Dried flowers prolong the beauty of summer so that the flowers are attractive year-round. Dried flowers are used in arrangements, framed as art and used in a variety of crafts such as card-making and scrapbooking. Traditional drying methods, such as pressing, take many weeks to complete. A much quicker method is microwave flower drying. The drying process takes as little as 12 hours for smaller flowers and up to three days for larger, fuller blooms.
Place 2 inches of silica gel crystals into a microwave-safe dish. Silica gel is available at florists and some craft shops.
Remove any damaged petals from the flowers then set them in the silica gel so they are facing up. Leave a 1 inch space between flowers if you are drying more than one flower at a time.
Cover the flowers with ½ inch of silica gel, gently sifting the silica onto the flowers so it doesn't bend or damage the petals. Ensure that the entire flower surface is covered.
Set the dish in the microwave. Heat on high for one to five minutes. Smaller flowers and thin petaled flowers such as carnations need only one minute. Larger blooms such as dahlias may need four to five minutes.
Rotate the dish once each minute if the microwave does not have a turntable. Check the flowers for dryness by moving the silica aside with a toothpick and examining the flower petals for dryness.
Remove the container from the microwave once the cooking time is complete. Allow it to cool for 12 to 36 hours. Flowers that require one to two minutes of cooking time need to stand 12 hours while flowers that require three to five minutes cooking time must stand 24 to 36 hours.
Pour the silica gel off the flowers once they are done standing, until the flowers are visible. Slide your fingers under the flower and lift it from the gel. Gently shake off any excess gel. Use the flowers immediately or store them in a sealed bag until you are ready to use them.