Dried flowers are the perfect accent to wreaths, forever bouquets, or other decorating projects -- and drying flowers you've grown is a great way to conserve the fruits of your labors. There are several ways to dry flowers -- either by hanging them upside down, laying them flat (for flower heads), or pressing them. Here are simple how-tos, as well as tips for maintaining your dried flowers.
Steps to Perfect Dried Flowers
- Choose flowers that are not completely open and are not quite mature. (They continue to open as they dry and may lose petals if fully mature.)
- Cut flowers in the morning, after the dew has dried; use sharp garden scissors.
- Cut off unneeded foliage.
- Take them inside as soon as possible.
- Group flowers into small bundles or leave them as individual blooms. Use string or dental floss to hang flowers upside down in a cool, dark, dry, indoor spot. To prevent mold, hanging the blooms so that air circulates well around each bundle.
- When flowers are done drying, they will feel dry and stiff to the touch. This may take several days or several weeks, depending on conditions and the type of flowers.
Steps to Perfect Dried Flower Heads
- Pick flower heads that are not completely open; cut off just below the bloom.
- Set the flower heads on newspaper in a cool, dry spot.
Steps to Perfect Pressed Flowers
- Choose flowers that are not completely open and are not quite mature. (They will continue to open as they dry and may lose petals if fully mature.)
- Lay each flower out flat between two sheets of plain paper; place the flower sandwich between the pages of a book. Weight the book down for several weeks until the flowers are dry to the touch. (As an alternative, flower presses are available.)
Steps to Drying Flowers in the Microwave
- Pick flowers just before they open up. (They will continue to open as they dry and may lose petals if fully mature.)
- In a shallow, microwave-safe container, gently cover the flowers in silica sand (available from crafting stores) or an equal mixture of borax (sodium borate) and cornmeal. Fill trumpet- or cup-shape flowers with the mixture to help them keep their shapes.
- Leaving the container open, place the container in the microwave and "cook" on high for a minute or so. Check to see if the flowers have completely dried; if not, microwave for another minute. Flowers that have thick petals take longer to dry than those that are thin.
- Leave the flowers in the mixture for about a day after microwaving them to allow them to finish drying.
Steps to Maintaining Dried Flowers
- Keep dried flowers out of direct sunlight to reduce fading.
- Keep dried flowers away from heat vents.
- Dust dried flowers as needed with a feather duster.
- When not in use, store dried flowers in a box in a dry place away from dry heat.