It’s no secret that every room looks better with a bouquet or two. But when spring is taking a long time to come, you luckily don’t have to limit floral displays to freshly cut blooms. Dried and pressed flowers are having a design moment, thanks to their austere, contemporary look and organic style that’s well-suited for any sort of interior design aesthetic — not to mention their staying power! While fresh flowers last on average seven to 12 days with proper care, dried flowers can endure for months on end, sometimes upward of three years.
This petal primer will give you the know-how to dry and press flowers with ease. Regardless of the method you choose, don’t wait too long to get started — fully mature blossoms are more likely to lose their petals in the process. Read on for expert how-tos and our favorite ways to display.
Create a striking still-life vignette with dried flower heads in simple glass jars. Mix jar sizes and flower types for eye-pleasing visual variety. (The tableaux can double as a centerpiece in a pinch.) Choose petals that match the color scheme of your space, or those that provide a nice contrast. Use a spritz of strong-hold hair spray on the recently dried blooms to help them maintain their color for a brighter aesthetic.
A voluminous bouquet of dried flowers is a work of art unto itself. Go for flowers that will fill out a vase and that have a good length. Help your bouquet hold its shape by fastening it all together with a string or by using floral foam in the vase. To best showcase the blooms, place the tallest stems in the middle and shorter stems at the front. Be sure to handle these arrangements with care, as dried flowers can be fragile when moved or jostled around too much.
Stick To It
Make elegant, personalized cards or wall art from pressed flowers in different motifs and shapes. A circle is an easy scheme, but you can also customize with ornate designs like animals or letters. When attaching flowers to paper, prepare to have a steady hand. Use tweezers and quick-drying adhesive to apply to the paper. Petals will fare better if you put glue on the paper where you want the item to stick, rather than on the flower itself. For postcards, add an even more personal touch by including flowers and plants native to the area you’re in.
For a 60-second upgrade, sprinkle dried flowers into a clear glass soap dispenser and then mix with your favorite hand soap. Simply add more soap as the flowers continue to hold their own from month to month. This essentially effortless addition adds elegance and sophistication to a previously ordinary dispenser. Go for a fragrant option like lavender, or a dainty and delicate choice such as Baby’s-breath. Whichever you may choose, your hand soap will be elevated beyond the standard.
Add an earthy element to bath time with homemade soaps embellished with flowers. Start with an at-home kit such as the Soap Making 101 kit from Brooklyn Craft Company, which will include everything you need except the dried flowers. Following the kit instructions, melt the soap mixture in a pan. Pour into the provided mold and sprinkle dried flowers on top. Place it in the fridge for three to four hours, until soap is set. For an additional flourish, stick a small wooden skewer into the soap before it solidifies completely, and remove it when the soap is solid. Loop rope or cord through the opening and tie a knot in the end for fragrant (and rhyming) soap on a rope.
How to Dry Flowers
It’s best to choose flowers with low moisture content, so avoid bulbs and flowers with very thick stems. The lower the stem moisture, the quicker the flowers will dry and the better they will retain their color. Here are two options:
- Place in a Vase. To dry flowers in their vase, empty the vessel and remove any remaining water. Allow them to dry completely. Cutting off the bottom of each flower stem (about 1 inch) will help avoid rotting.
- Hang With Twine. Alternatively, you can use twine to hang the flowers upside down from a hook, doorknob, or ceiling rafter, preferably in a dark, cool space. Hanging them upside down will help the blooms maintain shape.
The Best Flowers for Drying:
How to Press Flowers
First, keep in mind that not all flowers are suitable for drying in their original form, as the petals are too thin and fragile. To press, remove the flower head from the stem and place between two pieces of paper towel. Let sit for three weeks between the pages of a heavy book.
The Best Flowers for Pressing: