While cut flowers are short-term treasures, they can be made to last longer simply by drying them. However, dried flowers are quite delicate. Fortunately, they can be made more durable, and even coaxed into lasting for years, by lacquering them. This is an easy process that doesn't require any special tools or equipment, other than an aerosol can of clear lacquer spray. Pick your posies when blooming peaks, but be ready to dry and lacquer them right away so they don’t deteriorate. Harvest your favorites on 12-inch stems right after the dew has evaporated early in the morning.
Use wooden or plastic clothespins to clip the tips of your cut flower stems individually to a metal clothes hanger. The blooms should be upside down with about a 1/2 inch between them to allow for air circulation.
Hang them in a dark, warm, dry spot with good air circulation. Avoid damp, humid locations such as the garage or basement.
Inspect the drying blooms after five to seven days. They’ll be turning brown and dry to the touch. They’re dry enough to lacquer when the petals have all browned evenly and feel crisp, like breakfast cereal flakes. If they don’t feel quite like that yet, leave them to dry another one to two weeks so they won’t mold later. Be patient, because atmospheric conditions can vary enough to affect the length of drying time.
Take the hanger of flowers outside on a nice day with no wind or to a well-ventilated work area indoors and hang it up.
Apply clear aerosol spray lacquer with light, even strokes to all bloom surfaces so that they’re uniformly covered. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using this product. Allow the lacquer to dry thoroughly, then add a second coat. Let it dry completely.
Snip the lacquered flower heads from their stems with sharp scissors, and dispose of the greenery.
Things You Will Need
- Metal clothes hanger
- Wooden or plastic clothespins
- Clear aerosol spray lacquer
- Sharp scissors
- Take your time with this project. If you try to rush the process by putting your flowers in the oven to dry them, you'll lose most if not all of their aroma.
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