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Easy Ways to Dry Flowers

Whether you want to preserve your wedding bouquet for posterity, incorporate dried flowers into a craft project, or just keep a bunch of your favourite blooms as a permanent fixture in your home, drying flowers is the ideal way to make your blooms last… and last.
 
There are a number of simple drying techniques to choose from. The trick is to choose the right technique to suit your flowers. Here are five of the most common methods…
 
  Silica Gel
 
  If you want your flowers to look just like they did in your garden, trying using silica gel. Silica gel (yes, the curious substance inside those little sachets you find packaged with new leather shoes and bags) is a drying agent that can be readily bought from craft shops. You can use this to dry out your blooms by either using the microwave technique (above) or by gently burying your flowers in a container filled with the ‘gel’ and leaving them for a week to dry out.  
 
  Microwave
 
  Dry flowers in minutes instead of weeks by using a microwave. Choose the flowers for drying. Pop your flowers in the microwave if you want to dry them fast. This technique is also ideal if you want to preserve single flowers, such as gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums.

All you’ll need is a microwavable container and, strangely, some cat litter (if it can dry out what the cat left behind, it can dry out flowers). Place the flowers blossom-up on a layer of cat litter and pour more litter over the petals. Heat in the microwave for 2-5 minutes on half-power, then remove and dust of any traces of litter.
 
 
  Air drying
 
  Hanging bouquets upside down is the most traditional technique for drying flowers. Gather the flowers in a bunch and secure the stems with a rubber band. Hang upside down in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight, like from kitchen rafters or in an empty closet. Watch the petals shrink and change color, and within a few weeks you'll have beautiful dried flowers in vintage hues. Try arranging them to make this table centerpiece.  
 
  By pressing
 
  Pressed flowers can be used for all manner of pretty craft projects. This technique is best suited to flat-headed flowers, such as violets, pansies and daisies – and can be done in a variety of ways. Check out our complete guide to pressing flowers to find the right method to suit your needs.   
 
  The lazy way
 
  Drying flowers in a vase is effortless. Place the stalks in a few inches of water and forget about them. Once all the water is evaporated, the flowers should be upright and perky, but dry. Hydrangeas or baby's breath are good choices for this method, as blooms with more tender stalks might droop. Simply use the vase as a table decoration or remove the flowers, tie a ribbon around the stems and hang on the wall.