How to dry flowers at home

There are always good memories attached to flowers, especially if you have received them on special occasions like Valentine's Day, a birthday, or an anniversary. but they do not last very long. Therefore, they cannot be kept long unless special tricks like drying flowers are used.

In this article, we will review and explain five main methods of drying flowers.

Methods Of Drying Flowers At Home

There are five main methods for drying flowers at home:

1. Air Drying

Air drying is the traditional method for preserving flowers.  To air-dry flowers, you bind bouquets and hang them upside down to air-dry on their own.

Flowers usually take two to four weeks to dry completely without some accelerant. 

Air drying is great for making dried bouquets for table centerpieces or decorative accents.

air-drying-flowers

How to Air Dry Flowers 

You'll need scissors, string/rubber bands, and a dark, dry hanging spot. Follow these steps:

  1. Select fresh, sturdy flowers: Pick more than needed in case of damage.
  2. Group the same types together: Strip away leaves and snip stems to the desired length. Limit bundles to 2 or 3 stems.
  3. Tie stems together firmly: Use a rubber band or string, but not too tight, to avoid denting or creasing. Keep in mind that your stems will shrink as they dry out.  
  4. hang the tied bundles upside down in an open, dry area with ample airflow. Use pieces of twine to tie each small floral bouquet to a drying stick, rod, or hanger, spacing the bunches apart by at least 6 inches for best results. You can also simply hang them from hooks along a wall or ceiling. 

Check them periodically as the drying time ranges from 2-4 weeks on average, sometimes longer depending on factors like the flowers' size, thickness, and moisture content. The petals will become crisp to the touch when fully dried. Once ready, you can enjoy these preserved flowers for many months or even years if stored properly out of sunlight.

2. Microwaving

The microwave drying method involves placing the flowers in a microwave-safe container with a desiccant material like silica gel or cat litter. The desiccant draws moisture out of the petals and stems to rapidly dry the flowers without causing them to shrink or shrivel up. 

Heating them gently in the microwave accelerates water removal, so drying only takes days compared to weeks with other methods. 

It works best for small flowers, individual flower heads, or delicate buds rather than big, thick bouquets. The advantages of microwave drying are speed and preserving more of the original shape. 

microwaving

How to Microwave Flowers  

Microwaving flowers with the help of a desiccant to remove moisture is a process that takes a day rather than weeks. You only need a microwave, scissors, desiccant, and a cup of water for the microwave method. Here is an overview of how to dry flowers in the microwave:

  1. Remove the foliage: Strip your flowers of any remaining leaves and snip the stem to fit into your microwave-safe container.  
  2. Cover your flower with desiccant: Before placing the flower in the container, fill it with a layer of desiccants such as silica, then place it on top. put flowers on top of the first layer of silica, then fill the rest of the container with more silica.  
  3. Put in the microwave with a glass of water: Place the container with your flower in the microwave and a glass of water to help prevent the flower from drying out too much.  
  4. Heat in increments: Microwave your flower for 30 seconds. Remove the flower from the microwave once the petals feel dry. Let the flower sit in the silica for at least another 24 hours before removing, cleaning, and displaying it.

3. Desiccant Method

You can simply submerge your flowers in a desiccant bed—like kitty litter or silica gel—and let them sit for a few weeks to remove their moisture. This method takes longer than microwaving your flowers but can preserve their color more effectively.  

Desiccant-Method-for-drying-flowers

How to Dry Flowers With a Desiccant

Flowers can also be dried in a desiccant container if you don't own a microwave. Drying your flowers may take up to a week, but this method will eventually dry them out and help maintain their color. Here is an overview of how to dry flowers in a desiccant:  

  1. Choose your desiccant: You can use silica gel with a little salt or simple kitty litter to wick the moisture out of your flowers. Choose a large container and pour in your desiccant to create a bed for your flowers. Consider using a mask and gloves when working with the desiccant.  
  2. Remove the foliage: Strip your flowers of any remaining leaves and snip the stem so it can fit into your container. Depending on the size of your container, you may need to trim the stems of your flowers.  
  3. Cover flower in desiccant: Submerge your flowers in the desiccant and cover them with a lid to lock them in.  
  4. Let your flowers dry: Your flowers may take two to seven days to dry. Keep an eye on them in about five days to see how they're doing. Once the petals are dried out, they are ready to be displayed. 

