Flowers have always been a part of life’s most important events. From the corsage you wore on your prom night, to the first rose you ever received from your lover, flowers have always held a sentimental place in our hearts.
To help you preserve some of life’s greatest memories, FTD created this guide on how to preserve flowers so that they can last just a bit longer. We’ve also included a visual to illustrate the many ways that dried and preserved flowers can be re-purposed —- like making your own lavender-scented linen spray! Check out the guide for more creative floral ideas!
Fresh flowers hold special memories. They remind you of the time you spent choosing your wedding flowers to create that perfect centerpiece. They take you back to prom when pinning on a boutonniere seemed like the most daunting task. They signify favorite holidays, exotic travel destinations, and people close to your heart. Because flowers are so sentimental, you always wish you could do something to make them last a little bit longer. Well, you can! Pressing and drying flowers is a great way to preserve them. If you’re not sure how, here’s a quick reminder on how to press and dry flowers.
1. Press Flowers With Books
The most basic way to press flowers is by using books. First, arrange your flowers on a white piece of paper, making sure that they don’t touch. Flowers that touch will stick together after pressing. Then, cover your flowers with another white sheet of paper and place them in a book. Stack more books on top for added weight, and wait two to four weeks for the flowers to press.
2. Press Flowers in the Microwave
If you want to speed up the pressing process, you can also press flowers in the microwave. To do this, cut out two pieces of cardboard. Place three paper towels on the first piece of cardboard and arrange your flowers. Cover the flowers with three more paper towels and the remaining piece of cardboard and rubber band the entire thing together. Microwave for one to two minutes and then let cool for fifteen minutes. Repeat this process until the flowers are pressed and dry.
3. Press Flowers with an Iron
You can also press flowers in about five minutes by using an iron. Place flowers in parchment paper, and place this parchment paper between two paper towels. Then, make sure your iron is free of water and set it to medium heat. Press flowers with iron for ten to fifteen seconds and then let up. Do this continually for about three minutes.
If you want to dry flowers instead of pressing them, air drying is the most common method. You should start drying your flowers right after they begin to open. Clean the stems of leaves and then rubber band flowers of the same species together. Each bundle should have about ten flowers. Hang them upside down for two to four weeks, and then they’re ready to use! To better preserve them, you can lightly mist them with hairspray.
5. Dry Flowers in the Microwave
Like with pressing, you can speed up the drying process by using a microwave. For this, you need a desiccant like silica gel or cat litter to absorb moisture. Add some of your desiccant to a microwave-safe bowl, then put your flowers in and add more desiccant until they are covered. Heat in microwave for two minutes and check. If the flowers are not dry, heat in one minute intervals until they are completely dry.
After you’ve preserved flowers, what do you do with them? We’ve put together a visual to show you the variety of ways that pressed and dried flowers can be used to freshen up your beauty routine and decorate your home. Whether you want to maintain the shape of the flowers to create a lasting piece of art or bring out their scent in bath bombs or potpourri, the possibilities are endless. Plus, most of these suggestions are fast, easy, and perfect if your friends are the type that appreciate thoughtful homemade gifts.
Now that you know all of the things that you can do with flowers, maybe you’re next time you’ll get a mixed bouquet with blooms that are good for pressing and drying. Remember, flat flowers like violets, pansies, and geraniums can be pressed best, while more robust flowers like roses are best dried.
If you’re not the crafty type, don’t worry, there are other ways that you can re-purpose bouquets, like donating them! From Flower Angels USA to Random Acts of Flowers, there are programs all across the country that facilitate flower donations to brighten hospital rooms and cheer up patients, and many will even come and pick them up from your doorstep.