results, cut flowers after the dew is gone and remove
the leaves. Hang a single flower or flowers in a bunch
by their stems in a well-ventilated area with string,
wire, or pipe cleaners. Hanging them upside down allows
for straight stems rather than a wilted, dried flower
usually seen draping a vase. To preserve the color of
the flower, remove them from sunlight immediately after
cutting and dry them in the dark. For drying flower
heads only, just lay them on a sheet of paper or newspaper
and place in a dark room. The time that it takes for
the flowers to dry depends on all conditions of the
drying environment (humidity, temperature, and airflow),
as well as the type of flowers. It could take as little
as 24 hours up to a week or more. Either way, the petals
of a dried flower should feel like paper and should
no longer be limp or damp.
After flowers are dried, it is still important to keep
them out of direct sunlight. This reduces fading. Keep
dried flowers out of dry, forced airflow as well. This
extreme condition causes the dried flowers to become
brittle and shatter. Over time, dust dried flowers with
a feather duster or with a hair dryer set to its lowest
possible setting. Store dried flowers wrapped in newspaper
and place in a cardboard box. The temperature of the
area that the dried flowers are stored in does not matter,
however, the conditions of the air are extremely important.
Keep dried flowers out of dry air as well as damp air.
Storing dried flowers outside or in a garage are the
most ideal places. As with anything stored, be careful
of rodents and insects. Mothballs may be a precautionary
to prevent this potential problem.
It may be
necessary to use a drying agent for hard to dry flowers.
Such drying agents can be sand, fresh kitty litter,
a white cornmeal and borax mixture, or silica gel. Silica
gel is the best drying agent. The drying agent should
be an inch deep in a flat dish or a cardboard box. Flat
flowers, like daisies or pansies, can be easily placed
in the drying agent face down. Flowers that have many
layers of petals should be sprinkled with the drying
agent face up. Some flowers should be placed horizontally,
like snapdragons and scarlet sage. The flowers should
have at least a half-inch stem. Completely cover the
flowers with the drying agent and store in a safe area
or microwave to speed up the drying time.
like the look of dry flowers, but want them in a hurry,
the microwave proves to be a fast, effective way. Although,
as food tastes better slowly cooked on a stove or in
an oven rather than "nuked," the dry flower
results may not be as desirable as they would be if
air-dried. Testing and experimenting is the best thing
that can be done. Flowers that are "nuked"
should be put in the microwave at their prime or they
may lose their color to an ugly, dead brown. Place the
flower with a half-inch stem face up in a drying agent
and sprinkle more of the agent on top. As before, the
drying agent should be a half-inch deep. Set a small
bowl of water next to the flower in the microwave. It
is important to rotate the flower after every half minute
to a minute. The drying times vary between flowers,
so watch them as you rotate them. It usually takes about
three minutes for most flowers, yet a rose may take
three and a half minutes or more. Again, experimentation
is the only way to tell. When the flower has finished
cooking, you can remove it from the microwave, but DO
NOT take it out of the drying agent immediately. Let
it stand for several hours. Times vary with this as
well. It could be anywhere from eight to twenty-four
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