How to Dry Flowers with Silica Gel and Wiring for Use

drying roses with silica gel

drying roses with silica geldrying roses with silica gel

Now take the flowers you want to preserve and trim the stem off. Then place them upright in a container that’s as narrow as possible but still wide enough for your flowers. In this example, I used a single rose, so a tiny little jar was perfect for me. If you have multiple flowers you want to dry at once, you might want to use a wider jar, bowl, or tray. Just make sure you choose something with a tight-fitting lid.

drying roses with silica geldrying roses with silica gel

Then pour your silica gel beads gently over the flowers until they are halfway covered. Take a moment to be sure the flowers are upright and straight, then pour more silica gel on, covering them completely.

drying roses with silica gel

Then put the lid on and wait for the silica gel to do its thing. It will take about 10 days, depending on what kind of flower you are drying. Something thin like a daisy might dry in a few days, but a thick rose will take the full 10 days.

Drying roses with silica gel

Flowers for drying using a desiccant, and approximate drying time using silica gel.

Flowers

  • Anemone
    2 to 3 days
  • Baby’s breath
    2 to 3 days
  • Bachelor’s button
    2 days
  • Black-eyed Susan
    2 days
  • Camellia
    2 days
  • Canterbury bells
    3 to 4 days
  • Cosmos
    2 to 3 days
  • Crocus
    2 days
  • Daffodil
    2 to 3 days
  • Dahlia
    2 to 3 days
  • Daylily
    1 day
  • Daisy
    2 days
  • Delphinium
    2 to 3 days
  • Foxglove
    3 days
  • Gladiolus
    2 to 3 days
  • Hyacinth
    4 to 5 days
  • Iris
    2 to 3 days
  • Larkspur
    2 days
  • Lilac
    2 days
  • Lily-of-the-valley
    2 days
  • Marigold
    3 to 4 days
  • Pansy
    2 to 3 days
  • Peony
    2 to 3 days
  • Queen Anne’s lace
    2 days
  • Rose
    2 to 3 days
  • Salvia
    2 days
  • Scarlet sage
    2 days
  • Snapdragon
    2 to 3 days
  • Stock
    3 to 4 days
  • Sunflower
    2 days
  • Sweet pea
    2 days
  • Tulip
    2 days
  • Verbena
    2 days
  • Yarrow
    1 day
  • Zinnia
    2 to 3 days

Wiring  – Use about a 20- to 24-gauge wire.

In shallow containers, the wires may be bent several times or simply bent out of the way for drying. After the flowers have dried, the wires can be straightened and other wires added to prepare them for arranging

 Hide the hook well when hook wiring a flower before drying Hide the hook

Hook wiring. To hook wire a flower (Figure 1), push the wire upward through the center of the stem, if hollow, or through about the center of the flower. Push it out the top of the flower, bend a small hook in the end of the wire and pull it back into the flower, hooking the center. Make sure the small hook is well-hidden in the flower’s center, or as the flower dries, it will become visible.   Hook wiring may be used for daisies, marigolds, zinnias, or other flowers with soft centers

Cross wire flowers with a hard base, such as roses. Cross-Wire method

Cross wiring. To cross wire a flower (Figure 2), push the wire through the base of the flower at right angles to the stem. Center the wire in the flower base, and then bend both ends down to form a short stem.  Flowers with a harder base or center, such as roses, should be cross wired.

It is best to dry with the bloom upwards.  When it is necessary to lay a stem sideways, brace it so the none of the blooms are flattened.

Provide support to dry spike flowers in a horizontal position

Pour silica gel on the bottom and then add flowers.

To dry flowers facing upward

  • Place a layer of drying material in the bottom of the container 1 to 2 inches deep.
  • Bend the wire stems to the side or curl up.
  • Place the flower on the layer of material in the bottom of the container. Push wire stem down into material.
  • Gently work the base of the flower into the material so it is well-situated, with petals supported and in a normal position.
  • Gently sift the material over the petals, making sure that all petals remain in place as the material is added.
  • If any petals are bent, use a toothpick or similar item to reposition them.
  • Continue to add material until each flower is entirely covered.
  • After all flowers have been added and covered, lift the container and tap it gently on the base to help settle the material.
  • After tapping, make sure all petals are still covered. If any have been exposed, add more drying material.
  • Prepare for storage.
    • Borax combinations can be placed directly in a warm, dry place without covering. Drying will normally take two to three weeks.
    • Silica gel should be tightly covered or sealed if the lid is not airtight. Flowers should dry in three to eight days. Drying time varies with the thickness of the flower. If removed too soon, petals will droop. If removed too late, petals become brittle and break easily.
  • Storing dried material

    Dried materials in storage may occasionally be attacked by one or more household insects, such as museum beetles, silverfish, roaches or others closely related to them. As the insects chew on the soft tissue of the plant centers, flowers may shatter and fall apart. These insects are not necessarily on the flowers as they come from the garden but move into the boxes in the home during storage.

    Tightly sealed containers prevent insect invasion. Occasionally check boxes, and if insects are present, destroy the infected materials and thoroughly clean the container before using it again. Naphthalene flakes may repel insects, or some general insecticides may help control them, but once an area is infested, complete eradication is difficult. Cleanliness and persistence are the best means of remedying the situation.

    Do not consider dried flowers everlasting. Preferably, they should be replaced yearly, but with good care they often last longer. Even the best dried flowers gradually fade and should be discarded when they no longer produce the desired effect. Flowers that tend to fade may be lightly tinted with aerosol paints or dyes for more durable color. With care, the natural look can be preserved.

  • http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g6540
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