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How to Dry Flowers at Home
Dried flowers can enhance any home décor whether they are used in wreaths, vases, potpourri, or swags. You can purchase dried flowers at your local craft store but they can be quite expensive and you will be limited to the choices provided by the store. If you dry your own flowers you can choose the varieties you prefer and if you grow your own flowers your costs will be next to nothing.
The easiest way to dry flowers is the air-dry method. Not all varieties of flowers can be dried this way and it might take some experimenting to determine which ones do best. Some flowers will lose their color when they are air-dried and others will lose their petals. To air dry flowers you will need to cut the flowers just as they are beginning to bloom and the petals are new. Flowers that are older will lose their petals as they dry. Tie your flowers together at the bottom of the stem with a piece of twine or floral wire. Suspend your flowers upside down from a peg, coat hook, or clothesline so that they are not touching anything. It will take anywhere from two to three weeks for the flowers to dry completely.
These days you can use your microwave for just about anything and drying flowers is no exception. To dry flowers in the microwave you will need to purchase silica gel crystals from your local craft store. To prepare the silica gel crystals you will need to put them in a microwave safe dish and heat on high for several minutes to remove any moisture. Prepare your flowers by cutting them short enough to fit completely inside of a microwave safe glass container. Pour a few inches of the silica gel into the bottom of the glass container and stand your flower up in the container by placing the stem into the crystals. Fill the remainder of the container with the crystals and gently cover the flower completely. Depending upon the type of flowers you use you will need to microwave the container on high from two to five minutes. Experiment with the timing for each variety. After you remove the container from the microwave you will need to let it cool for thirty minutes. Gently remove the silica gel from the container and carefully brush it from the flower with a small paintbrush.
If you don't want the hassle of experimenting with the microwave you can still use silica gel to dry your flowers. Place a few inches of silica gel in the bottom of a Tupperware container. Place your flowers into the container and bury them with the silica gel. Make sure the petals are completely covered with the gel crystals. Place the cover on the container and seal around the edges with tape to insure that it is airtight. The flowers should be dry in about a week. You can use the silica gel crystals over again by heating them in the microwave or the oven to remove the moisture.
Flowers can also be dried using sand or borax. Pour an inch or two of dry shore sand or sifted borax into the bottom of a box or container. Place the flowers into the box bloom side down and bury them gently with sand or sifted borax. The container does not need to be covered or sealed but the flowers will take three to four weeks to completely dry. Once the flowers are dry you can remove the excess sand or borax with a small paintbrush or makeup brush.
After you have dried your flowers you will want to preserve them so they will last longer. Flowers can be sprayed with a matte acrylic art spray, hairspray, or a specialized dried flower spray that you can find in your local craft shop. The flowers should be sprayed again from time to time to keep them from falling apart and to prevent fading.
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