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Preserving Leaves and Flowers for Crafts

Why preserve and dry leaves and flowers?

Drying your leaves and flowers properly will help you preserve their vibrant colors and unique shapes before using them in your crafts! In this post, we will provide a few DIY methods you can try at home. Keep an eye on Collegiate Plant Initiative on Facebook and Instagram for future posts about using your dried leaves and flowers.

Method 1: Silica Gel

Silica gel is one of the most effective methods for retaining the shape of intricate flowers. For this method you will need:

  • A bag of fine silica gel
  • A sealable storage container
  • Your leaves or flowers
  • 2-7 days of drying time

While your brand of silica gel’s instructions may vary slightly, you can typically follow these steps:

  1. If using cut flowers, cut most of the stem off. You should leave about 1.5” of the stem.
  2. Pour 1.5” of silica gel into the bottom of the container.
  3. Place the flowers or leaves into the container, ensuring none are touching. Slowly cover all surfaces with additional silica gel.
  4. Cover and place in a cool, dry location for 2-7 days. Smaller flowers will require about 2-3 days, while larger or denser flowers will need 3-7 days.

Method 2: Hanging with Twine

This method is a great option for those who want to preserve cut flowers. Keep in mind gravity will pull the flowers toward the ground, so this is not the best option for “flat” flowers. For this method you will need:

  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • A cool, dark location
  • Cut flowers
  • 2-3 weeks of drying time

Once you have your supplies gathered, follow these steps:

  1. Remove any excess foliage you do not want to keep from the flower stems.
  2. Cut a few inches of twine and tie it to the end of the stem furthest away from the flowers.
  3. Tie or hang in a cool, dry location, like a closet.
  4. Wait for 2-3 weeks until the flowers have dried completely.
Method 3: Wax Paper and Books

This method is one of the best options for those who want flat, pressed leaves and flowers. All you will need is:

  • Wax paper
  • Heavy books (like an old textbook or phonebook)
  • Your leaves and flowers
  • 3-4 weeks of drying time

Once you have your supplies gathered, follow these steps:

  1. Cut two sheets of wax paper the same size as your book.
  2. Lay one sheet of wax paper on the inside of a page. Arrange your leaves and flowers so they do not touch each other or get folded into the spine.
  3. Lay the second sheet of wax paper on top of the leaves and flowers and close the book.
  4. Add additional heavy items on top of the book and store for 3-4 weeks.

Note: Since liquid may seep from the leaves and flowers, you will want to use a book you don’t mind getting dirty.