Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
This article is Part II of a series on drying everlastings.
Different methods can be used for drying flowers. The most common is air-drying. However, this is not suitable for every type of bloom. For that reason, you may want to try other methods as well.
Flowers can also be dried using dry sand, or a mixture of sand with either silica gel or borax. For this project, you should always use fine white play sand or washed sea sand. Whatever you choose, make sure it is very fine-grained. Otherwise, it may affect the texture of the flowers.
The purpose of the sand or borax is to support the flowers while they dry and prevent the flower petals from withering during the drying process. Silica gel is an artificial drying agent. It speeds up the drying process.
Begin by spreading a one-inch-thick layer of the drying material in a box. Then, place the flowers on top of that. Finally, fill the spaces in between the flowers with more drying material to support the blooms and hold them in place. Set this box in a warm, dark, dry place until the flowers are completely dry.
To speed up the drying process, you can place pans of dried flowers in their drying material inside an oven set at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This dries the material quickly.
If you are using sand, the flowers can be placed in a microwave oven. This method can be tricky, and you may need to experiment in order to get the results you want. So, begin practicing on some less than perfect blooms to see how they turn out. Once your technique is refined, proceed with the first quality flowers.
During the drying process, the flower color may change very slightly. White and yellow blooms retain their natural color very well. Blue, pink, and red ones will become somewhat faded. The type of drying agent you use can affect the flower color as well.
After the blooms are dried, you will want to spray them with Shatter Proof. This non-toxic product will give the flowers the strength they need to remain on the stem.
Instead of Shatter Proof, you may choose to use a dull, clear plastic spray. This is available at craft stores. It prevents them from shattering, and from absorbing moisture on humid days. Some people use hair spray, which works wel enough.