Drying Flowers in Silica
What is silica?
Silica is a type of sand that absorbs moisture to help in the drying process of many things, including flowers and plants. You can purchase silica on Amazon, most craft stores and even some big box stores like Walmart or Meijer.
In order to dry your flowers in silica, you will want a container that is air tight, has a good seal (just in case it gets jostled or dropped) and can hold all of your flowers and silica comfortably.
Once you have your silica in a layer about 1″ deep in the bottom of your container, you can start adding your flowers in a single layer, petals up and stems down.
As you fill up each layer of silica with flowers, you’ll want to add more silica on top. If you have enough silica and room to cover them considerably, go ahead and do so. If not, just barely covering them before the next layer of flowers will be enough.
When you’ve added the last layer of flowers, make sure you cover those with more than enough silica. You don’t want any part of the flower sticking up and coming in contact with the air. It may cause the flower to dry incorrectly and it may turn out more brown than the original color. Let your flowers sit for at least a week. Roses and larger flowers like peony’s and begonias will take at least 2 weeks.
Some tips and tricks to drying in silica:
1. Add a layer of tulle fabric to the bottom of your container before adding any silica. Once your flowers are dry, you will be able to easily and carefully lift them out without making a huge sandy mess.
2. Using color changing silica can help you know when to “recharge” the particles and enhance your drying power.
3. To store your dried flowers, you’ll want glass or plastic food storage containers.
Make sure you experiment with different flowers you want to dry. The weather can play a critical role in the length of time it takes to dry each flower (for example maybe the flower had moisture on it before you started drying it). Some flowers will dry best pressed flat, some will retain their color best in silica and some will do well in both scenarios. Determining how you want to use your flower beforehand will impact which drying technique is used.
Have fun drying!
Please share your experience and projects with me! I would love to see what you’ve done!
Flower Press Intro (Or Book Pressing)
When you’re pressing flowers, the most important things to remember are:
1) make sure to remove all the moisture. That usually means changing your blotting paper (paper towels, printer paper, blotting paper, etc.) when or if it gets wet. It’s important to make sure you don’t get mold and to ensure your flowers actually dry instead of just get squashed.
2) make sure you are adding enough weight to press your flowers. Whether that means putting them in a book and then piling your heaviest books, boxes, etc. on top to flatten them, or putting them in a flower press, you will need weight for an extended period of time.
Once you get your books or press ready, you will need to grab your flowers!
The best flowers to press are those that flatten fairly easily.
Hibiscus, iris, some types of violets, daffodils, etc. all have large nectar sacs and do not always press flat in the manner that you may want, so make sure you select flowers (especially if you’re new to flower pressing) that will lend to being flattened easily.
Flowers and plants like hydrangeas, Queen Anne’s Lace, aster, pansy and ferns all press very nicely and are easy to setup for success.
Try to avoid the dainty white or pale yellow flowers if you intend to cast them in resin. I’ve found that they can sometimes “melt” into the resin, not be very bright or look washed out right away.
After you’ve gathered your flowers and needed supplies, and you’ve arranged your flowers in the press or book, you’re ready to set them aside!
It will take about 2-3 weeks, sometimes more or less depending on the flower, for them to dry and press completely. If you’re trying to rush the process, you could even press them for a few days to a week to get them flat and then finish them off in silica gel (more on that in my next blog post!)
Once they are totally dry, you’re ready to preserve them!
I use small hard plastic food storage containers to store my pressed plants. You can use glass or ceramic to store your plants (both are waaaaay less static inducing than plastic), I just use so many varieties and keep them separate from others that I’m willing to deal with the potential static to save some money that I need to go to other aspects of my business.
I will say that I would HIGHLY suggest avoiding plastic bags for storage unless you plan to only do this once in awhile (or you’re shipping your flowers. Most Etsy stores seal their flowers in plastic with cardboard backing to help protect them during transit.) The reason being that you risk damaging the flowers because the plastic will not give any sort of support to the fragile petals (unless you take the time to add some cardboard), and the flowers will more than likely stick to the plastic more than the food storage containers.
What can you do with pressed flowers?
You can learn to use resin and cure them inside bezels, molds, frames, trays, etc. (soooo many ideas!)
You can use glass to display the dried flowers, either in a frame with matting or in 2 pieces of glass as a type of suncatcher/stained glass piece for your windows.
If you dry your flowers on the stem, you can display them in vases around your home or business to add a really nice cozy feeling to the room.
You can place them inside glass vials and display them on your mantle, create necklace pendants with them or hang them on your Christmas tree.
If you like to make soaps and candles, you can use them in your craft to add dimension and possibly enhance the fragrance of your soaps or candles.
You can literally do a million things with them! Let your imagination run wild! Use Pinterest too. I find so many cool inspirations there.
If you made it this far, THANK YOU!
Thank you for reading, supporting and keeping me and my business in your thoughts. Any amount of sharing, good vibes and kind thoughts helps me so much!
Love you all!