How to dry flowers

How to dry flowers

From weddings to graduations, there are so many events where flowers can hold significant meaning for the people involved. They can sometimes act as a memento for the occasion, and it can be challenging to part with them when they inevitably start to die. 

Luckily, we have a solution!

Drying your flowers is a straightforward and effortless way to keep hold of those blooms that have sentimental value to you. This process can be easily done at home and can increase the lifespan of your flowers from a week to multiple years. 

But you might be wondering where to even begin with this process.

In this article, we have accumulated our top methods for drying your flowers, from microwaving to pressing them, and included our best care tips to ensure that your flowers stay in top condition for as long as possible.  

How to Air dry flowers

A very common common method of drying flowers is air drying. This method has been used for centuries to dry herbs and plants for medicinal purposes but has since been adopted for floral arrangements. All you have to do is allow nature to do most of the work while you get on with your week (or weeks plural, depending on the size of your flowers). We recommend this method to anyone working with bouquets or more extensive floral arrangements and who has a lot of time on their hands.  

  • Start by removing loose foliage from your flower stems; this can be done by hand or with a specialised tool.
  • You will then want to group your stems into small bunches of around three to four (if you are working with a bouquet, you won’t need this step).
  • Use some string to tie the bottom of your stems, then hang them upside down from a hook or ledge in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. 
  • In two to three weeks, check on your flowers to see if they have thoroughly dried and if so, you can start arranging them in whatever way suits your needs. 

How to dry flowers in the microwave

If you need a faster method of drying your flowers, you’re in luck. Microwaving as a method of drying flowers is quick and straightforward; it just requires a few extra components. You will need silica gel as it helps to preserve the shape of your blooms, which can be found in any craft store. 

  • Start by filling a microwaveable bowl with an inch or two of silica gel (another alternative desiccant would be cat litter if you cannot get your hands on silica gel). 
  • Carefully place your flowers into the bowl, with the blossoms facing upwards, and pour more gel over the petals until they are covered. Take care not to flatten or deshape your blooms during this step. 
  • Then, place the bowl into the microwave. Different flowers require different timings and temperatures, so this step is often used as a trial-and-error experiment. The best method to take is to continuously check on the progress of your blooms after every minute or so and increase the heat and time when necessary.
  • Once the flowers have thoroughly dried, remove the bowl from the microwave. You will want to cover half of the bowl and let your flowers cool for 24 hours.
  • When cleaning away the gel, you want to use something delicate such as a brush, to avoid damaging or bending the petals. Once you have done this, you will have your dried flowers ready for displaying or using in any project!

How to press your flowers

The last method we recommend is pressing your flowers. This method is precisely what it says on the tin, as it involves using a heavy object to press the moisture out of your flowers. If you love to use florals in arts and crafts, this method should be your go-to. Here at The Last Bunch, we believe the tried-and-true method for pressing flowers is using a heavy book - but only if you have the time and patience. 

  • First, you must find a heavy book with large pages (think a coffee table book). Then choose the specific stems or petals you wish to press and arrange these onto a parchment paper sheet, ensuring they are spread out evenly. 
  • Place a second piece of parchment paper over your blooms, and close the book, adding extra weight to ensure your flowers are firmly pressed. 
  • Similar to both previous methods, the time it takes your flowers to press will depend on their size and variety. On average, we would say that two to three weeks is the ideal time required for your flowers to have adequately dried but just double-check before taking them out. 

Which flowers are best for drying?

Before you embark on your quest for the perfect dried flower arrangement, it is essential to consider whether your favourite flowers can be dried. For example, blooms with high water content cannot be dried as they just break during the process. 

For your convenience, we have accumulated a list of the best flowers for drying:

  • Lavender
  • Baby’s breath
  • Strawflower
  • Roses
  • Tulips
  • Zinnias
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Daises
  • Peonies
  • Carnations
  • Poppies
  • Sunflowers
  • Delphinium

How long do dried flowers last?

How long your dried flowers last will depend entirely on the type of flower you use, but on average, they can be kept between one to three years! Only a few small care guidelines are required for your dried flowers to thrive for a long time. 

Our dried flower care tips

After putting in all that effort to get your dried flowers, the last thing you want is for them to look unpresentable. Here are some of our top care tips to ensure that your dried flowers remain in top condition for as long as possible: 

  • Avoid water at all costs: is it too ironic to say keep them dry? This is the most important step in caring for your blooms, as if they come into contact with moisture, they could start to rot or mould. Keep them in a well-ventilated area free of humidity (I know they are lovely to look at in the shower, but the after-effects are not worth it, I promise). 
  • Keep them out of direct sunlight: unlike fresh flowers, dried flowers do not thrive in the sun. In fact, they do the opposite. Direct sunlight will cause their beautiful colours to fade at an increased rate, so keeping them somewhere cool, away from large windows, is best. 
  • Keep them dust-free: you may notice that dust will very quickly build up on your flowers, making them appear shabby and worn out. To avoid this, use a soft cloth or duster to clean their petals gently. 

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