If you’re a fan of bringing nature into your living space, you’ve likely picked or purchased bouquets of flowers to bring inside at some point. Maybe you’ve even grown some yourself!
Unfortunately, the beauty of flowers is notoriously temporary. So if you’re hoping to make them a more permanent fixture in your home, you’ll need to do some additional work.
Luckily, there are many different ways of preserving flowers, and there’s sure to be a method that suits your particular needs. Here’s how to go about preserving flowers for decor!
Why Preserve Flowers for Decor?
One reason to preserve flowers for decor is to save money on cut flower bouquets!
If you’re fond of setting out a vase full of flowers, you’ve probably spent a pretty penny on cut bouquets…but these bouquets always wither away before long. And after a while, the expense of fresh flowers begins to add up.
By preserving flowers, you can cut that expense out of your budget entirely if you like!
Another reason to preserve flowers is to augment your chosen decor theme. For instance, country chic, vintage, botanical, and shabby chic decor themes will all be enhanced by preserving flowers for decor.
These aren’t the only decor themes that will work well with preserved flower decor; they’re just the themes that will work best with any type of preserved flowers. Certain methods of preserving flowers result in more elegant pieces that could work with decor themes you might not expect!
(This is just from a design standpoint; if flower decor makes you happy, it doesn’t matter what “theme” you’ve chosen for your home. Decorate with pieces that bring you joy!)
One of the most common reasons to preserve flowers for decor is to preserve flowers associated with nostalgic or notable events. For example, many people choose to preserve their bridal bouquets and display them in their homes!
How to Preserve Flowers
The air-drying method is one of the most common methods of preserving flowers for decor. It’s also one of the easiest—all you need is a bouquet, a coat hanger, and a rubber band or piece of string!
The air-drying method will result in beautiful dried flowers you can arrange in many ways, from centerpieces to hanging wall decor to door wreaths.
The biggest pro to the air-drying method is that it results in the most flexibility as far as decorating options. However, there are a couple of downsides to the air-drying method as well.
Firstly, if you’re hoping to preserve greenery along with your flowers, the air-drying method doesn’t always work well. Leaves tend to yellow, crisp up, and crumble when dried. Some types of greenery take well to drying, but there are methods of preserving flowers that work better for greenery.
Secondly, air-dried flowers don’t last as long as flowers preserved by other methods. They tend to shed petals, gather dust, and can break at the slightest touch.
Thirdly, air-dried flowers don’t always keep their color well. Certain types hold on to their color better than others—for instance, flowers with globular blooms or flowers in brighter, lighter shades—but most lose a good amount of their pigment.
There are ways to help your dried flowers hold their pigment and form, such as floral protectant spray. However, if you have your heart set on colorful blooms, there are methods that may suit your desires better.
Silica Gel Method
The silica gel method is a slightly faster and slightly more labor-intensive way of preserving flowers by drying them.
To dry flowers using silica gel, you only need your chosen flowers, an airtight container large enough to hold them, gloves, a mask, and silica gel beads made for drying flowers.
To use this drying method, start by pouring a layer of beads in the bottom of the container. The layer should be about an inch or so deep.
Next, place your flowers in the beads. If only drying flower heads, make sure they’re facing upward. If using full flower stems, do your best to face them up, but don’t worry too much if you can’t get them to stay in position.
After setting your flowers inside, bury them the rest of the way in silica gel beads.
It should only take a couple of days for your flowers to fully dry out. You can watch the color of your silica beads to determine when it’s time to remove the flowers.
If your silica beads are orange, they will turn green once they’ve reached moisture capacity. If they’re blue, they will turn pink.
Once your blooms are done drying, take them out, brush them off with a soft-bristled brush, and voila! You’ll have perfectly dry flowers ready for decorating!
Because the silica gel works faster than air-drying, it’s able to sap moisture from the flowers without causing the color to fade. However, because it requires burying the flowers, it can sometimes warp their shape more than air-drying will.
This method also results in more flexible options for decor than others.
The resin method is one of the more rigid and complicated methods of preserving flowers, but it can also result in some of the most beautiful arrangements!
The resin method does require you to dry your flowers before preserving them. Most resin artists recommend using silica gel over air drying for this purpose.
The resin method mostly uses blooms and bits of greenery, not stems. Therefore, the silica gel method will work better overall, especially because you’ll want as much color to be preserved as possible when planning to use resin.
You can also use pressed flowers and greenery if you’re using a flatter mold.
If you’re hoping to make ornaments, keychains, jewelry, or even bookmarks out of your preserved flowers, pressing them is another great option to dry them while getting them down to the right size.
To press flowers and greenery, you only need a wax paper or parchment paper and two heavy objects to press your plants between. You can even press them inside a book if your blooms aren’t too thick…or if you have a very long book!
Once you’ve pressed your flowers and greenery, you can either display them in frames, use them in art pieces, or use them for various resin projects.
The wax method can be used to preserve flowers, but it’s most often used for leaves.
To preserve greenery or autumn leaves without them losing their color or starting to crumble, simply dip them in melted beeswax and hang them on a clothesline to dry.
These are best used in centerpieces or paper crafts, not resin.
How to Decorate With Your Preserved Flowers
You can also frame certain resin pieces depending on their shape and thickness. In fact, you can actually make resin frames with preserved flowers inside!
There are other ways of hanging your flowers up besides framing them. If you have air-dried or silica-dried bunches of flowers, you can tie them and hang them from a bouquet board.
You can also simply tie them with ribbon and hang them wherever you please!
If you’re hooked on having a vase or other floral arrangement as your centerpiece, your air-dried or silica-dried flowers will function perfectly!
You can arrange your dried flowers as you would an ordinary bouquet in your vase. You can also arrange them in baskets or other centerpieces if you’d like to mix it up.
Wall or Shelf Art
Preserved flower decor made with resin works wonderfully for shelf decor. Most resin molds are designed to allow the pieces to stand on their own. You can simply set them on the shelf and enjoy!
If you use a resin mold that needs a bit more support, you can also use mini easels to display your artwork.
Some resin molds also allow for hanging so that you can display your pieces on the wall. But if you’re an artist yourself who enjoys dabbling with mixed media, you can add pressed, air-dried, silica-dried, or even wax-preserved plants to your paintings or other pieces.
By using resin to preserve your flowers, you can try another method of decorating with dried flowers—decorating yourself!
Resin can be used to make all kinds of jewelry pieces, from necklaces to earrings to bracelet charms.
If you want to add a vintage touch to your holiday decorations this year, you can use preserved flower decor made by any method to spruce up your tree.
You can hang miniature bouquets of dried flowers, create resin ornaments, or turn waxed leaves into ornaments themselves!
By using resin, you can take pressed flowers and create beautiful, unique bookmarks with your preserved flowers.
By preserving flowers associated with special memories (such as bridal bouquets, graduation bouquets, prom corsages/boutonniere, and more!), you can create a keepsake that can be cherished for years to come.
Get Started on Preserving Flowers for Decor!
Now that you know how to preserve flowers for decor, you can go wild with the floral decor in your home!
For more unique ways to use flowers, advice on flower growing, and information on various kinds of flowers, visit our flower section now!
- About the Author
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Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, a lover of colorful gardens, and a writer for Minneopa Orchards.
After earning her bachelor’s in Creative Writing (partially through virtual learning, thanks to the pandemic), gardening gave her an excuse to get outside and get away from all the screens. With a particular love for decorating with colorful flowers, using herbs grown in her own garden, and finding creative ways to build big gardens in small spaces, Cassidy enjoys helping others learn about growing their own food, flowers, and trees through Minneopa Orchards!