Drying flowers is an age-old technique used to preserve flowers fresh from the garden. There are several different ways to dry and preserve flowers and no one way is the best, but the goal is simply to remove moisture from the flowers while maintaining the beauty. So, no matter which method you choose for drying and preserving those garden fresh flowers, you will be able to enjoy flowers for a long time.
Gather your flowers into small bunches and keep the stems fairly long, approximately 4 to 6 inches in length. Secure the stems together with a rubber band or tie together with twine. The fewer the flowers in a bunch, the better they will dry.
Hang the flowers upside down in a warm, dark room such as a closet or closed off bedroom. Hanging the flowers from a hanger works well, although you can also hang from a nail, makeshift clothesline or a self-supporting drying rack. Keep in the dark room for about one to two weeks.
Untie your flowers carefully so as not to disturb the petals, which will be fragile and can easily break off. Display the dried flowers by placing in a vase, but do not add water to the vase.
Use this chemical to replace the water in the flowers, preserving them while retaining the color and softness of the flowers. Glycerin is found at any pharmacy for relatively little cost.
Use fully hydrated flowers at their freshest, cut immediately before preserving. Cut the stems at an angle to help them better absorb the liquid.
Fill a vase with two parts of water and one part glycerine; stir well to combine. Place the stems in the water mixture, set in a dark room and leave for at least one week. Add more water and glycerin as the flowers absorb it.
Remove the flowers from the vase once the leaves have turned a golden brown, indicating they are ready. Wipe off the stems and display your preserved flowers in a vase; do not add water to the preserved flowers.
Cut the stems right below the flower head, or, if desired, you can leave about 2 inches of the stem with a few leaves too. Wipe off any moisture on the petals and leaves before pressing.
Place a piece of newspaper on top of a piece of cardboard. Lay the flowers face down on top of the newspaper, spreading out the petals and flattening slightly. If using leaves, make sure they are lying flat. Place another piece of newspaper on top of the flowers and another piece of cardboard on top of the paper.
Place a heavy book or other object on top of the cardboard with the flowers sandwiched in between. Set aside for at least three to four weeks to completely dry out.
Remove the heavy book and lift off the top piece of cardboard. Carefully peel away the top layer of newspaper and, using tweezers if necessary, lift the flowers off the bottom piece of paper. Store in containers with lids until you are ready to use them for crafts.
Use your pressed flowers for various crafts. For example, glue onto card stock paper folded in half and envelopes to make greeting cards with matching envelopes, decoupage onto candle holders or pillar candles, or display in frames to hang on the wall.
About this Author
Residing in Southern Oregon, Amy Madtson has been writing for Demand Studios since 2008 with a focus on health, pregnancy, crafts and gardening. Her work has been published on websites such as eHow and Garden Guides, among others. Madtson has been a childbirth educator and doula since 1993.