Air drying is a quick and easy way to dry flowers, yet the method produces shriveled leaves. When employing the press drying method the leaf will retain much of its shape, yet the flower will be flattened. To dry both flowers and leaves and preserve as much of their overall shape as possible, use silica gel. Silica gel is a desiccant material that will draw out the moisture, thus helping to preserve the foliage. You can purchase it at most craft stores.
Select leaves that are still moist and pliable. Choose flowers that have just bloomed, or are about to bloom.
Using the scissors, cut most of the stem from the flower or leaf, leaving less than an inch.
Pour about 1 to 2 inches of silica gel into an airtight box, filling the bottom. Level the silica gel.
Arrange the flowers in a single layer on the silica gel, and lay the leaves flat on the bed of silica gel. Do not allow the flowers and leaves to touch.
Cover the flowers and leaves with more silica gel, so they are completely covered.
Put an airtight lid on the box and store in a dry, warm location. Depending on humidity factors, it will take three to eight days for the flowers to dry.
Follow steps 1 through 5 in the previous section. Use a microwave safe dish instead of a box. This method speeds up the process.
Set an 8-ounce glass of water in the back of the microwave.
Put the dish (uncovered) into the microwave with the glass of water.
Microwave for about 2 minutes. You may need to experiment, as it can take between 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the flower size.
Remove from the microwave and allow the silica gel to dry before disturbing. This should take between 12 to 24 hours.