The Craft Of Flower Drying
Many garden flowers dry easily if you know the proper techniques. Dried flowers can then be used in arrangments and bouquets. This is a great craft to do with kids.
The main principle of drying flowers is to remove the moisture from the petals while retaining the form of the flower and as much natural color as possible. Dried flowers hold up best away from bright light and in rooms with low humidity. While some types of flowers can be dried by simply hanging them upside down in a dry place, other types (like roses) are best dried in silica gel in an airtight container. Silica gel is available at large craft stores.
Experimentation with different types of flowers and different drying times is the best way to start out in this craft – keeping notes of the results is especially helpful. Following the principles below, however, will help to ensure success.
Pick flowers on a warm, sunny day, preferably in the afternoon after dew has dried. Never pick flowers right after a rain.
Select flowers which are either in bud or at the peak of bloom – not blooms which are beginning to fade or shed petals. Foliage can also be dried to accompany a floral arrangement.
Start with a shallow plastic container or cookie tin. Spread a ¼ -inch layer of silica gel in the bottom.
Lay flowers on the silica base and gently cover them with a layer of silica. Use your hands or a spoon to slowly pour the gel over them.
Place the container in a warm, dry spot (on top of a refrigerator is ideal).
Flowers dry in 2 to 8 days, depending on their density and texture. Check your flowers initially after two days, and every day thereafter, carefully recovering those that are not completely dry.
It is not always easy to tell when flowers are at the optimum point of dryness. Flowers left in the silica too long will crisp up and fall apart; those removed too soon will take on a wilted look when exposed to air.
One technique to use is to remove flowers from the gel when they feel crisp and dry, but leave them on top of a layer of gel in a sealed container for several more days.
Remember that dried flowers are fragile and need careful handling. When humidity is high, storing them in an airtight container will help to prolong their life. Dried flowers are best displayed in winter bouquets, when the heated environment of the home keeps humidity levels low.