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Preserving Flowers

Photo of a flower preserved by Amelia

Have you ever saved flowers before by pressing them between the pages of a book or hanging a bundle of them to dry in the air? They are both good, easy ways to dry flowers. But there's another way to do this.by using what's called a desiccant. A desiccant is a drying agent.

The goal in drying flowers is to remove as much moisture as possible while keeping the shape of the original flower. The faster you can dry them, the more vibrant the flowers' color will be. The fastest way is with a desiccant.

The kinds of drying agents people usually use are fine, dry, clean sand; Borax from the laundry section at the grocery store; or silica gel, which you can get at a craft store.

Since many wildflowers are protected, it's best to use flowers from your garden. Pick your flowers in the late morning, after the dew has dried but before the noonday sun hits them. Then follow these instructions.

Put a block of Styrofoam or floral form in the bottom of a bucket. An old ice cream container works great because you can dry the flowers upright. Add a layer of drying agent so that the bucket's half-full with Styrofoam and the drying agent.

Amelia adds floral wire to the stem of the flower

Cut back the stem of the flower until it's only 1-2 inches long. Add a piece of floral wire to be the new stem. Stick a piece of floral wire in the base of the blossom. Then, fold the wire so the flower and wire can be buried in the drying agent. When the flower's dry, it'll have a sturdy stem that you can wrap with floral tape.

For flat flowers, like daisies, place the blossom face down in the desiccant. If your flowers have a lot of petals, put them right side up with the stems and wires pressed down into the Styrofoam.

Amelia is showing how to cover the flower with dessicant

Gently cover the flower with the remaining desiccant, spooning it carefully over the blossom so that some falls between the petals. Be careful not to crush the flower.

When the flowers are completely covered, add an airtight lid. Air-tight is important because if the container is not air-tight the drying agent will absorb moisture from the air, instead of from the flowers.

Place the bucket in a dry, brightly lit place for three to eight days. When the flowers are dry the petals will feel papery. Gently pour off the desiccant until you can pick up the flowers by the stem. And you will have a perfectly dried flower, bright, beautiful, and ready to last a long time.



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