People preserve flowers for a variety of reasons. Some of these include making the blooms last longer, preserving a bridal bouquet to capture an important event and pass it on to future generations or using flowers for a future art project or potpourri. Although nothing compares to the sight and smell of fresh flowers, you can preserve individual flowers or arrangements by various methods, some of which include adding sand and silica gel.
Pressing is a simple and common method of preserving flowers. Select heavy books such as encyclopedias or dictionaries and open to the middle. Spread glazed paper over both pages to prevent a bloom from staining the text and place the flowers between the paper sheets. Space flowers sufficiently apart to prevent them from overlapping. Close the book, put a weighty household object over it and place in a closed, dark room to ensure the flowers dry out sooner. The amount of time it takes depends on the size of the flower, but flowers usually dry out in two to four weeks. The flowers preserved by this method are flat.
This method ensures preserved flowers are long-lasting and supple as opposed to brittle and dry. Select fully hydrated (not wilting) flowers so the glycerin effectively replaces the water content in them. Add two parts warm water to one part glycerin in a jar. Mix well and insert the stems of the flowers in the solution. The time the stems take to absorb the glycerin solution depends on the size of the stems and flowers. Remove flowers from the jar when the solution is absorbed and hang them upside down to air-dry to complete the preservation process.
Pour an inch of fine, clear, salt-free sand in a container. Form a depression on the surface by scooping a bit away, and lower the flower head into it, ensuring it is upright. Press sand around the flower to support it. Scoop some sand in your palm and pour it evenly around each petal, starting from the tip and working your way towards the center slowly, so you do not alter its shape. Flowers preserved by this method are very fragile and require utmost care when removing them from sand.
Silica Gel Method
Silica gel is a drying agent that absorbs moisture from flowers while preserving bloom color. It is found in nurseries or crafts stores and preserves flowers in 36 to 48 hours. Add silica gel to an air-tight container until it is half full. Immerse the flowers you want to preserve into the container, ensuring the blooms do not touch each other. Add more silica gel to cover the flowers completely and replace the lid to prevent air from entering.