Preserving flowers, and in particular drying flowers, has its roots in colonial times, according to the North Dakota State University Extension. This old art is popular with those wanting to preserve special memories as well as those interested in creating flower crafts. Preserving flowers is remarkably easy, requiring more time than effort.
While the longest process used in preserving flowers, hang drying is the easiest and best method for preserving flowers, according to the Texas A&M Department of Horticultural Services. Flowers are simply hung upside down until dry. Once dried, these flowers will last for many years. ProFlowers farms recommend spraying the dried flowers with hairspray to offer them additional protection.
Dessicants, chemicals used to remove moisture, are commonly used in drying flowers. These drying agents include silica gel, sand and borax. The flowers are dried by placing individual flowers in a container with a layer of one of the dessicants and then left for a minimum of three days and up to a week. Fragile flowers--roses, sunflowers, dahlias, marigolds and pansies--are best dried with a dessicant.
This technique is quick and easy, but the shape of the flower is lost. Pressing requires placing individual flowers in between pieces of uncoated paper or newsprint and weighing it down with a heavy object or binding it with a piece of cord. Drying with this method takes anywhere from 10 days to four weeks. All flowers can be preserved with this method and typically pressed flowers are used for displaying in field guides, on note cards and in creative projects, such as scrapbooks.