How to Dry Flowers
Drying flowers for the purpose of preservation has been around since ancient times. In fact, there's evidence of preserving blooms dating back all the way to the Egyptians who used them to decorate tombs. Not only do dried flowers create a beautiful decoration, but they can also serve as a meaningful keepsake—a way to cherish a wedding bouquet or boutonniere for years to come. "The process of drying flowers involves transitioning them from a fresh lithe state of being to a brittle state of permanence," explains Ashley Greer, owner of Atelier Ashley Flowers. In other words, to dry flowers is to let all of the water evaporate.
But not all flowers dry well, so it's important to choose your blooms wisely. "Roses, of course, are one of the most popular and easy-to-dry varieties, but there are many other great options such as hydrangeas and peonies that also make beautiful dried focal flowers," says Joan Wyndrum, florist and founder of wholesale flower company, Blooms by the Box. "For added texture, you can use a number of 'filler' flowers, like baby's breath, statice, solidago, and brunia."
- Clothes drying rack or clothes hangers
- Twine, cut in 10 to 12-inch lengths. You'll be using one piece of twine for every flower you are drying.
If you're selecting your flowers from a bouquet, pull each out and separate them before stripping away any leaves, outer petals that are damp, wilted, or discolored. "Cut an inch or so off the bottom of the stem so that you are starting the drying process in a fresh, clean state," says Linda Ruel Flynn, owner and designer of Flora-Ly Artisan Flower Preservation. Flynn recommends tying one end of the twine to the bottom of the stem, leaving a long tail to fasten to the drying rack or hanger. "[Tie] starting at one end of the hanger, so that your flowers are hanging upside down," she says. "Tie the next flower the same way but three to five inches away from the previous flower." Continue this process for each of your blooms, being careful to not let the flowers touch each other, as this could hinder the airing-out process.
Next, place the drying rack or hangers with tied, suspended flowers in a dry area of your home and leave them undisturbed for two to three weeks. "Thicker flowers, like roses, will take longer to dry, while thinner flowers like lavender, hydrangea, or grasses will dry quicker," she says. The waiting period is the hard part but hang in there because the final result is definitely worth the wait.
After three weeks, it's time to cut your flowers down from their twine perch, being sure to pull off any excess twine during the process. "Bunch and tie them together to hang from a mirror, bunch them together and place in a dry vase, place single stems in bud vases," she says. "Any way you choose will be lovely and you will enjoy these for quite some time."
Keep Them Clean
"A little housekeeping to enjoy your flowers even longer: Dried flowers are prone to dust, just like everything else, so once a week place a pantyhose sock over the end of your vacuum cleaner hose and hold the hose two inches from the dried flowers and vacuum," Flynn suggests. "This will pick up any dust and cobwebs while keeping your flowers intact."