There are many occasions in people's lives that call for flowers, from marriages to graduations to celebrating accomplishments. A lovely bouquet full of flowers is one of the most precious gifts, which is why so many people like to preserve the arrangements that hold cherished memories for them. Preservation methods include air drying, pressing, freeze-drying and many others, but one of the easiest and fastest ways to preserve flowers at home is drying them in your microwave. Microwave drying is simple, fairly quick, and can keep the flowers you're preserving more vibrant and robust than some other methods. If you have a bridal bouquet, a cherished gift or any other flowers you want to preserve, here's a guide for how to dry them in your microwave:
Flowers You Can Use
Before you begin drying your flowers, it's important to make sure the ones you want to save can stand up to microwaving process. Flowers with delicate or too few petals won't be able to handle the method of preservation, and can become ruined, so it may be better to try pressing or air drying them. Bright flowers keep their color well, but flowers that are too dark or too light or white will likely become darker or discolored.
The best flowers to preserve through microwave drying are hardy and have several petals, such as roses, tulips, carnations and zinnias. If you aren't sure how a flower will hold up to drying, you may want to consider experimenting with one to see what happens. Also, keep in mind that it's best to preserve flowers before they're in full bloom, since they'll open more while drying.
How to Dry
Take a look at these steps for microwave drying your favorite florals:
- To get started, you'll need a microwave-safe container along with silica gel, which can be found at most flower or craft shops and online. Fill the bottom of the container with the silica, which will look like white sand crystals. The silica should be about 2 inches deep.
- You can clip the stems from the flower buds, if you'd like. If you're planning on stringing the flowers onto wire, it's a good idea to do so at this point, since the drying process will make the flowers much more fragile and difficult to maneuver.
- Put your flower buds upright in the silica, spaced an inch or so apart from one another. Then pour more silica over the heads, making sure to use just enough to cover them completely.
- The types and sizes of flowers you use will determine the amount of time you need to put them in the microwave. If you can adjust your microwave's heat, try putting the flowers in on a lower temperature for around three minutes. Leave the container uncovered during this part of the process.
- Use a toothpick or other small tool to check the progress of one of your flowers. Try adding heat and time if the flowers aren't dry yet, but be careful not to increase either too fast, or the blooms could be permanently damaged.
- Once dry, remove the flowers from the microwave, cover the container leaving a small crack, and let them dry overnight. When they're ready, gently pour out the excess silica and brush the petals off.
What to Do With Dried Flowers
Dried flowers can be used in any number of different ways, so you have a lot of options. Many people like to display their keepsake flowers, so try putting a precious dry bud in a shadow box frame. If you'd rather get some use out of your blooms, consider making potpourri satchels for your drawers using loose petals.