Dried Flower Crafts

Learn the easy art of drying flowers. Find the flower craft basics, suggested dried flower arrangements and a variety of potpourri recipes here. Dry flowers make beautiful centerpieces, wall decor, add decoration and make delightful potpourri scents.

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Flower Craft Basics

Natural Flower Drying

Gather a small bunch of flowers (delphiniums, globe thistle, celosia, and hydrangea are some examples), tie them together and hang them upside down in a warm, dry, dark area. For wide-headed flowers a box with a piece of chicken wire on top can hold the flower heads open while they dry.

There are no firm rules; there are no flowers that you cannot mix.

Silica Gel Flower Drying

This material will dry the flower by absorbing up to 40 percent of its weight in water. It can be used in the oven or microwave. (Ageratum, snapdragon, aster, calendula, cosmos, daisies, dahlia, candytuft, bells of Ireland, are some good choices.)

Flower Press

These can be purchased at most craft stores. In lieu of a flower press a heavy thick catalog/book also works quite well.

Borax Flower Drying

Make a mixture of 1 part borax and 1 part cornmeal. Cover the bottom of a box (suit box is a good size) with a thin layer of the mixture and then place the flower face up. Sift on more of the mixture and place the box in a dry dark place until blooms are completely dehydrated. (Zinnia, marigold, chrysanthemum, dahlia, Shasta daisy, etc.)

Sand Drying

Small hardy flowers can be dried this way, including small zinnias, marigolds, pansies and pompom chrysanthemums. Sift fine, dry sand through a flour sifter. Strip off all the foliage. Put a couple of inches of dry sand in a box and hold blossoms upside down on sand. Gently pour on sand until the blossoms are covered. Stems need not be covered. Place in the sun to bake. Flowers should be dry in a day or two.

Dry Flower Preservation - Long Term Care

Preserving dried flowers In ideal circumstances, dried flower arrangements can last as long as 10 years. There are a number of tricks you can use to help improve their shelf life. For example, try treating the flowers with a clear acrylic sealer or spray paint. Avoid direct sunlight, as colors will fade. Restore moisture to your dried flowers by misting them with water or even giving them a nice steam bath.

Tip: If you are going to give as gifts, enclosed a card with your creations, that outlines the long term care for the flowers.

Suggested Floral Arrangements

The Williamsburg Floral Arrangement

The Williamsburg dried flower arrangement is traditionally a tight mass of flowers that is triangular or round in shape. This style can be modernized by varying the heights of the flowers, so that the basic lines of the piece are preserved but the look is a bit less refined. Traditional flowers include coxcomb, strawflowers, starflowers, bunny tails and statice.

Victorian Floral Arrangement

The traditional Victorian dried flower arrangement is an opulent, colorful piece, typically triangular in shape. This style can be modernized by varying the size and height of the flowers, which opens up the arrangement. Good flower choices include lotus pods, eucalyptus, leather leaf, baby's breath and larkspur. Add a few silk flowers, ribbons or bows to make the arrangement look more delicate.

Colonial Floral Arrangement

A Colonial dried flower arrangement is similar to both the Williamsburg and Victorian styles, but typically makes use of more natural-looking flowers. Common choices include caspias, yarrow, seed pods, bunny tails and wheat. You want the piece to look as though all the flowers were just plucked from the field. A triangular arrangement is one that works very well with this style. Colonial arrangements have flowers with vibrant, natural colors and varying textures.

Modern Interpretations

A dried flower arrangement does not have to be the traditional tight mass of flowers. Contemporary arrangements are created in stark contrast to that style, using a minimal number of flowers and making use of negative space. Popular materials include long, thin items (like banana leaves and strelitzia) and eye-catching spiral items (like branches and cones). Bulky items like seed pods and sponge mushrooms draw the eye inwards.

Dry Flower Potpourri Basics

Potpourri is the project that will use all those bits and pieces--broken tips, shattered flowers, and lost petals--that you’ve been collecting as you work with dried flowers. Even overbloomed strawflowers and slightly faded blossoms blend easily into potpourri, where the effected is created by the combination, not by a single flower.

