How to Preserve Flower Bouquets


If you've ever received a flower bouquet and wanted to preserve it as a reminder of a special event, anniversary or perhaps a wedding, it's possible to do it yourself. Commercial companies may preserve flowers through freeze drying, which keeps the flowers realistic looking. However it is difficult to achieve this without special equipment and cannot be done at home without this equipment. But drying the bouquet by air drying or using desiccants to preserve it, is possible--and not difficult--to do at home.

Air Drying

Step 1

Photograph the bouquet from several angles. This will serve as a guide to re-assembling the bouquet after all the flowers have dried.

Step 2

Take the bouquet apart flower by flower.

Step 3

Strip off any leaves from the stems.

Step 4

Group the same types of flowers together: roses with roses; carnations with carnations; and so forth. If the bouquet is mixed with a number of different varieties, group the flowers by size.

Step 5

Place a rubber band around each group of five to seven flower stems at the bottom of the stems.

Step 6

Bend a paperclip so it resembles an "S"-shaped hook. Hook one end of the paperclip under the rubber band. Use the other end to hang the group of flowers in a dry, warm and dark area. The area should be dry and warm so the flowers dry quickly and dark so the colors don't fade.

Step 7

Re-assemble the flower bouquet when all flowers have dried. Use silk leaves to replace any greenery. Some colors don't dry well--such as red--or they dry off-color, such as white, which dries to beige-brown. Use silk flowers to replace these colors if desired.

Desiccant Drying

Step 1

Some flowers may be dried with desiccants. Desiccants include silica gel, which are actually crystals (not a gel), and corn meal. Corn meal does not work nearly as well as silica gel. Find silica gel at arts and crafts stores.

Step 2

Put a layer of the desiccant in the bottom of an airtight box. Plastic will work as long as the box seals.

Step 3

Cut the stems of the flowers to no more than 2 inches.

Step 4

Lay the flowers on the desiccant and cover with more desiccant working it in between petals. Flat flowers and thin-petaled flowers dry the best with desiccant.

Step 5

Attach the dried flowers to a wooden skewer by wrapping the stem of the flower to the skewer with floral tape. Re-assemble the bouquet as above.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't use a microwave to dry flowers. Some crafters recommend it as a fast way for drying or to jump-start drying. It's too easy to start the flowers on fire. Remove the flowers from the desiccant as soon as they're dry. If you wait too long the flowers will crumble.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital camera or cell phone with camera
  • Rubber bands
  • Flower bouquet
  • Paper clips
  • Desiccant
  • Air tight box


  • Lone Star Freeze Dry: How to Dry Flowers
  • "Creative Floral Arranging: How to Decorate with Fresh, Dried & Silk Flowers"; The Editors of Creative Publishing; 1998

Who Can Help

  • How to arrange flowers
Keywords: drying flower bouquets, using desiccants to dry flowers, preserve flowers

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.