Flowers have always been used to symbolize beauty and fragility. Implicit in this association is its ephemeral nature, especially when they’ve been plucked from the garden. Yet it is possible to extend the life of fresh cut flowers, all you need is a little know how and some crafty skills. Before those pretty flowers start to wilt, begin the process of preservation through drying methods. Here are a few of the proven and simplest ways to dry flowers to add a new lease on their life.
You’ve probably done this one at some point in your life. Maybe a special someone send you a bouquet roses and you wanted to preserve this token of affection for sentimental reason. Or maybe you bright idea of making flower-infused bath bombs off those flowers you bought from an online florist in Singapore. Whether that worked out or not, keep these three steps in mind for pressing flowers using books in case you need to preserve some blossoms.
- Open a book and Place a piece of paper about halfway or one-third of the way inside a thick book (preferably hardbound for added weight).
- Place the flowers carefully on the piece of paper then place another paper on top of that before closing the book.
- Place the book on an even surface and add weights (could be other books or any heavy object) on top of that for added pressure.
After four weeks, you should have perfectly pressed flowers ready for your crafts. Just make sure that the flower is completely dry before pressing in order to avoid soaking the pages and possible decomposition.
Another simple and fuss free way of drying flowers is through hanging. This is the preferred method for drying a bunch of flowers as any dry and covered space will do. Here are the steps for drying flowers through hanging.
- Prepare the cut flowers or freshly plucked blooms for hanging by clipping the stems to similar lengths, taking out the leaves and other dirt that can cause rotting.
- Tie similar flowers securely in a bunch with a rope or rubber band.
- Hang them upside down about 6 inches from the ceiling in a warm, airy and dry place.
Again, this would normally take 4 weeks to completely dry them out. If you’re harvesting flowers straight from the garden, make sure you choose the ones which have just fully bloomed because they have the least amount of damage and thus will incur less damage through the process of drying.
This one’s a bit unconventional, but fairly easy. Not everyone has the time or space to dry out flowers, but almost everyone has a microwave at home. So for those pressed on time or simply don’t have the patience to wait for weeks before working on a project, then try out the microwave method of drying flowers.
- Cut the flowers close to the bud, taking out stray leaves and dirt in the process.
- Take a microwave-safe container, fill it with about an inch of desiccant (silica gel, cat litter, borax or cornmeal). Lay out the flowers on top, making sure they are spaced evenly so each bud gets equal amount of heat, and then bury the flowers under the desiccant.
- Place a cup of water inside the microwave with the container. This would absorb some of the radiation and prevent burning the flowers.
- Depending on the thickness of the buds, you can set the microwave heat accordingly. It is advisable to start with a low setting, heat for 2 minutes and then check. For bigger blooms with thicker petals, WikiHow estimates 8 minutes of medium to high setting.
- Once you are satisfied with the crispness and dryness, take the container out and let it cool for one day. Important: Do not poke the desiccant with your bare hands while checking in order to avoid burns. Use a toothpick instead.
Once you have perfectly dry flowers, you can let your creative juices flow. The proliferation of the DIY culture gives you plenty of resources to make your own works of art. You can even spend quality time with your partner working with your hands while you make repurpose those flowers. Here are a few suggestions.
Personalised cards or bookmarks
You can use those pressed flowers to create personalised cards or bookmarks. Her Creative Spirit shows you how it’s done with some PVC glue and tissue. Or if you’re a bit of an artist yourself, you can take a cue from Meredith Wing and use those dried blooms as part of pretty illustrations. They don’t even have to be pressed. The hang-dried flowers can work just as perfectly for added texture and volume.
Paintings can be costly. So why not make an art wall of those dried flowers to decorate the wall of your apartment? Instead of having them turn to dust in a box of nostalgic memorabilia, create a pressed flowers framed art instead. This way, you can actually show tangible appreciation of the gift given to you by your loved one.
Take the life of your flowers full circle by repurposing them as DIY aromatherapy candles. Fittingly, the saying “smelling the flowers” allude to leisure and appreciation, the very same purpose of scented candles. Any aromatic flowers will do. The popular ones though are jasmine, chamomile and ylang-ylang, but feel free to add a rose or two in the mix. Check out the full instructions at Home Guides.