You'll need four basic ingredients:

  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Essential oils
  • Spices and Herbs Fixative
  1. Handle your herbs and flowers carefully to avoid bruising them. Always collect 4 times the amount to dry that you will need for the final potpourri mix as flowers, leaves etc shrink when dried.

  2. Rose, lavender, chamomile, orange blossom, lemon marigold, jasmine, lime flower, heather, and carnation all have good fragrance when dried.

  3. Some herbs such as mint, lemon balm, lemon verbena, tansy, bergamot, sweet fern, and the scented geranium, are also highly fragrant. Ingredients from the kitchen shelf can be added for spicy overtones and a delicate herbal touch.

  4. Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and allspice, thyme, rosemary, mint, marjoram, and bay leaves can be blended with flowers. Be sure to save all your orange and lemon peels, which can be cut into strips and dried to add a piquant touch to your floral potpourris.

  5. Color is important if the blend is to be displayed in a glass jar or open container, so bright blossoms should be included. Bulk is provided by larger whole flowers which also create air spaces so the fragrances can move about and blend. Some flowers, such as whole pint roses, suit all these needs.

  6. Strawflowers and globe amaranth add bulk and color, as do the tips of statice, plume celosia, yarrow, tansy, artemisia, and baby’s breath. Whole flowers can be added at the top.

     7.    When the potpourri smells and looks good, it is time to consider preserving and strengthening its scent. Orris, the dried root of the Florentine iris, is the best fixative, and should be used chipped, not powdered. It has no scent of its own, but helps others to last.

     8.   Drying has evaporated some of the fragrant oils in the flowers, it is best to replace these with essential oils. Rose is the most versatile of these, blending well with nearly any other fragrance. Lavender is the strongest and tends to dominate others. Bay, balsam, cedar, orange, lemon, gardenia, and carnation are also favorites, but since good oils are quite expensive, it is best to begin with just a few and add more if you find you enjoy creating potpourri.

     9.   Mix your ingredients in whatever amount you have or like, and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of orris root per pint of flowers. Depending on the intended use for the potpourri, use 4 to 8 drops of oil to a pint. Mix well and seal in a jar with plenty of air space. Shake or stir it daily for 2 weeks to allow it to blend and ripen. After that, your potpourri is ready.

    10.   To make potpourri last longer, keep it covered for as many hours a day as it is left open. Like anything else made of dried flowers, potpourri will lose both color and scent if left in the sun. If the fragrance fades, simply treat it as you would a brand new mix--add orris root and oil and let it blend in a large jar for 2 weeks.

Dry Flower Potpourri Recipes

Rose Potpourri Recipe

1 cup dried rose buds and petals
1 cup mixed pink and white dried flowers ¼
1 cup rosemary leaves
1¼ cup broken stick cinnamon ¼
1 cup bay leaves
1 tablespoons whole cloves
3 tablespoons orris root chips
6 to 8 drops rose oil

Lavender Potpourri Recipe

1 cup lavender flowers
1½ cup roses
1½ cup blue and white flowers
1 tablespoon lemon peel
2 tablespoons orris root chips
4 to 6 drops lavender oil

Scotch Heather Potpourri Recipe

½1 cup heather flowers ½
1 cup pink roses
1 cup artemisia leaves and tips
1 cup pink and light rose dried flowers
1½ cup bay leaves
3 tablespoons orris root chips
6 to 8 drops of rose oil

Craft Tip: Show off your creations in baskets, bowls, jars, bottles, vases, and shells. A scavenger hunt around the house will result in all sorts of possible display containers.

Craft Tip: Layering materials in color bands is an interesting technique for clear glass jar displays. Imagine filling a jar with lavender, then heather flowers, pink rosebuds, red rosebuds, and a layer of potpourri made from all these materials.

Craft Tip: Handmade lace and doilies bring beauty to any potpourri basket. Use the doily as a basket lining and the lace to create a delicate scalloped edge. Narrow ribbon, either woven through lace or wrapped around the basket handle and tied in a bow, becomes a charming touch. Colors that match the predominant tints of the potpourri will help bring out the colors in your blend.

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