4. Baking

Baking is a rapid flower drying technique that involves placing blooms in the oven at a low temperature for 1-2 hours. The gentle heat quickly pulls moisture from the petals without cooking the delicate flowers. However, some fragile flowers may lose petals during baking. Compared to air drying methods, baking can fade colors.

baking-and-dry-flowers

How to Dry Flowers in the Oven

Baking your flowers in the conventional Oven is a quick and easy way to dry them out. Your flowers may lose petals or color in the Oven; this method is best for making potpourri. Here is a quick overview of how to dry flowers in the Oven:  

  1. Remove the foliage: Strip your flowers of any remaining leaves because the greenery may not dry well in the Oven. Lay them on a baking rack and place them on a cookie sheet.  
  2. Bake your flowers: Bake your flowers for about two hours in a conventional oven heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Check on your flowers after an hour. If they are fading, you can remove them.  
  3. Let your flowers dry: Once flowers have cooled off, they are ready to use.

5. Pressing

Flower pressing involves squeezing the moisture out of flowers with heavy objects. When it comes to crafting, artwork, and stationery, pressing flowers is an effective way to dry them out. 

Pressing-method

How to Press Flowers 

All you need to press flowers is parchment, wax paper, and a heavy book or flat object. Here is a brief overview of how to dry flowers:  

  1. Pick the right flowers: Choose flat flowers or flowers with thick petals because these are the friendliest flowers for pressing.  
  2. Lay your flowers on paper: Put your flowers between two pieces of parchment or wax paper (sandwiching) flat on the table. You can also open a large, thick book to the middle and line the pages with non-stick paper.  
  3. Apply pressure: Put a heavy, flat object on top of the paper covering your flower, or gently close the book where you're drying your flowers. Leave your pressed flowers in a warm, dark, and dry location.  
  4. Replace the drying paper: After a week or so, check your flowers. Replace the used paper with fresh, dry paper, but be careful because your flowers will be very delicate. You may need to repeat the process several times until the flowers are completely dried, which can take up to four weeks.

Tools And Materials Needed For Drying Flowers At Home

Here are the basic supplies you'll need for the main drying methods:


Methods

Supplies

Air Drying

  • Rope to hang
  • Hanger or drying rack

Microwaving

  • Silica gel
  • Microwave-safe dish
  • Cup of water
  • Gloves and mask (for safety)

Desiccant Method

  • Plastic container with tight-fitting lid
  • Silica gel beads 
  • Gloves and mask (for safety)

Baking

  • Oven
  • Backing rack
  • Cookie sheet

Pressing

  • Flower press
  • Newspaper, Parchment paper, or blotting paper

How Long Does It Take To Dry Flowers With Each Method?

Drying times can vary greatly depending on humidity, flower size, flower type, etc. But here are some general timelines:  


Methods

Drying time

Air Drying

2-4 weeks  

Microwaving

1-2 days

Desiccant Method

1-2 weeks  

Baking

1-3 hours 

Pressing

2-4 weeks

 

So, air drying and pressing take the longest, while the baking and microwave methods offer faster results.

Best Flowers To Dry

Here are some of the best flowers for each drying method:


Methods

Best Flowers

Air Drying

  • Roses  
  • Amaranth  
  • Baby's Breath   
  • Celosia
  • Coneflower  
  • Daisies  
  • Gomphrena  
  • Hydrangea  
  • Lavender stems  
  • Marigolds  
  • Statice  
  • Strawflower  
  • Thistle  
  • Yarrow  
  • Herbs (mint, lavender, basil)  

Desiccant Method

  • Roses
  • Daffodils
  • Dahlias
  • Hyacinth
  • Peonies
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnias

Baking

  • Roses
  • Button poms
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnias
  • Blue-toned flowers (e.g., plumbago, statice, gomphrena)

Pressing

  • Cosmos
  • Delphinium
  • Geraniums
  • Pansies
  • Small ferns
  • Sunflowers
  • Vincas
  • Violas

Uses For Dried Flowers

Dried flowers can add beauty and sentimental value to a wide variety of projects around your home. Here are some ideas:

Fragrant Home Décor: Dried petals bring subtle floral essence and vibrancy to rooms for years. Artfully blend assortments of delicate dried blossoms like lavender, rose, jasmine, and more to create custom potpourri mixes in bowls, sachets, or jars. Display arrangements around your home allow the preserved flowers to scent the air gently.

Wedding and Event Accents: Dried flowers are perfect for weddings and events since they hold vibrant colors and lifelike shapes much longer than fresh-cut flowers. String and wire-dried buds, leaves, and herbs into boho flower crowns and hair pieces to complement bridal hairstyles. 

