How to Dry Flowers
Drying flowers is a great way to preserve your flower bouquet and the memories that came with it. Before you start, here's some things to consider before drying your flowers:
- Blooms with a high water content, such as lilies, are not suitable for drying
- Flowers in full blooms are more likely to lose their petals when drying, so we suggest starting the drying process once the flowers have opened up but have not yet fully bloomed.
- Some flower colours dry with more vibrancy than others do. Orange & yellow flowers dry with the most vibrancy, while purple and blue flowers can dry dark - consider this if using dried flowers in decorations.
- It is possible to dry whole flowers including their stems, with sunflowers being a great choice.
How to Air Dry Flowers
Flowers Suitable for Air Drying
Most flowers which we feature in our bouquets are suitable for air drying. Our favourite flowers to air dry include:
Agapanthus - Eryngium - Chrysanthemum - Carnations - Freesia - Gladiolus - Gypsophila - Gerbera - Peony - Hydrangea - Sunflower - Iris - Lavender - Statice Marigold - Veronica
What you'll need to air dry flowers:
Flowers (we suggest choose a mixture of your favourites from your bouquet, or the same stems)
Suitable location to hang the flowers
Grab the flowers you wish to dry. Flowers that have just bloomed or are about to bloom are ideal.
Remove any heavy foliage from below the head of the flowers. Flowers weaken when dried so it’s important to keep them trim.
Split your flowers into bunches of the same flower type of no more than 6-7 flowers per bunch. Tie each bunch towards the end of the stems with an elastic band. Avoid string as the stems will shrink when drying. Tip: Hang large headed flowers such as hydrangea, roses on their own.
Hang your tied flowers upside down from a nail, hook or coat hanger in a dry, dark, relatively warm room away from direct sunlight (this can fade colour). Three ideal methods to hang your flowers are with a coat hanger, using a hammer and nails, and using a line with pegs.
Leave to dry for 2-3 weeks and check regularly after the first week. You will know when the time is right as petals will gently rustle and become rigid.
This is optional, but you can preserve your flowers with hairspray. To strengthen & protect your dried flowers lightly spray each stem individually with a burst of hair spray. This will also set their shape and give them shine.
Tip:If you notice little progress after the first couple of weeks, try hanging in another area of the house that has better circulation during the day.
How to Give Dried Flowers Shape
You can curve flower stems before drying to create a fun effect. All you need is some florist wire, which you simply twist around the stem and make the shape you like. Hang the flowers in the same way with the wire attached and allow to dry.
How to Dry Flowers with Silica Gel
Flowers Suitable for Drying With Silica Gel
Most flowers suitable for air drying an have the silica gel drying method applied to them, as the silica gel just helps to speed up the process.
What you'll need to dry flowers with silica gel:
- Your chosen flowers
- Silica Gel sachets (we suggest ones which have a grain size no bigger than 1mm for optimum drying.)
- An airtight container
- Small cleaning brush
Find a long and shallow plastic storage container that will fit your flower stems lying flat. Then fill the base of the container with an inch of your silica gel or other drying agent to create a bed for your flowers.
Add stems to the container and separate them as much as possible. Flat-faced flowers such as gerbera or daisies can be placed face down but otherwise, make sure the bloom is facing upwards. In this demonstration, we add a whole bouquet. When doing this, be mindful that some stems dry faster than others and over-drying can cause your flowers to crumble.
Gently cover your flowers with half an inch of your drying agent using a small cup. Make sure the flower head is fully buried but not squashed. Be sure to try and pour into the head of the flowers with many petals such as roses so the drying substance reaches all the nooks and crannies.
Seal the container with a lid (airtight if possible). Move the container to a shelf out the way of direct sunlight and be careful not to disturb the contents.
Tip: If you notice that petals have bent or misshapen after covering, use a toothpick to rearrange them, as they will dry in whatever shape they now lie in.
Leave the contents to dry for 3-6 days in the container. Depending on the size of your flowers or if you are drying multiple flower types, check the contents with your tooth pick after the first 2 days to check if some flowers have dried.
Carefully remove your flowers once you are satisfied they are dry. With each stem, gently shake out the drying agent or with a paintbrush, gently brush the flower clean.
Tip: Over drying can cause flowers to become brittle and break very easily.
HOW TO DRY FLOWERS QUICKLY WITH A MICROWAVE
Flowers Suitable for Microwave Drying
As a rule, microwave drying does not work well on stems with thick petals. So flowers with multiple thin petals are ideal, such as:
Agapanthus - Dahlia - Anemone - Eryngium - Clematis - Freesia - Carnation - Forsythia - Chrysanthemum - Daffodil - Gladiolus - Gypsophila - Gerbera - Peony Hydrangea - Sunflower - Iris - Solidago - Lavender - Statice - Marigold - Tulip - Pansy - Veronica
What you'll need to dry flowers in the microwave:
- Your chosen flowers
- Silica Gel
- Microwavable container
Grab a microwavable container suitable for placing single stems or flower heads inside. Plastic or glass is ideal.
Fill the base of the container with approximately 1-2 inches of silica gel or cat litter as this also works well for microwaving.
Add stems to the container but make sure they do not overlap. Flat-faced flowers such as gerbera or daisies can be placed face down but otherwise make sure the bloom is facing upwards. If you are adding multiple stems, make sure they are the same type, i.e. don’t included roses with gerbera as they will dry at different rates and you may burn them. Start with one or two stems of the same variety to gauge how quickly they will dry.
Gently cover the stems with approximately ½ an inch of your drying substance. Make sure the flower head is fully buried but not squashed by the drying substance. Do not put a lid or cover over the container.
Add a cup of water into the microwave along with the uncovered container. This reduces the chances of burning your flowers as the water will absorb the majority of the microwaves energy. Make sure the water is in a microwavable cup and be careful not to spill anything inside the microwave.
Microwave the contents for 1-2 minute intervals depending on the size of your stems. This step is experimental as there is a lot of different microwaves and flower types. Continuously check with a toothpick to see if the flowers feel dry, if not, carry on with heating intervals.
Carefully remove container and allow to cool. Drying agents like silica gel can get very hot and take a long time to cool down. Place a lid or some cling film over half of the container and leave it for 24 hours. Be sure to keep it out of reach of animals & children and keep out of direct sunlight.
Remove your flowers from the container being careful not to bend or damage any of the contents. Tap or brush away the excess gel to clean the flowers.