The common methods used for drying flowers at home include pressing, air drying and using desiccants. Flowers with thick fleshy stems are difficult to press, and if you don't want the flowers to be flat, don't use the pressing method. With air drying, you can leave a longer flower stem attached to the blossom, whereas, you remove all but 1 to 2 inches of the stem when drying with desiccants. With all methods, cut the flowers when they are in their prime or slightly immature.
Lay a piece of corrugated cardboard on a flat surface, then place a blotter pad or paper towel on the cardboard.
Unfold a newspaper sheet and arrange the flowers (without overlapping) on one side of the newspaper. Refold the newspaper and set it on the blotter pad.
Lay a second blotter pad or paper towel atop the folded piece of newspaper (with the flowers inside) and cover it with a second piece of corrugated cardboard.
Add more layers, if desired, repeating the previous steps.
Tie the bundle together, set it in a warm, dry, ventilated area and weight it down with books or other heavy objects. The drying process will take about two to four weeks.
Gather flowers into a bunch and tie the bottom of the stems with twine or a rubber band.
Hang the bound flowers upside down, in a warm, dry, well-ventilated location out of the direct sun.
Leave the flowers hanging until dry, approximately two to three weeks.
Pour several inches of desiccant material into a box and level. Desiccants might be a mixture of equal parts Borax and white cornmeal, or silica gel. If using silica gel, you will need a box with an airtight lid.
Arrange the flowers atop the desiccant in the box.
Cover the flowers with more desiccant, either by slowly sifting it onto the flowers or moving some from the box onto the plant. The flowers must be completely covered.
Set the box in a warm, dry location. If using silica gel, put a lid on the box. Leave the box uncovered if using the borax-and-cornmeal mixture. The drying process will take three to eight days with silica gel and two to three weeks with the borax-and-cornmeal mixture.
About this Author
Ann Johnson was the editor of a community magazine in Southern California for more than 10 years and was an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelors of Art degree in communications from California State University of Fullerton. Today she is a freelance writer and photographer, and part owner of an Arizona real estate company.