Garden Crafting - Creating Your Own Dried Flowers
I have always had a fondness for dried flowers. The concept of preserving the flower to enjoy for a long time after it blooms. Whether it is in a simple bouquet, a piece of jewellery or a work of art. The use of a dried flower seems endless.
In the past I have played around with different techniques of drying flowers. The typical hang it upside down and allow it dry in the air. I have often used this method for lavender blooms. Simply hanging bunches of cut lavender around the house and enjoying the relaxing scent as it dries out.
I have also dried petals on a cooling rack in the hot-press. This was very useful to make natural confetti. I simply collected the petals from spent blooms in the rose garden and allowed them to dry out in their own time in the atop trays in the hot-press.
This year I done some research though. I wanted to know if there was a way, I could dry flowers while preserving the shape and colour of the bloom.
That’s when I stumbled across this method of using silica gel.
The silica gel absorbs the moisture but as it surrounds the blooms, this allows it to preserve the shape of the petals better than hanging or rack drying.
So, I set out googling where I could get my hands on this gold dust.
I quickly realised packets silica gel can be quite pricey. So, I found a budget friendly alternative. Silica gel cat litter. It is the same thing but because it was branded as kitty litter rather than craft supplies it meant it was a fraction of the price.
The kitty litter arrived, and I got to cutting. I tried a variety of different blooms. Some bigger and some smaller. Some thin and some thick.
The best flowers to preserve are ones with low water content. Some that I found worked very well are Verbena, Achillea, Cornflower, Statice.
All I do is simply harvest the flowers I want to preserve.
Cut them to size so they can fit inside my container.
Place them in and pour the silica on top.
If I have lots of flowers, I will do them in layers, so they all get evenly covered with the silica.
Then I abandon them for three days before moving them to a storage box where they can wait for me to decide what I want to make with them. Sometimes they will need a little longer than three days but generally they are ready to go at that stage.
I have not yet decided what it is I am going to use these flowers for, but I am sure inspiration will strike and I will find a purpose for them.
Drying your own flowers is very simple and a lot of fun to do. For a small cost of the silica gel, you can preserve countless blooms and makes for a very enjoyable garden activity.