Drying flowers became a favorite hobby during the Victorian era. Dried flowers were used as garlands and as decorations for picture frames, gloves, fans, and jewelry. As necklines plunged, they also became must-have accessories to keep the decolletage area more alluring. Dried flowers have also become a favorite decor in many homes. Since dried flowers have been dehydrated, they will no longer wilt and will retain most of their shape and texture. This makes them ideal as decorations. With fresh flowers, you know that they will only last you for a few days or more than a week if you are talking about freesias, alstroemerias, dahlias, and chrysanthemums. Emily Dolan from Red Earth Flowers explains this furthermore.
With such a long history, dried flowers remain a favorite decor element, although their popularity has risen and declined over the years. At the moment, however, dried flowers are enjoying a resurgence. This is especially true among older generations who remember the charm and romance of dried flowers and among the younger generation who love the look, feel, and the scent of dried flower arrangements.
Why You Should Try Dried Flower Decorations
Let’s face it – it’s not for everyone but dried flower fans will readily tell you that these blooms have an appeal all their own. They also last longer, look great at any time of the year, and – if you have a flower garden – can even be made at home.
Where to Find Dried Flowers
Dried flowers are fairly popular and should be easy to find. You could purchase them from hobby shops and craft stores. They are also available at wedding and events supplies stores. Many of these shops also have online shops, so you could purchase them from virtually anywhere.
f you have access to fresh flowers, do not throw them away once they begin to wilt. You could turn fresh flowers from your garden, or ones you have purchased or received into dry versions as well. The process is quite easy and with careful attention to the procedure, you will be able to produce beautiful, dried flowers yourself.
There are several ways to dry flowers. Let’s take a look at how you can do these procedures easily.
Air drying is the simplest way to dry flowers, although it requires time. With air drying, all that needs to be done is to hang flowers in a dry place and allow them to dehydrate naturally. To ensure the best results, it is better to cut off extra leaves from the stem and leave only a few leaves intact. Some leaves will curl as they dry, so keep this in mind. Several flowers may also be grouped together as desired.
Tie the flowers at the stem with a string and hang them upside down. If you hang them right side up, the flowers will bend at the head because the stem right under the bloom tends to be softer and thinner.
Once done, find an area away from foot traffic. As they dry, flowers become more delicate. Hanging them in a safe place will prevent damage. Choose a spot that is dark or receives minimal light. Light and heat damage the color of the flower. If you hang the blooms in a bright area, the colors will fade, sometimes to an unattractive shade. Leave the flowers for at least three weeks to dry completely.
Silica sand is quartz sand, industrial sand, or white sand. Unlike regular sand, silica sand does not contain other minerals such as potassium, carbonate, or iron. This is why silica sand is an excellent medium to use for drying flowers. Unlike air drying, silica sand can preserve the colors of the flowers better.
To dry flowers using this method, line a container with sand, lay the flowers on top, then cover completely with more sand. You may cover the container to protect it from external moisture. The number of days you have to keep the flowers in the sand will vary depending on the type of blooms you have. With this process, flowers may be kept in the sand from 2 to 7 days.
A microwave oven comes in handy for a quick way to dry flowers. Line the bottom of a microwave-safe container with silica sand, place the cut flowers on top, then cover completely with more sand.
Fill a cup with water and place it in the oven with the container. The full process of drying using this method will only take about 2-3 minutes in total but you will have to use 30-second increments to heat. This means that you will have to turn the oven on for 30 seconds, check the flower for changes, cover it again, then heat it for another 30 seconds until the flower is completely dry. When you are satisfied with the results, leave the flower buried in the sand for about 24 hours before using it for an arrangement.
Don’t Stop with Flowers!
Many dried flower arrangements look better with other dried materials. When drying or buying flowers, consider foliage as well. Long-stemmed leaves and fern are excellent when used in an arrangement, adding height, contrast, and interest. Consider other elements such as leaves, bulbs, vines, grass plumes, and cones, too.
Making Dried Flower Arrangements
Prepare the materials to begin making dried flower arrangements and decorations. Here are a few basic materials to start:
- Vase or Basket
- A pair of scissors
- Chicken wire
- Floral foam or Styrofoam
- A can of hairspray
Dried flowers may have the same design elements like fresh flowers, which means that your imagination is the limit. The one difference you should remember is that dried flowers tend to be brittle, so they have to be handled with care.
Start by spritzing the flowers with hairspray. Hairspray will coat the surface of the flowers and stem and help prevent the petals and leaves from shedding. If the color has faded significantly, you could use a color floral spray.
Know your design. The type, size, and color of the flowers should work with the vase or basket you use. Consider the length of the stems as well and do not be afraid to experiment with materials of different heights.
If the vase will be placed on a table or shelf that will be backed by a wall, you could use taller or longer stemmed materials on the back of the vase since it will only be viewed from the front. If the vase can be seen all around, arrange the materials in such a way to maximize the view.
To arrange, line the interior of the vase or basket with chicken wire. Floral foam or Styrofoam may also be used to make it easier to keep flowers in place. Place the taller flowers first, then add the grounding flowers – shorter-stemmed flowers at the bottom layer. Grounding flowers make up most of the dried flower arrangement. These blooms are usually cut shorter, so they are closer to the rim of the vase.
Once done, add smaller flowers and other accent elements. Do not leave any blank spots on the arrangement. To fix any “holes”, simply trim accent pieces and insert them or add details such as grass plumes, depending on what works.
Use opaque vases or baskets to hide the wire or foam. If you only have clear glass containers, try wrapping the exterior with ribbons, hemp, paper, or fabric.
Try to keep a good length of the stem during the drying process. That way you have better flexibility later when you want to cut them to fit your desired arrangement.
How to Make Dried Flower Arrangements Last Longer
Because they are organic materials, dried flowers can shed (even after a healthy spritz of hairspray), become broken, or just start to disintegrate. This is to be expected. To make dried flower arrangements last longer, place them in a spot where they will not be touched or disturbed. Keep them away from direct sunlight and sources of heat. Dried flower arrangements also last longer in dry conditions, so they likely will not survive the conditions in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry area.