Time To Get Crafty

Bring On Spring! How To Beautifully Dry & Preserve Flowers

Make those beautiful and meaningful blooms last forever.

Originally Published: 
How To Preserve Flowers
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Flowers are one of the things we love most about spring! When neighborhoods turn colorful with daffodils and greenery, you know that warmer weather is ahead. But one of the sad things about flowers is that, under normal circumstances, they don’t last long. As luck would have it, though, you can keep your favorite blooms long after the time it would typically take them to wilt. What is this sorcery of which we speak? There are ways to preserve your fresh flowers so they last even longer — along with expert ways to dry and preserve your blooms after they’ve lost their freshness. With a little bit of skill, you can turn those buds and blossoms into beautiful keepsakes.

If you think you’re not crafty enough, think again. Learning how to preserve flowers is easier than you might expect. And with a little bit of practice, you can even learn how to preserve a wedding bouquet, which could come in handy when you, a friend, or your child are getting married. There are multiple ways to preserve flowers, each of which will leave them equally stunning.

First things first: How do you “preserve” fresh flowers and keep them flourishing longer?

Whether you’re planning on preserving your flowers to keep for a lifetime or simply want to keep those vased buds blooming for as long as possible, the first steps you take with your flowers matter most. Help them last longer by mixing three tablespoons of sugar with two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and warm water. The sugar helps the plant stay healthy longer, and the vinegar reduces harmful bacteria.

Changing out your water/mixture regularly will also keep them going longer. As soon as your water looks a touch cloudy, change it out. (And rinse the stems.) There are also “old wives tales” that putting a tiny bit of bleach or even a penny into your water can help your flowers last longer, too.

What do you spray on flowers to preserve them?

Before your flowers wilt or you decide to dry them out, take this time to enjoy them while they’re full of life. Here are a few ways to keep your flowers alive a little longer:

  • Spray your flowers with hairspray from a distance. Then hang them upside down until they dry.
  • Trim your flower stems.
  • Dip them in glycerin. This substance is a carbohydrate, also known as sugar alcohol. It replaces the water in the flowers with glycerin, which helps preserve the flowers’ look. But, over time the colors will fade.

How do you dry flowers for preservation?

Once your blossoms reach peak color and shape, you’ll want to dry them to preserve them. There are a few methods to try here. Some methods work better for certain flowers or even certain climates/altitudes. If you’re expecting to preserve something important in a few months (like a bridal bouquet), grab some stems of your wedding flowers ahead of time and practice each method to see what works best.

How to Dry Flowers in a Microwave

Yep, you read that right — you can dry flowers in a microwave if you have one handy. All you need to do is place your blooms on a square of computer paper, covering them in a fold. That paper would then go into a paper towel. Then, place the wrapped-up flowers in the microwave, and put a microwave-safe item on top to help weigh them down. Your favorite coffee mug or bowl would work well.

Test out the timing to make sure you don’t accidentally burn your flowers. Set the microwave to 10-second increments, and peek and see their progress. It may require a bit of practice, as all microwaves are different.

How to Dry Flowers Using Salt

Another method involves drying your flowers using salt. It seems odd, but the salt will help preserve the color of your flowers. If you have a vivid bunch, this method might be the best route. You’ll need to find a container in which to hold your flowers in a way that they’re not overlapping. Mix equal parts borax and white cornmeal, and add three tablespoons of standard salt. Slowly cover the flowers with your stirred-up mixture until the flowers themselves are no longer visible. In about two weeks, your flowers will be dry and colorful.

How to Dry Flowers in an Oven

This option is admittedly more intimidating than the microwave, but it’s possible. Snip the stems off all the oven-ready flowers and put them on an oven rack. Set your oven to 150 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Since heat is involved — and since ovens can be unpredictable — you’ll want to keep a close watch on them while they’re in there. This temperature likely won’t scorch them. The flowers should be “baked” for about an hour and a half, but it could take longer or shorter depending on your particular oven.

Are there other flower preservation methods?

Drying flowers isn’t the only way to preserve them. As a matter of fact, there are actually ways to preserve flowers that will better capture their original bright colors.

How to Preserve Flowers in a Book

Using a book may be one of the easiest ways to preserve flowers and is a time-honored tradition. (Raise your hand if you know you can still find your mother’s prom corsage in her senior yearbook!) This method is ideal if you have just a couple of blooms you want to dry and save.

To start, you’ll need a heavy book like a phone book. For the best results, make sure the flower itself doesn’t contain any moisture before placing it on the pages. Lining the pages with parchment paper will also help. Place your blooms between the book’s pages, leave something heavy on top, and wait approximately 10 days before checking on them.

How to Preserve Flowers in Resin

Epoxy resin is a super-fun, crafty way to preserve your flowers. With resin, you can turn your flowers into a usable object — like, for example, a jewelry dish or paperweight. Just make sure that all of your flowers are completely dry before using resin. Otherwise, they might start to decompose. Worried you could end up with a big floral blob? Craft stores have plenty of resin molds that’ll help turn your dream into a well-formed reality.

Dried flowers are perfect for crafts and keepsakes. The more you do, the better you’ll get. Once you’ve mastered the art of drying and preserving flowers, you may even consider opening your own store on Etsy.

Do dried flowers last forever?

Nothing lasts forever! Dried flowers can flourish for a pretty long time, though. This, of course, depends on the flower, but some dried buds can last up to one to three years. If you keep them out of direct sunlight or windy and humid spaces, they’re less likely to crumble into dust.

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