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.
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.
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.
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.
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.