Drying fresh flowers is an art that has a number of applications, from pressed flowers that can be displayed in picture frames to potpourri and arrangements in bouquets and wreaths. Flower decorations are simple to make and require little care. Gardeners can dry their arrangements for little money using flowers from the garden.
Long-lasting blossoms that are categorized as everlasting flowers are the simplest to dry. These flowers will hold their shape through the drying period and will look the most natural once dry. To dry everlasting flowers, pick them when they are at their peak in the blooming cycle. Tie everlasting blooms in bundles and hang them in a dry, dark and well-ventilated location. Flowers such as cockscomb, globe amaranth, larkspur and baby's breath are good examples of everlasting flowers that dry well.
Flowers that fall apart or do not hold their shape well are best dried using a drying agent. Examples of these are flat-shaped flowers, such as daisies or black-eyed Susans, and flowers with a high moisture content that seem to crumple when air-dried, such as lilies or irises. Some drying agents that can be used include silica gel, a mix of borax and cornmeal or sand, or kitty litter. Silica gel will give you the best results. You can purchase it in a garden center. Place silica gel in an airtight, shallow container such as a plastic storage box or a coffee tin. Borax mixtures should be left open, while silica gel containers can be closed during the drying process.
Pressing flowers and foliage is a good preservation method for two-dimensional art, such as framing or for decorating cards and note paper. Pressed flowers can be placed onto paper pulp in the last steps of making paper. Flowers with a flat blossom, like a pansy, or flowers with a distinctive shape, like a daffodil, are good candidates for pressing. Place flowers flat between sheets of an absorbent, non-glossy material. Newspaper or old phone books work well for pressing flowers. The more quickly a pressed flower dries, the more colorful it will appear. Pressed flowers will dry more quickly if you place them between layers of facial tissue inside of the paper pressing agent. Once the paper has been sandwiched together, it should be placed in a warm, dark area and weighted down.