well ventilated, warm room
    • Flowers that work well: sunflowers, roses, yarrow, larkspur, peony, lavender, delphinium, statice, and anemone
  • Silica Gel is appropriate for quick-drying flowers and for drying flowers with closely packed petals such as roses. The flowers will dry in about a week.
  • METHOD
    • Fill the bottom of a flat dish or cardboard box with 1 inch of the drying agent
    • Put in the flowers
    • Flat flowers like daisies or pansies are usually best placed face down
    • Most of the flowers with many petals like zinnias, marigolds, calendulas, mums, and aster do better facing up
    • Spikes of flowers like snapdragons and scarlet sage are placed horizontally
    • Now, carefully add more drying agent until the flowers are completely covered
    • Check after several days to see if flowers are dry because drying time varies. Dry Petals will feel like paper
    • After you've dried your flowers, put a strand of No. 2 florist's wire through each flower's head, securing the wire by bending it into a hood at the flower-head end
    • The final step is to wrap all wire with green floral tape

Microwave Oven

  1. Flowers with thick petals, such as magnolia and hyacinth, do not dry well in a microwave
  2. Select flowers just before they are fully opened. Fully opened flowers will often lose their petals after microwave drying
  3. Prepare a few flowers at a time in a small dish. Do not use a dish you might want to use for food again after this project
  4. Your flowers will dry to the shape of the bottom of your container if you do not support them, so cover the bottom of the container with about an inch or two of silica gel
  5. Place your flowers in the gel with the flower blossom opening upward
  6. then gently pour gel over the flower to ensure all petals are positioned to dry properly being careful not to flatten them
  7. Since microwave temperatures vary, you will need to use trial and error. Start by setting the microwave on one or two levels above defrost for 2-5 minutes. If it doesn't seem to be drying, increase the heat or the time.
  8. Once your flowers have dried, take out of the microwave and immediately cover the container. Open the container a small amount, and let it sit for 24 hours

Pressing

  • Violets, pansies, larkspur and ferns preserve well when pressed
  • use unglazed paper, such as newsprint, a book or an old telephone book
  • Place the flowers so that they do not overlap between several thicknesses of the paper.
  • Weigh down with a heavy object
  • The time required for drying can be anywhere from two to four weeks

Storing Dried Flowers

  • Wrap them in newspaper, to prevent them from drawing in moisture from the air.
  • Put in a box so they don't get crushed

Please send questions or comments to: sue@designsbysusan.com

Copyright © 2007-2011 Susan Savad
Last Modified December 8, 2007