How to Home Dry Flowers

Overview

Home drying fresh flowers from the garden is a quick and inexpensive way to provide natural flowers for floral arrangements. Several methods are available that result in dried flowers retaining their natural form and color. Each method takes a minimal amount of time and supplies to prepare the drying process that can take from a few minutes to a week. Whichever method used, drying your own flowers provides an endless assortment of colors and textures.

Air Drying

Step 1

Cut flowers that are in good condition in the early afternoon or evening when no moisture or dew is present. Clip flower heads before watering the garden to ensure dryness. Leave as much stem as necessary when cutting. Long-stemmed dried flowers used in vase, bouquet and centerpiece arrangements need length; shorter stems used in wreath, swag and potpourri crafts use little to no stem.

Step 2

Shake the flower head gently to remove any garden bugs hidden within the flower petals. Remove leaves from stems. Place cut flowers into a basket.

Step 3

Select between five to seven flowers depending on size to create a small bundle. Cut a 12-inch piece of string or twine.

Step 4

Gather the first bunch of flowers and place the string at least 3 to 4 inches from the base of the stem. Wrap the string around the stems once, pull the string ends snugly to secure the stems without damaging, then tie the strings in a bow or knot. Cut a second piece of string or twine for each bundle. Secure one end of the string around the stems; create a loop in the other end to hang the flowers.

Step 5

Hang flower bundles upside down in a warm, dark and dry area secured with a tack or hook. Hanging allows aeration among the flower heads, preventing mold. Drying times vary between one and two weeks depending on the type of flowers. Once drying is complete, store flowers in a cool, dry location.

Silica gel

Step 1

Prepare flowers by removing leaves. Remove stems if the flower heads are needed for craft projects, otherwise, leave stems intact or clip to 1 to 2 inches and attach floral wire prior to drying.

Step 2

Pour a layer of silica gel into an airtight container about 1 to 2 inches deep. Using the palm of your hand, create a trench the size of the flower head. Place the flower face up, apply a thin layer of silica gel to cover the flower completely. Repeat this process with each flower until the container is full. Place the sealed container in a warm, dark location.

Step 3

Drying time is fast when using silica gel, taking from two days to one week, and longer for flowers with multilayered or thick petals.

Borax Method

Step 1

Prepare flowers by removing leaves and clipping stems, if necessary. Pour borax into a sturdy cardboard box or box lid at least 1-inch deep.

Step 2

Create an indentation in the borax, then place the flowers face up in the mixture. Reposition any petals bent or turned under so flowers dry in their natural shape.

Step 3

Cover each flower with a layer of borax. Gently shake the box or lid to distribute the borax around and between the flower head.

Step 4

Place the box out of direct sunlight in a moisture-free location. Drying times can take from two days to one week or longer. Check the consistency of the flowers periodically. Once petals achieve a papery crisp texture, drying is complete.

Microwave Method

Step 1

Pour a layer of silica gel from 1 to 2 inches deep into a microwave-safe bowl. Scoop out an indentation and place a prepared flower head into the hole. Cover each flower head completely with silica gel.

Step 2

Place the uncovered dish into the microwave. Set the timer for one to three minutes depending on the size of the flowers.

Step 3

Complete the drying process by allowing the flowers to remain in the silica gel to cool for at least 12 hours.

Tips and Warnings

  • Dried flowers are extremely brittle requiring delicate and minimal handling.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Hand clippers
  • Basket
  • Scissors
  • String or twine
  • Small tacks or hooks
  • Silica gel
  • Airtight container
  • Borax
  • Card board box or lid
  • Microwave-safe plate

References

  • University of Missouri Extension: Drying Flowers and Foliage for Arrangements
Keywords: drying flowers, home drying flowers, air dried flowers, silica gel drying, flower drying agents, microwave drying method

About this Author

Vickie Ferguson began freelancing in1998 and hasn't put the pen down since. Her editorial stints have included working as a reviewer, managing editor and senior managing editor. She writes for several websites and covers a range of topics, including travel guides, gardening, home décor, crafts, pets and wildlife. Ferguson specializes in flower craft articles and has worked in the flower craft business for some time.