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With summer coming to a close, now is the time to preserve the bright colors to remind us of warmer days during the cold winter. So let’s discuss the methods of drying and displaying dried flowers and other plants. Below you will find different methods for drying/pressing plants and ideas on how you can use them!

Pressing methods

Pressing flowers means they are flattened out during the process and do not preserve their natural shape. These flowers are typically very thin once they’ve been pressed and are quite delicate. Pressing individual petals is also a good idea if you have larger, rounder flowers.  

Below are two different methods for pressing flowers. You can press them in a book. Or for a faster method, you can try pressing them in the microwave.

Materials:

  • Flowers
  • Book
  • Wax paper (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Select the flowers you would like to use and a big heavy book.
  2. You can either place the flowers in the book with sheets of wax paper or place the flower on a table with wax paper covering it and then place the book on top.
  3. This process can take 1-2 weeks. After a week, come back and check on your flower. 

Materials:

  • Flowers 
  • Paper towels
  • Microwave
  • Flat, heavy microwave-safe dish 

Instructions:

  1. Select your flowers and place them on a paper towel.
  2. Once the flowers are in place, cover them with another paper towel and place a heavy, flat, microwave-safe dish on top.
  3. Microwave in 30-second intervals, periodically checking the flowers until they are dry.   

Drying methods

Drying flowers means the flowers will keep their natural form. It is best to dry flowers that are larger and rounder as they are more difficult to press. If you don’t want your flowers flattened and would rather have them fully formed, try these methods.

Materials:

  • Flowers
  • String

Instructions:

  1. Optional: Remove the leaves and foliage from the stems of your flowers. 
  2. For a bouquet arrange all your flowers as you like, and then tie the stems together with some string. Larger flowers should be done individually. 
  3. Hang the flowers about 6 inches apart from each other in the open air. 
  4. Leave to dry for 2-4 weeks. 

Materials:

  • Desiccant (Silica or kitty litter)
  • Flowers
  • Container

Instructions:

  1. Pour a layer of silica or kitty litter into the bottom of your container.
  2. Then place your flower on top of that layer and cover the rest of it with another layer.
  3. Place a lid on top of the container.
  4. The flowers can take from 2-7 days to dry. Check on them to see their progress. 

Materials:

  • Desiccant (Silica or kitty litter)
  • Flowers
  • Microwave safe container
  • Cup of water

Instructions:

  1. Pour a layer of silica or kitty litter into the bottom of your container.
  2. Then place your flower on top of that layer and cover the rest of it with another layer.
  3. Place the container and cup of water in the microwave. The water will keep the flower from drying out too much. 
  4. Heat the flower for 30 second intervals, continuing to check on it. 
  5. Once you feel the flower is dry enough, remove the container from the microwave and let the flower sit in the silica/kitty litter for another 24 hours.  

Ways to Use your Flowers

Now that you’ve pressed or dried your flowers, let’s look at some beautiful ways to use them!

Materials:

  • Dried flowers
  • Vase

Instructions: 

  1. Once your flowers have finished drying, display them upright in a vase to enjoy through the year.
  2. Optional tip: Spray your dried flowers with hairspray lightly to hold them together better. 

Materials:

  • Wax
  • Pressed Flowers
  • Glass container
  • Wick
  • Paintbrush
  • Wick holder
  • Water or Modge Podge
  • Essential oil (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place your dry wax into your glass container to determine how much you need. Then place that amount in a pot to melt into liquid. 
  2. Lightly brush the inside of the container with water or modge podge, then stick your petals on the inside of the container. They should stick to the wet glass. Make sure they fully dry before pouring the wax in. 
  3. Once your wax has melted, stir in a couple drops of your preferred essential oil.
  4. Stick the bottom of your wick into the melted wax, then place in the center of the container. Hold until the bottom of the wick has dried to the container. 
  5. Place the wick holder over the top of the container to hold the wick in place. 
  6. Pour the melted wax into the glass jar and let it harden.
  7. Once the wax has hardened, cut off the excess of the wick.

