Who doesn’t love fresh flowers? What if you could extend their life and enjoy them for a longer period of time… Well it dawned on me earlier this summer I could be drying some of the garden flowers using silica gel. Have you tried this before? It’s very easy and something I did when working in floral shops. That was a long time ago…
The first step is to begin with a good foundation of flowers like, zinnias, roses, hydrangeas, larkspur and the list goes on, seek hardy flowers. My favorite drying flower would be the rose because I’m fascinated how the color change. What’s your favorite?
I’ve added a mix of things in this tutorial and hope it will inspire you to give drying flowers with silica gel a whirl.
Where to purchase Silica Gel
Silica gel can be purchased online or at any craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels. I noticed that shopping online offered larger packages which was nice. I didn’t plan this project that far ahead and decided to shop local where I found a couple smaller packages that worked perfectly with these plastic glad containers.
Don’t you just love glad? Inexpensive and you can use them repeatedly for what seems like forever.
How to Begin the Drying Process
The drying process is very simple because the gel crystals work as a guide through the entire process. I’m going to break this down into steps so this is easy to implement.
- New Crystals will have blue pieces mixed in, fill the mixture about 1/4 from the bottom of the glad container.
- Lay fresh flowers on top, I used zinnias, rose buds, and a few herbs.
- Gently cover the flowers with the rest of the gel until all you see is crystals.
- Cover with a lid and let sit for about a week.
Once the crystals turn pink or almost lavender the flowers have dried. The crystals remove the moisture from the flower so they dry without losing their beautiful appearance. Isn’t that neat?
For faster results repeat this same process using the microwave, this speeds things up but the colors won’t be as vibrant and you have to wait for the crystals to cool before removing the flowers. This takes about 30 to 45 minutes and microwaving is around 2- 3 minutes.
Crystals can be reused indefinitely by zapping them in the microwave to retain to their shade of blue. Store in a plastic container or their original packaging and place in a craft cupboard or later.
Beautiful Silica Gel Dried Zinnias
Once the flowers are dry gently remove from the crystals and use tweezers to discard additional crystals. These flowers are delicate to the touch but sturdy enough to use in a fun craft project like a wreath or centerpiece.
The zinnia on the left is fresh and the opposite is dried, I wanted you to see the difference and notice the bright color is perfection.
Preserving flowers using silica gel is a fun way to enjoy flowers after the blooming seasons ends. Hope you enjoyed this technique and next week I’ll be sharing what I made with these zinnias in the Fall seasonal challenge. See you then!