Dried flowers are a very cheap and yet very beautiful way of decorating a home. Place them in potpourri pots, or in a vase. Stick them into wreaths, or cluster them into low-lying pots or boxes for a charming table centerpiece. Many people also use dried flowers as a material in crafts, such as shadow boxes.
You can buy dried flowers at craft stores, but you can also make them at home. Here is a simple beginner’s guide to air-drying flowers.
Tools for air-drying flowers
You already have the tools you need! First, you need something to hang them with. You can use rubber bands, wooden pegs, paper clips. Then, you need something to hang them on. Choose a spot that’s not under direct sunlight, then attach cup hooks to the wall. See, that’s all it takes!
Best flowers for air-drying
You can get flowers from your own garden or pick wild flowers. Or maybe you have a bouquet of flowers that has special significance for you that you would like to preserve for posterity.
Bear in mind, though, that some flower varieties are easier to air dry. Dahlias, marigolds,amaranths… love-in-a-mist seed heads and poppy seed heads… larkspur…lavender and marjoram… strawflowers and cornflowers, thistles… There are other varieties, too, but these are what you’d normally find in a garden.
Best time to air-dry flowers
You need to air-dry the flowers before they mature to the point that it sheds its petals. In fact, it’s best to begin the air-dry process when the flower is just about to open. Not only will the petals be intact, but the flower will best be able to hold its shape.
This is not a hard and fast rule, though. All flower varieties have their own ‘quirks’ and as you practice air-drying you will realize what works best for each type. Some, for example, are better air-dried when the seed head has matured—especially if it is the most striking aspect of the flower.
It’s best to cut flowers on a very sunny day, after the morning dew has dried. That way, Nature has jumpstarted your drying process.
How to air-dry flowers
Tie the flowers together, near the cut tips. It’s better to use rubber bands rather than string, because the stems will shrink and a rubber band will retain its grip. Then, take a paperclip and then hook the flower to a peg or wall hook. Your flowers will be hanging upside down. (See this demo.) Leave the bouquet to dry. This may take anywhere from 7 days to a month. You know the bouquet is ready when the flowers feel crisp.