Whether you want to preserve your wedding bouquet for posterity, incorporate dried flowers into a craft project, or just keep a bunch of your favourite blooms as a permanent fixture in your home, drying flowers is the ideal way to make your blooms last… and last.
There are a number of simple drying techniques to choose from. The trick is to choose the right technique to suit your flowers. Here are five of the most common methods…
1. How to dry flowers… in the air
One of the easiest ways to dry out a bouquet is to hang it upside down and allow the moisture to evaporate into the air. This is great for robust flowers, such as roses, and long-lasting varieties, like lavender. Strip away any excess foliage, secure your stems with an elastic band and hang in a dry, shady spot away from direct sunlight.
TIP: Once completely dry, spray with unperfumed hairspray for protection.
2. How to dry flowers… in the microwave
Pop your flowers in the microwave if you want to dry them fast. This technique is also ideal if you want to preserve single flowers, such as gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums.
All you’ll need is a microwavable container and, strangely, some cat litter (if it can dry out what the cat left behind, it can dry out flowers). Place the flowers blossom-up on a layer of cat litter and pour more litter over the petals. Heat in the microwave for 2-5 minutes on half-power, then remove and dust of any traces of litter.
3. How to dry flowers… with silica gel
Silica gel (yes, the curious substance inside those little sachets you find packaged with new leather shoes and bags) is a drying agent that can be readily bought from craft shops. You can use this to dry out your blooms by either using the microwave technique (above) or by gently burying your flowers in a container filled with the ‘gel’ and leaving them for a week to dry out.
4. How to dry your flowers… in a vase
Large robust blooms, like hydrangea, can be dried by leaving them in their vase of water – and doing nothing. Once the water has evaporated the flowers will dry gradually. This method will help retain more of their fresh-flower colour vibrancy than if left to dry with air alone.
5. How to dry your flowers… in a press
Pressed flowers can be used for all manner of pretty craft projects. This technique is best suited to flat-headed flowers, such as violets, pansies and daisies – and can be done in a variety of ways. Check out our complete guide to pressing flowers to find the right method to suit your needs.