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How to dry flowers

July 30, 2021




how to dry flowers


How to dry flowers with colour


Drying flowers is a fun way to preserve your favourite foliage for year-round enjoyment. While some drying methods result in faded colouring, we’re sharing how to retain bloom colour – and if you’re lucky, enrich it. Just be careful to display colourful dried flower creations out of direct sunlight which causes beaching. On the other hand, if you’re looking to create soft neutral beige tones, give your florals as much bright, bleaching sunlight as possible while drying and displaying.

Here are a few ways to preserve floral colour for vibrant dried arrangements.


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Before you commence drying your flowers, it’s important to prep them for success. Choose flowers in the best condition and cut them off the source plant first thing in the morning to maximise the quality and colour of the flowers. It’s a good idea to select flowers in various stages of opening as they will continue to open while drying. A mixture of buds, half-open blooms, and fully open petals will give your arrangement added visual interest.


It’s important to wait until you’re ready to begin the drying process before harvesting your flowers and foliage. If you cut them too early and have them sitting around for too long, they can deteriorate in quality very quickly.


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Flower selection


The age of a plant can also make a difference as to how much colour is retained and how long it is retained for, so this is worth experimenting with over time. If you’re purchasing a bouquet or pre-cut flowers for drying, choose the freshest bunch available.

The simplest way to achieve colourful dried florals is to pick flowers that hold colour well when dried. Globe amaranth, lavender, rose, statice, strawflower, baby’s breath, hydrangea, and goldenrod are all well suited to drying.


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How to dry flowers


Naturally – for naturally dried colourful flowers with stems

Inevitably, the colour of your flowers will change during the drying process. To ensure that fading is kept to a minimum, store your flowers out of direct sunlight in a dark, dry, temperate environment while drying. This method is the simplest. All you require is twine and a dark, dry spot in which to hang your flowers for a few weeks until dry. Just ensure that the stems aren’t too flush with greenery so that the air can easily circulate to avoid mould forming. Once dry, spray your flowers and foliage with a fixative or perfume-free hairspray.

Pressed – for flat petals and small flowers

Flowers can be pressed between book pages, in a notepad, and using a specifically designed wooden flower press with tightening screws.

All methods require the flowers to be separated – make sure no petals or leaves overlap. Unbleached paper is perfect for separating the flowers while drying. And be wary of newsprint as this can transfer to your florals, tainting their colour. A phonebook is ideal for pressing and provides several pages to use. Simply line the pages you’re using with unbleached paper or paper towels, position your flowers, and place the closed book on a flat surface before placing heavier books on top or tying it closed securely. The flower pressing method takes approximately 30 days. Opening the book before 30 days will risk cracking the leaves, but if you wait the full 30 days your flowers should be ready to use.

When using silica gel, always wear an air filter mask and gloves.


Silica gel – for dried flower heads without stems

Step one:
Prune the stems of your flowers to 2.5cm away from the flower head.
Step two:
Place the flower heads face up in a container. Make sure the container lip is at least 5cm higher than the flower heads. Flat-faced flowers should be placed upside down and long flowers on their sides.
Step three:
Gently pour silica gel over the flowers until they’re covered by at least 2.5cm. Secure the container with a lid and set it aside for 5 days.
Step four:
Carefully remove your flowers from the gel using a soft bristle paintbrush to remove the remaining silica gel. Be very gentle or you may be left with only petals!

Silica gel method when using a microwave:
Step one:
In a microwave-safe container, cover your flowers with silica gel ensuring at least 2.5cm of gel above the flowers.
Step two:
Cover the container with a paper towel and microwave for one minute.
Step three:
Let the container cool for 30 minutes before removing the dried flowers.

Whichever method you use, seal your flowers with hairspray, mod podge, or hairspray to protect them and prolong their life.


Glycerine – for flowers in bold colour with stems

Found at most pharmacies, glycerine is another way to dry flowers. It is known to help retain bright petal shades. Mix two parts of lukewarm water with one part glycerine and place freshly cut flower stems in the mixture. Set aside for two to three weeks while the flowers absorb the mixture. This goal is to replace the water in your flowers with glycerine. Once complete, hang your glycerine-filled flowers upside down in a warm, dry, dark place until they have dried completely. A relatively long term dried floral solution, ensure that your dried flowers are kept out of direct sunlight to avoid premature fading.

Drying flowers is a great indoor activity. If it’s blowing a gale outside, sitting at a table tinkering with flowers can be a lovely way to spend an afternoon. And having a house full of florals that will last a few years is a great payoff for a little light work. While drying is the first step, once you have a selection of dried flowers you can craft them in plenty of visually delightful ways.



What’s next? Watch our tutorial video for a gorgeous dried flower letter craft here.


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