Because the art of drying and pressing flowers has become more and more popular, I wanted to create a series of blog posts to walk you through the steps involved in drying, pressing, and using small bouquets of color in a variety of paperweight designs. You'll see how flowers and floral accents can be used as focal points or to simply lend a touch of natural elegance.
If you're drying flowers for a paperweight (available at PhotoWeights.com), it's important to choose flowers that are small enough to comfortably fit within the paperweight's display area (length, width, depth). I'll explain more about this in my design posts.
Here's what you'll need:
A variety of small flowers and greenery
Silica gel crystals
Air-tight containers with lids (at least 3-4" deep)
Be sure to read and follow the safety information and instructions that come with your silica gel.
Step 1: Pour at least 1-2" of silica gel crystals into your container. The silica needs to be deep enough to gently sink the base of your flowers into so they'll remain upright.
Step 2: When preparing flowers for drying, remove the stems by cutting across the hip. This will reduce the thickness of the flowers and create a somewhat flat bottom, making it easier to lay them on a background.
Step 3: Place the flowers into the silica, sinking them slightly into the crystals so they remain upright. Be sure there is separation between the flowers so they don't touch.
Step 4: Cover the flowers with the silica by slowly sprinkling the crystals over them. When the petals are nearly covered, gently tap the container on your work surface to help fill in any voids or gaps. Slowly sprinkle more silica into the container until the flowers are completely hidden.
Step 5: Place the air-tight lid on the container. For small roses, store the container in a cool, dry place and allow them to remain in the silica, undisturbed, for at least 5-6 days. Larger flowers and flowers with thicker petals will require additional time. (Refer to the directions that come with your silica gel.)
Be sure to clean up any silica gel that may have been spilled in your work area.
Six days later...
Step 6: After the right amount of time has passed, slowly pour the silica gel from the container into a large bowl. Gently remove the flowers from the silica and shake each one gingerly to remove any excess crystals.
The silica gel is reusable, so place them in an air-tight container for future projects.
Again, be sure to clean your work area to clean up any silica gel that may have been spilled.
Your flowers are beautifully preserved.
Small Accent Flowers and Greenery
Small accent flowers and greenery can also be dried using the same process.
My thanks to Connie at Black Tie Floral in De Smet, SD, for providing me with the beautiful flowers I used in this post.