Materials:

  • Dried or pressed flowers (using both allows the fully formed flowers to complement the petals)
  • Container
  • Fixative (orris root powder, dry lavender, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, etc.)
  • Essential oils

Instructions: 

  1. In a large bowl combine the flowers, 5-6 drops of essential oils, and your fixative (if powder or dried try 1-2 tbsp). 
  2. Mix together.
  3. Place mixture in a sealed container for 4-6 weeks to allow the fragrance to reach its peak. 

Materials:

  • Pressed flowers
  • Photo frame
  • Modge podge and paint brush (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Arrange flowers how you want in the frame.
  2. If necessary, brush a light layer of modge podge where you want the flowers to be, and place the flowers on top so they do not move.
  3. Close frame and hang to enjoy!

Materials:

  • Dried flowers
  • Shadow box
  • Straight pins

Instructions: 

  1. Select the flowers you want to use.
  2. Open your shadowbox and remove the backboard.
  3. Begin securing and arranging your flowers on the backboard by securing them in place with the pins.
  4. Once you’re happy with your arrangement, place the board back in the shadowbox and secure it.

Check out these books to explore more patterns, techniques, and other beautiful ways to preserve flowers and other plants!

Nature crafts with a microwave by Dawn Cusick

Dried materials lend themselves to any number of crafts, but they generally take so long to dry or are so expensive to purchase pre-dried that some crafters overlook them. Fortunately there is an alternative–armed with this book and your microwave oven, you can preserve all sorts of natural materials quickly and with relative ease, not only flowers but fruits, vegetables, grasses, nuts, seeds, mosses, and even popcorn. Once you’ve mastered microwave drying, proceed to the book’s nicely handled project section for ideas on using the elements in wreaths, sachets, wall hangings, baskets, and more.

Cut & dry : the modern guide to dried flowers from growing to styling by Carolyn Dunster

Dried flowers are a beautiful, low-maintenance and sustainable way to bring nature into your home. In Cut & Dry, expert floral stylist Carolyn Dunster breathes new life into this age-old art and shows you how to extend the life of your favorite plants and create stunning seasonal displays, with 10 projects to try yourself

Making glorious gifts from your garden by Marie Browning

Includes how to instructions for: bath oils, bath herbs, floral waters, and facial scrubs; potpourri, sachets, and pomanders, as well as scented cleaners for around the home; greeting cards, coasters, and decorated soaps; using twigs to make easels and decorate frames and using vines to weave into wreaths.

The book of flower arranging : fresh, dried, and artificial by Mary Forsell

This beautiful guide is filled with an array of fresh, dried and artificial flowers that reflect the unlimited and innovative possibilities in decorative flower arranging. A practical hands-on guide and a lovely browser’s book.

Hoopla

Pressed Flower Art by W. Eugene Burkhart

The art of using pressed and dried flower materials to create pictures and designs has been popular throughout history in cultures around the world. Acclaimed artist W. Eugene Burkhart Jr. passes the craft on in this comprehensive, full-color, how-to guide, sharing information on tools and materials, detailed step-by-step instructions and close-up photographs, and an assortment of projects, patterns, and design ideas for making botanicals, whole flower designs, and intricate cutwork pictures.

OverDrive

Plant Craft by Caitlin Atkinson

Not everyone has a garden—but with only a handful of materials and a little bit of time, everyone can bring the beauty of nature into their home. Plant Craft features projects inspired by the natural world and made out of live plants, cut flowers, foraged branches, and more. You’ll learn how to create a colorful floral mural, an elegant table centerpiece, a serene underwater sculpture, a whimsical mobile, and more. The step-by-step instructions are clear, easy to follow, and fully illustrated with color photographs, and the projects vary in difficulty. Given the right care, they all have the potential to grace a home for a long time.