Drying flowers can take a matter of minutes to weeks, depending on the technique you use, but all techniques leads to a lifetime of memories.
The key to beautiful, fragrant dried flowers is starting with the freshest flowers possible. If you are using flowers from your own garden, make sure to pick them when they are at they’re perkiest (morning or night). If can’t find what you want in your own garden, going to a farmers’ market is a good bet.
Using the Microwave
This is a great technique if you’re in a hurry. In a microwave, drying flowers can take minutes not weeks. Select a variety of flowers from your garden (or bouquet) that are just beginning to open. You want to make sure the flowers are dry and insect free. Start by pouring 4 cups of cat litter into a microwavable bowl.
Next, push aside some of the cat litter, and place the flower in the bowl. Gently cover the flower with some of the cat litter until the flower is completely covered. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. When the cat litter has cooled, remove the flower and place it on a dry cool surface. Brush off the excess litter with a paint brush or basting brush. Repeat the process for the rest of the flowers, microwaving one at a time.
Using Silica Gel
If you want your flowers to look just like they did in your garden, trying using silica gel. The sandy-like substance can be found at craft stores. Bury your blooms in a large container of silica gel. In a few days to a week, gently uncover vibrant, preserved flowers. The flowers will come out slightly darker than their original color.
The best flowers for this method include: roses, zinnias, dahlias, daisies and peonies.
Using the Press Method
To use dried flowers for more than household decorating, use the pressed method. Take an encyclopedia or other heavy book like a phone 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.
The Hanging Method
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, like from kitchen rafters or in an empty closet. Watch the petals shrink and change color, and within a few weeks you’ll have beautiful dried flowers in vintage hues. Try arranging them to make this table centerpiece.
The best flowers for this method include: roses, larkspur, strawflowers, grasses, herbs, lavender, tansy and yarrow. When picking the flowers, it’s important to remember the flowers will shrink by 50% or more and to fade and darken in color.
The Vase Method
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. Simply use the vase as a table decoration or remove the flowers, tie a ribbon around the stems and hang on the wall.
The best choices for this method include baby’s breath, pearly everlasting, bachelor’s button, and hydrangea. The key is that they can’t have “tender” stocks that will tend to droop.