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Various Ways to Dry Flowers

Generally speaking, "dried flowers" is a vague term. The following three types of flowers are used and combined to create a floral art arrangement: dried flowers, preserved flowers and handmade flowers with plant fibers.

Photo by: Amina Filkins

1. Dried flowers: After dehydration, the flowers will lose the moisture, making them stiffer and more fragile, thus producing a unique charm. Pressed flowers are also a type of dried flowers.

2. Preserved flowers: Chemicals are used to replace the water content of the fresh flowers, and then the flowers are dyed into various colors. They are colorful and retain a soft texture like fresh flowers. Preserved flowers have been gaining wide popularity especially in Japan.

3. Handmade flowers: Plant fibers or fruits may be dismantled and reassembled into the shape of a flower, fixed with wire, glue or hot glue.

This article mainly introduces the methods of making the first type of dried flowers mentioned above.

To have the flowers dried, you may consider different ways for different flowers depending on their characteristics, such as whether the petals are dense or easily dried. No matter what way to dry the flower, fresh flowers should be picked when they are 60-70% bloomed. It is important to ensure that the flower is not overly moisturized and residual water on the surface should be well shaken off, otherwise the flower may become rotten in the process. Any petals that are in poor condition or have already rotted should be gently removed. Leaves can also be removed totally, or kept one or two pieces if you wish.

Air drying by Simply Leave the Flower in the Vase or Laying Them Out on a Flat Surface: Photo by: Lil Artsy

The types of flowers suitable for this method include baby's breath and eucalyptus leaves, and it is important not to bend them. It is better to trim them shorter so that they dry faster. Shortening the drying time also helps to maintain better color and shape. Then, leave the whole thing: vase with flowers, in a well-ventilated indoor or outdoor shaded area. Avoid placing them in high humidity areas such as the kitchen or bathroom.

The other way to air-dry the flowers is by simply laying them out on a dry surface such as newspaper, making sure there is enough space among them to ensure enough ventilation. In the process of having them completely dried, it may take 2 to 3 weeks. During this period, turn them over regularly to ensure that they dry evenly without tilting or getting flat on one side. There may be dust and dirt, so it is

recommended to place protective cloth or paper around them.

During this process, you can also check the flowers to see how dry they are every other day. If the stems of the flowers have become brittle, then they are completely dry.

Photo by: Cottonbro Studio

(One of the flower type that is suitable for just leaving in the vase for drying.)

Air Drying Flowers by Hanging Them Upside Down: The types of flowers suitable for this method include roses and forget-me-nots. Forget-me-nots are easier to handle and can be hung at any time. Rose petals are denser, so they should be hung to dry when they are 60-70% bloomed. The stems can be tied tightly with string or rubber bands. Some people like to tie a bunch of roses together and hang them as a bunch, which is fine. In this way, the drying of the bunches need to be done in a dry area or with a dehumidifier on, otherwise the center of the roses may become moldy. Some people also love to hang a bunch of roses as long-term decoration on the ceiling, so they don't need to worry about the individual shape of each dried rose. However, I still prefer to tie each stem individually for hanging, so that the individual form of each stem can be better preserved.

Photo by Tim Mossholder

(Hanging upside down for a single piece is preferred, rather than drying a tied whole bunch.)

Photo by: Inga Seliverstova

(This way of drying the flowers in bunches may cause the flowers being out of shape and get mold if the weather is humid.)

During the process, which takes about 3-4 weeks (depending on the type and size of the flowers and the environment), you can check them every few days to see how dry they are. If the stems of the flowers have become brittle, it means they are completely dry. You can even use a bamboo stick to gently further separate the petals to ensure enough air flowing between them and to shape them a bit.

As there are many new genera, species and colors of roses available now, readers can experiment with them to find out which ones look pretty to your eyes. I think there is not a standard of beauty.


Air Drying the Flowers with Silica Gel (crystal sand like specially for drying flowers): The usual way of this method is to trim off the stem and only keeping the flower head. It will then be with limited application in a floral arrangement. Again, start to dry the flowers that are 60-70% bloomed.

Firstly, you will need a large plastic box (such as a food storage container) that can be completely sealed. Since silica gel is a kind of chemical that should not be ingested, the box that is for making dried flowers should not be afterwards used for food storage. The box should be large enough to accommodate both the flowers and silica gel.

Secondly, cut off the flower stem and leave only the flower head aside for later use. Then, spread a layer of silica gel about 2cm high on the bottom of the box. Then carefully place the flower head on top of it, with the blooming side facing up.

Thirdly, carefully and gradually pour a small amount of silica gel around and on top of the flower head using a small spoon. Be sure to balance it evenly. Pour it layer by layer between the petals to avoid deforming or tilting the flower head. Continue pouring until the silica gel completely covers the flower head and is more than 1cm thick above the flower head, and then seal the box.

Place the box flat and do not move it for about 10-14 days (depending on the flower type and humidity. When removing the flower head, slowly remove the drying sand and check if it is completely dry. If it is not yet dry, you can store it for more time. If it is ready to be removed, since the flowers are completely devoid of moisture and very fragile at this point, you must remove the silica gel in batches. Leave the flowers aside to absorb some moisture from the air to restore some softness before using them.

The blue sand of the silica gel will change color after absorbing moisture. To reuse the drying sand, you can microwave it in batches for 10 seconds (1 minute for low temperature) each time until it returns to its original color.

Besides the above, rarer ways of drying flowers also include below:

· Microwave Drying

· Oven Drying

· Pressed Drying

Readers may further explore the above options if interested.

In conclusion, drying flowers can be a rewarding and creative activity. It involves much experimenting. By understanding the characteristics of different types of flowers and using the appropriate drying methods, it is possible to preserve their beauty and create unique decorations.

Author: Yaanin is the social media editor serving the following organizations:



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