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Post-Summer Decorating for Free – Dry Flowers and Enjoy Through Winter

dried flowersJust because summer is over and winter is on its way doesn’t mean you have to give up the joy of flowers throughout your home. Learning to dry your bouquets means you can enjoy them for months to come and if you have a garden, you can create free bouquets to last during the cold months and even give away as gifts.

Drying flowers isn’t very difficult. It’s mostly a matter of choosing the right flowers and harvesting them correctly. Choosing the right technique for drying is also an important part of the process. Flowers can be air dried or dried with silica gel.

Choosing Your Flowers

An important factor in choosing flowers to dry is noting how much water content they have. Flowers that carry a lot of water don’t work well for drying. Some great choices for drying include:

  •  Hydrangea
  •  Lavender
  •  Hollyhocks
  •  Marigold
  •  Roses
  •  Yarrow

When to Harvest

Once you have an idea of which flowers you will be working with, plan when to harvest them. If you are working with flowers purchased from the store, you will clearly have no say, but you will need to harvest them correctly if you are planning to work with flowers from your own garden. Try to harvest in the late morning, after the dew has dried. Flowers picked while still wet with dew may mildew instead of dry. Cut the flowers before the bud has completely opened. Once the flower has opened completely, the petals will begin to drop off.

How to Air Dry Flowers

Choose an area out of the way and mostly dark. Basements and attics are a good place for drying flowers. Sunlight will cause the flowers to fade in color. Drying times are going to vary depending on a number of factors, including the variety of flower and the humidity in your home. Check the flowers after about 10 days, although it may take 20 days or more.

Make small bouquets of the flowers. Each bundle should be about 1/2 inch in diameter. Wrap a rubber band tightly around the stems. Run a string across your ceiling. Hook a paper clip through the rubber band, and hook the small bouquet onto the string so that the flowers hang with the blooms down. This will keep the stems intact. Once the flowers are dry, spraying them with hairspray can help preserve them.

How to Dry Flowers with Silica Gel

If you want to try drying flowers that are more fragile or have a higher water content, silica gel can help. Silica gel can be purchased at any craft store. Despite its name, it is actually small beads. It can be reused over and over.

Spread about an inch of silica at the bottom of an airtight glass or plastic container. It is important to note that any container you use for this should no longer be used for cooking food. Place the flower heads you are drying on the layer of silica, even spaced. Cover with another inch of silica. Seal the container and leave undisturbed for about five days.

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