Drying flowers is a simple yet stunning way to give life to old bouquets and preserve glimpses of your summer garden. However, you may not know the best way to dry your wedding roses or the wildflowers you found down the street. And even if you do end up with gorgeous dried flowers, it’s hard to figure out the best way to use them.
The truth is that there are all sorts of ways to dry flowers! Air drying, microwaving, pressing, you name it. If all that sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. Once you end up with dried flowers you’re proud of, all that’s left to do is figure out how you’d like to enjoy them. And yes, we’ve got some ideas for that as well.
Methods of Drying Flowers
Once you have flowers you’d like to dry, it’s time to decide what method you’ll use. Both the type of flower and your end goal will determine the best drying method.
If you’d like to dry flowers so they retain their shape, air-drying is your simplest option.
Flowers to Use: Air drying works great for larger flowers or those with many layers of petals. Some popular options include roses, carnations, lavender, and strawflower.
Materials: All that you’ll need to air dry flowers is some string and a bit of time. Once you have those in hand, follow these steps.
- Remove excess leaves from the stems. It’s fine to keep a few leaves, but remove any you don’t want on the finished product.
- Wrap the ends of the stems with string. You can wrap one stem or multiple stems at a time. If you do group multiple flowers together, make sure they aren’t too crowded.
- Use the other end of the string to hang the flowers upside down in a dark and dry environment.
- Let the flowers dry for two weeks before checking them. If they’re still damp, give them a bit more time.
- Carefully remove flowers and get ready to use them in the project of your choice.
- If your air is stagnant, turn on a fan in the area where your flowers are drying.
- Expect blooms to fade as they dry. If you’d like to retain bright colors, try the microwave method.
That’s right, it’s time to move your popcorn out of the way and trade in fresh blooms for kernels. While a microwave may sound like a wild way to dry flowers, a quick zap removes moisture while preserving color.
Flowers to use: The microwave works well with all sorts of flowers. Try it out with small blooms like buttercups and pansies or larger flowers like dahlias and peonies.
Materials: To dry flowers in a microwave, you’ll need a large, microwave-safe bowl, silica sand, and a microwave.
- Cut the stem so the flower will fit in the bowl. You can also remove any extra leaves.
- Put an inch of silica sand in the bottom of the bowl.
- Place the flower on top of the silica sand. Add more silica sand until the flower is completely covered.
- Microwave the flower until it is dry. Larger flowers take longer than smaller flowers, so you’ll need to check your flower every 30 seconds.
- Take the bowl out of the microwave and leave the flowers in the sand for at least 12 hours. This will ensure the flower is completely dry.
- Microwaves vary in intensity, but you can follow a general timetable. Small flowers like pansies and baby’s breath take one to two minutes while larger flowers like roses and dahlias take three to four minutes.
- You can find silica sand in hardware stores. While it may sound a bit intimidating, silica sand is just sand with a high proportion of the element silicon.
You know those gorgeous pressed flower displays you see in museums and botanical gardens? You can create your own versions with a simple flower press!
Flowers to use: Pressing flowers work best for flowers with thin petals and a flat shape. Try flowers like cosmos, Queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod, and poppies.
Materials: There are many different ways to press flowers. One easy way is to use books. For this method, you’ll need multiple heavy books and a few sheets of thick, unbleached paper.
- Arrange your flowers on a sheet of unbleached paper. Once the flowers are dry you won’t be able to move them, so make sure they’re just how you like them. When you arrange them, make sure they’re not touching.
- Place another sheet of paper on top of the flowers.
- Insert the sandwiched flowers into the pages of a book. Before you close the pages, you can check that the flowers are still arranged how you like them.
- Close the book and place it in a dry room with good circulation.
- Stack weights on top of the book to hold the pages shut. A few heavy books will do the trick.
- Let the flowers dry for a week before checking on them. If they are still moist, let them dry for a few more days.
- If you’d like to press large flowers like roses and peonies, try pressing individual petals rather than the whole flower.
- Flowers are easier to arrange after they’ve dried a bit. If you’re having a hard time arranging your flower as you like, let them wilt a bit before adding them to your press.
- You can use bleached or colored paper in a pinch, but be aware colors might transfer to the flowers.
How to Make an Herbarium Press
If you get serious about drying and pressed flowers, it’s worth the time and money to make an official herbarium press. These presses are easier to use than books, and they create professional-looking pressed flowers.
