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How to Dry Flowers & Twigs

By M.L. Zupan ; Updated September 21, 2017
Drying flowers and twigs
dry flowers and shadows image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com

Dried flower arrangements and wreaths, decorative twigs and potpourris can add the charm of times past to our everyday lives. They appeal to the senses with their delicate beauty, color and fragrance. Flowers and branches are also easily available. Simply buy a bouquet from the store, harvest from your own flower garden or pick from the roadside. There are several methods for drying: air drying, pressing, drying with a desiccant (drying agent) and microwave drying in conjunction with a drying agent.

Select your material. Depending on your craft project, collect flowers and twigs in colors and shapes you will need.

Strip flowers of excess leaves. Group in bouquets when hang drying. Cut off stems for drying with a desiccant. Shape bendable twigs in desired shapes likes wreaths; they will retain form when they are dried.

Lavender image by Borzwear from Fotolia.com

Air dry twigs, straw flowers, baby's breath and similar plants with low moisture content on their own in a cool, darkened and well-ventilated place such as an attic or empty closet. The drying time is approximately two to five weeks.

Potpourri image by Towards Ithaca from Fotolia.com

Dry flower petals for potpourris in the oven on the lowest setting. Leave the door slightly cracked open by inserting a wooden cooking spoon. Drying time is approximately one to three hours.

a daisy image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com

Use a drying agent (“desiccant”) such as sand mixed with borax, fresh cat litter or silica from the craft store for garden flowers with a great moisture content. Put the flower head upside down into the desiccant and cover it completely. Lay stems with multiple flower heads such as snapdragons sideways and cover completely. Gently remove the drying agent to lift the dried flower head. Drying time is two to four days.

For faster result, use a drying agent in combination with the microwave oven. Microwave flower heads on a paper towel for 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Add a small container with water to avoid dehydrating too fast. Use desiccant (see step 5) for one day. Drying time is 24 hours.

pansy image by bright from Fotolia.com

Press flower heads of smaller flowers and thin twigs with leaves between sheets of nonglossy paper and put a weight on. Drying time is two to four weeks.


Things You Will Need

  • Paring knife
  • Paper towels
  • Twine (optional)
  • Desiccant (optional)
  • Hairspray (optional)


  • Dried flowers are light sensitive, so do not expose them to direct sunlight or the colors will fade.
  • Apply a thin layer of hairspray to give a shiny finish, and "glue" together delicate flowers such as baby's breath for greater longevity.


  • Keep in mind for your selection of flower heads that blossoms open more as they dry.
  • Dried flowers become brittle. Allow for loss through breakage so you have enough material to finish your project.

About the Author


Mathew L. Zupan is a writer for Technorati.com and has been one of the feature writers for CIDANews.com, Hawaii Wellness and CreationIS - Internet Services. He has been writing, designing and marketing websites since 1998 and has written one e-manual. He has also been a professional residential and commercial landscaper and worked as a professional caddy for several years with a passion for golf.