Crafts

How to dry flowers

By Nancy Livingstone
Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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dried flowers
Drying flowers is easy and cheap, and the beautiful results last for months.
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Dried flower arrangements add color and life to your home

Dried flowers can be used to make decorative arrangements that last for months and require little maintenance. There are a number of different ways you can learn how to dry flowers. Each method requires only a few supplies and a bit of time.

Preparing the Flowers In order to dry flowers, you'll want to remove the moisture slowly while maintaining as much of the original form as possible. For the best-looking dried flowers, pick fresh flowers when they are dry but not wilted. You can even pick flowers from your home flower garden that you grew yourself. Late morning is a good time to pick flowers. Plants for drying can be collected at any time during the growing season.

To allow for error, be sure to pick more flowers than you will need for the finished arrangement. This way, if some are damaged, it is not a big deal. Try to look for plants that do not have insects on them or carry a disease. Choose flowers at different stages of blooming because the petals will open more as they dry.

Air Drying Air-drying flowers is perhaps the easiest method to follow. First, remove any dead leaves from the flowers. Then group the stems into small arrangements and wrap rubber bands around them. Hang the bunches upside down in a cool, dry and dark area. A closet or cellar works well. The darkness will help preserve the color of the flowers. Allow two or three weeks for the flowers to dry. If the flowers are very full, they may need longer drying time.

Silica Gel Drying Flowers with a large amount of moisture or fragile petals may dry better with silica gel. Silica gel can be expensive, but it also can be used again and again. The gel is actually made of small particles, similar to sea salt. Silica gel can be found at almost any craft or hobby store, locally or online.

To dry the flowers, first create a one-inch layer of silica gel in the bottom of a shallow container. Place the flowers on top of the gel. Carefully cover the flowers with another inch of silica gel. Seal the container tightly. Let the contents rest for three to five days.

Some flowers dry very well in silica gel. Try using daises or pansies for good results. If you are unsure of how well a flower will dry with silica gel, first try this method with just a few flowers. If they turn out well, add more and repeat the process.

Microwave Drying The fastest way to dry flowers is in the microwave. To do so, spread one inch of silica gel in a microwave-safe container. Lay the flowers on top; then cover with another inch of gel. Cover and microwave the container for approximately three minutes. Let the gel and flowers cool for at least twenty minutes before opening. Then check to make sure that the flowers are dry. If they are, carefully remove the flowers from the gel. Place the gel in the microwave again. Microwave the granules for two more minutes to remove the moisture from the gel.

Arranging Dried Flowers Once dry, flowers can be used in a variety of arrangements. Attach them to wreaths, arrange them in homemade soap baskets, or place them in vases to brighten up a room. They can also be used to decorate gifts and cards. Hang a small bunch of dried flowers on the door or a wall for a country look.

To keep dried flowers looking their best, it is a good idea to keep them away from sunlight. This will help preserve their color. Also try to keep them away from air vents so that they avoid excess heat and airflow. Use a feather duster or blow dryer to remove dust from the flowers.

If you want to store dried flowers, first wrap them carefully in newspaper. Store them in a dry, cool place. Do not pack them close to other items. Drying flowers is an inexpensive way to create attractive arrangements. Now that you know how to dry flowers, you can make decorations for your home. You can also give them as gifts for others to enjoy.

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