To create a press, gather the following materials:
- Two pieces of plywood the size of the finished press
- Unbleached paper
- Ratchet straps or string
Once you’ve gathered your materials, follow these steps.
- Cut the cardboard and unbleached paper so they’re the same size as the pieces of plywood.
- Create sandwiches by layering a piece of cardboard, two pieces of unbleached paper, and another sheet of cardboard.
- Insert these sandwiches in between the two sheets of plywood.
- Use ratchet straps or string to cinch the plywood tight.
That’s it! When it comes time to dry flowers, you’ll insert them in between the two sheets of paper. Once you’ve added all your flowers, simply close the press and cinch it tight. Since the straps will hold the press closed, you can store it out of the way until the flowers dry.
Ideas for Dried Flowers
Whether we’ve dried flowers yourself or bought a bouquet of dried flowers online, the next step is to figure out what to do with your blooms. There are tons of things to do with dried flowers, including the following six ideas.
Pressed Flower Cards
Works best with: pressed flowers
Whether you’re wishing someone a happy birthday or sending condolences after the loss of a loved one, a flower card will brighten any day.
Making pressed flower cards is easy. To get started, gather some dried flowers, a blank card, a paintbrush, and some glue.
- Lay the dried flowers out on the card until you find an arrangement you’re happy with.
- Remember, there’s no one right way to do this! Try scattering flowers over the card or grouping some together to make a dried flower bouquet.
- Use a paintbrush to gently apply glue to the bottom of the flower. If you find the glue is too thick, dilute it with a bit of water.
- Carefully place the flowers on the paper with the glue sides down. If you need to rearrange them once they’re in place, use a pair of tweezers.
- Once all your flowers are set, place the card in a safe location to dry. If you notice flowers are popping up during the drying process, use metal washers to weigh them down.
Dried Flower Bouquets
Works best with: air-dried flowers
While fresh flower bouquets last for a few days or weeks, dried flower bouquets can last for months and even years! With muted colors and romantic tones, these dried arrangements are the perfect way to add some maintenance-free decor to your home.
Making a dried bouquet is much like making a bouquet from fresh flowers. However, dried flowers are a bit more delicate than fresh ones, so you’ll need to be extra gentle!
If you’d like to dry something a bit different, try incorporating dried flowers into a wreath.
Work best with: air-dried flowers, pressed flowers, microwaved flowers
Need some eco-friendly confetti in your life? Look no further than dried flowers!
Making flower confetti is as simple as grabbing some dried flowers and mixing them together. When it’s time to celebrate, scatter the flowers.
Works best with: air-dried flowers, pressed flowers, microwaved flowers
Dried flowers add a beautiful, rustic touch to wrapped packages. Pair a few stems with brown paper and twine to add a sustainable flair to gifts.
Flower Salt or Sugar Scrubs
Works best with: air-dried flowers, pressed flowers, microwaved flowers
If you’re looking for a great gift or a way to treat yourself, mix up a floral scrub. Adding flowers to salt or sugar scrubs add beauty as well as a subtle fragrance.
To make a floral scrub, mix one-part salt or sugar with one part neutral oil (coconut oil works great). Add in some dried flowers and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to create a scrub that feels like it’s straight out of a spa.
Dried Flower Pendants
Works best with: pressed flowers, small microwaved or air dried flowers
If you want to keep flowers with you at all times, spend a few hours creating a few dried flower pendants. While they work with any type of flower, they’re a great way to cherish wedding flowers and funeral flowers.
Even if you think these pendants look intimidating, go ahead and give them a try. With a bit of patience, you’ll be creating professional-looking pieces.
- Gather the following materials.
- Epoxy resin
- Pendant molds
- Dried flowers
- Mix the resin following package instructions. Make sure to wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.
- Add a small amount of resin to the pendant mold and allow it to dry. This will take at least 12 hours.
- Arrange your dried flowers on top of the dried resin. Once you are happy with how your flowers look, secure them with glue. Allow the glue to dry.
- Once the flowers are dry, add another layer of resin and allow it to dry.
- Gather the following materials.
That’s it! After you’re done, all you have to do is place the pendant on a necklace chain or add it to your keychain. And don’t forget that these make great gifts.
Get Started with Dried Flowers
Just because you’re drying flowers doesn’t mean you should compromise on quality. The Bouqs Co. bouquets arrive fresh from sustainable farms so you can feel good about how they look and how they were grown.
And if you want to skip out on the drying process, you’re in luck! Simply order dried flowers and get started on your favorite flower project.Shop All