Sentimental Homemade Gifts: Dry special flower bouquets received from loved ones or wedding ceremonies to artfully preserve inside shadow boxes, displays, jewelry, and bookmarks as cherished mementos of meaningful moments.

Table Centerpieces and Shelving: Dip full flower stems and arrangements in wax to craft everlasting tabletop centerpieces that you can enjoy for years without replacing. Dried flowers retain realistic beauty to elegantly elevate tables, countertops, shelves, or mantels long-term.

Let your imagination run wild; there's no limit to creativity.

uses-for-dried-flowers

Dried Flowers Longevity

Properly dried and cared-for flowers can last many years. However, colors may fade or develop a yellow tinge. To make them last longer, Keep your flowers away from direct sunlight and humidity to preserve them longer. To dry them out completely, you can also put them in a bowl with desiccants like silica gel.

How To Care For Dried Flowers

Here are some tips for caring for dried flowers to maximize their longevity:

  • Wait until your flowers are partially or fully open before drying and preserving them.   
  • Drying works best for more robust flowers or whole bouquets. At the same time, pressing is the best method for preserving smaller, more delicate flowers.   
  • Dried flowers can last for a long time, no matter the preservation technique, but keep them out of direct sunlight and away from extreme heat to help your flowers keep their color.   
  • Keep your flowers strong by spraying your flowers with an acrylic seal or wax when finished, no matter which preservation technique you choose.

Tips For Drying Flowers

Here are some helpful tips for getting the best results when drying flowers at home:  

    • Use fresh flowers: Pick flowers to dry that are just starting to open to maximize their shelf life and reduce the risk of petal loss. Cut your flowers only after the morning dew has just dried.  
    • Use healthy flowers: The healthiest flowers will hold their integrity for a longer time, so make sure to pick flowers that are not wilted, damaged, or compromised for any reason.  
    • Dry your flowers out of direct sunlight: Dry your flowers out of direct sunlight because the light will cause the color of your flowers to fade.  
    • Keep out of moisture:  Keep them in a dry spot away from humidity with a slight airflow. 
    • Preserve your flowers with hairspray: Spritz them once they are dry to help the dried flower hold their shape and prevent petal loss.  
  • Avoid using flowers with bruises or brown spots  
  • Always choose fresh flowers for the best results  
  • For thick flowers (peonies, ranunculus, roses), you can remove petals before drying   
  • Flowers with fleshy or water-rich petals may not preserve well

Final Words

Drying flowers at home allows you to preserve beautiful blooms for crafts, decor, and more. With so many techniques, you can pick the best method for your needs and the types of flowers you want to dry. Pay attention to care and storage after the flowers are dried; your homemade dried flower creations can last for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way To Preserve A Wedding Bouquet?

The best way to preserve your wedding bouquet depends on your goals, but air drying is a gentle do-it-yourself method that retains the original colors, shapes, and sentimental value. For flatter dried flowers, pressing between sheets of paper works well. Professional methods like freeze-drying or painting bouquets create stunning, artistic, preserved versions.

What Flowers Are Easiest To Dry?

The best flowers for drying are those with small, tight sepals and petals that hold their shape well, such as amaranth, baby's breath, celosia, coneflower, hydrangea, lavender, pansies, roses, salvia, statice, strawflower, and yarrow.

Should I remove leaves and stems before drying flowers?

You'll get the best results if you remove excess foliage before drying. Stripping away leaves and trimming stems helps the flowers dry faster and more evenly. For some drying methods like microwaving and pressing, removing greenery is essential.

How Do I Dry Flowers Fast?

The fastest way to dry flowers at home is using a desiccant like silica gel in the microwave. This can dry flowers in 1-2 days. Baking flowers in the Oven is another quicker drying method that takes 1-3 hours. Air drying and pressing take 2-4 weeks for full drying.

Should Flowers Be Dried In Sunlight?

No, sunlight should be avoided when drying flowers. Direct sun causes the colors of the petals to fade and accelerate the aging process. Dry flowers in a dark, dry spot protected from light. Once dried, also store flowers out of sunlight.

How Can I Revive Dried Flowers?

If your dried flowers start to lose their color, shape, or texture over time, you can try reviving them with silica gel. Place the blooms in an airtight container layered with the desiccant for 1-2 weeks to reabsorb moisture. Then, display again.


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