Flower arrangements brighten up any corner, but they only last a few cool days and sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to collect or buy them often. An alternative is to decorate with dried flowers to enjoy them longer as many species retain their shape and color.
From a sustainability perspective, dried flowers are more environmentally friendly because of their durability. Although they add color, they are not as bright as those of fresh flowers, nor do they offer aroma, but in any case, they are a very good alternative for decoration.
Almost any flower can be dried, but favorites for these flower arrangements are roses and helichrysums. Other species that are very good with this technique are pansies, hydrangeas, daisies, Chinese lanterns or alquequenjes and lavender. Each of these flowers will be more suitable for making a bouquet or for other crafts.
1. Outdoor drying of the flowers
The easiest and most natural way, without expending energy, is to let the flowers dry in the open air. They should not be exposed to the sun, it is best to place them in a dark, warm and dry place such as an attic or a basement, if one is available. The process will take a few days, depending on the flower and the climate of the location.
- Fresh flowers or a bouquet
- Twine or raffia ribbon
This process will only take 10 minutes to prepare, you need to add the time it takes to harvest or get the flowers and the variable drying time.
Ideally, the process begins once the flower buds are fully open and the bouquet is still fresh.
How to prepare the flowers:
Flowers should be cleaned of dry, damaged or withered petals. It is also possible to dry them with the stems.
Hang the flowers:
- Secure the stems to string or raffia ribbon and hang the bouquet upside down.
- During the drying process, the twine may need to be adjusted, as the stems will shrink a little over time as they lose water.
- Allow to dry for approximately 2 to 4 weeks.
For better preservation of dried flowers in terms of shape and color, specialist florists advise spraying them with hairspray.
2. Oven-dried flowers
The kiln drying process is faster than air drying, but from a sustainability standpoint it is energy consuming.
- To use this method, take a piece of wire mesh and thread the flower stems through the holes, allowing the flowers to rest on the mesh and the stems to hang freely.
- Individual flowers can also be spread out on a tray lined with parchment paper.
- Prepare the oven at 35 or 40 ºC with the door ajar, using a wooden spoon, for example. Drying time is approximately 1-2 hours, but varies depending on type and quantity.
- Let the dried flowers cool.
- Subsequently, it is also possible to use lacquer for better preservation.
3. Dry the flowers with glycerin
Due to their size, a particularly useful method for drying roses and hydrangeas is glycerin drying.
- To use this method, mix water and glycerin in a 2:1 ratio. Cut the flowers off the stems at an angle and place them in the mixture.
- After a few days, the flowers will have absorbed the solution and the remaining water will have evaporated. During this time, the glycerin has dried the flowers. When the preservation process is completed, small drops form on the petals.
- If you want to keep an entire bouquet, place the flowers in a vase with a mixture of water and glycerin until droplets form (about 1-2 days). Then remove the bouquet and dry it with the natural air technique inside out.
4. Dry the flowers with salt or silica gel
Without having to turn on the oven and faster than in the open air, drying with salt or silica gel is suitable for dehydration with good results.
For this method of drying, you will need an airtight container, the bottom of which is first covered with a thin layer of drying flower salt or silica gel. The flowers are then placed and completely covered with salt or silica gel. Once covered, close the container.
After about a week the flowers have dried and are ready. Carefully remove any residue with a brush. The advantage of silica gel is that it is reusable for other drying processes.
5. Dry flowers between sheets of books
This technique has a certain romanticism, but it is very useful. Very thick and heavy books will be needed to dry especially small and flat flowers.
Flowers should be covered on both sides with parchment or paper towel (blotting paper) and placed in the middle of a thick book. The flowers will have to be checked so that mold is not generated and they will be ready between 2 to 4 weeks.
Carefully remove the dried flowers with tweezers. Pressed flowers are ideal for decorating cards or framing.
You will surely find the best technique to dry your favorite flowers and decorate your interior, create paintings or delicate floral compositions.