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
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.)
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.)
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.
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
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
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
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 youve 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:
- Essential oils
- Spices and Herbs Fixative
- 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.
- Rose, lavender, chamomile, orange blossom, lemon marigold, jasmine, lime
flower, heather, and carnation all have good fragrance when dried.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Strawflowers and globe amaranth add bulk and color, as do the tips of
statice, plume celosia, yarrow, tansy, artemisia, and babys breath. Whole
flowers can be added at the top.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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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