There are so many beautiful ideas for making dried flower arrangements, and there are a variety of ways to dry them out while keeping the petals intact. Knowing how to press flowers is another age-old craft that has been practiced for centuries. As flowers naturally contain moisture, if not dried out, they will develop mold and eventually rot. ‘Whether you’re going to be putting them in a resin mold, framing them, or making a table centerpiece, it’s important to dry the flowers,’ says crafter Natalie Bickel (opens in new tab), who dries flowers and uses them to make resin jewelry. ‘The longer flowers sit in water, the longer the droop effect begins to take place over time. By removing the flowers from water to dry them, you’re actually preserving their posture and vitality.’ Casting dried flowers in resin is a way to make them last indefinitely. Otherwise, you should expect an arrangement to last a few years with good care.

How to dry flowers – the best methods

‘There are several methods you can use to dry flowers, and the best method will depend on the type of flower you’re working with,’ says horticulturist and landscape designer Kristina Matthew, who is also co-founder of Gardeningit (opens in new tab). For example, flowers with small and robust heads, such as hydrangeas, lavender and gypsophila, respond well to being air dried, as their lower moisture content enables them to be successfully dried out over a longer period. Larger, denser flowers with multiple petal layers, such as roses, tulips and chrysanthemums, are good candidates for drying with heat. More delicate blooms, such as dahlias, pansies and peonies, are best dried with the addition of a desiccant, to speed up the process. Not all flowers will dry well, but it’s fun to experiment with different varieties.

How to air dry flowers

Air drying is the simplest way to learn how to dry flowers. It takes longer than the other methods, but is the best way of keeping them intact. Bear in mind that the colors are prone to fading, giving them a vintage feel.

How to dry flowers quickly

Learning how to dry flowers is not always a quick process, but there are ways to speed things up. One of the best ways is to place the blooms into a bowl of desiccant, which will help to draw out water more quickly. Silica gel is the best product for this job. Drying your flowers using desiccant will be quicker than air drying them, taking as little as a few days. It will help the petals to hold their color, but may not preserve their shape as well as air drying.

How to dry flowers in the microwave

Drying flowers in a microwave is the quickest method, and is an excellent way to preserve the flowers’ vibrant colors. You will need to use silica gel to dry flowers in this way.

How to dry flowers in the oven

You can dry your flowers by baking them in the oven. However, apart from speed this method has few advantages, as it does not preserve the flowers’ color as well as microwaving them, and it is prone to causing more petal loss.

How to dry flowers for resin

Preserving flowers in resin is a beautiful craft that can be used to make jewelry and ornaments such as paperweights. ‘When creating resin designs, it’s ideal for flowers to be completely dry,’ says Bickel. ‘I’ve tested this with fresh flowers, and almost every time, the flowers gradually turn brown as the resin sets.’ Whether you use pressed or 3D dried flowers will depend on the design you want to create.  ‘Drying flowers in a press is my ideal method, as they are completely flattened, creating more room for the resin to do its job,’ adds Bickel. This is ideal for a smaller piece, such as a resin pendant. However, for a larger design, a 3D preserved flower looks fabulous. The best way to dry flowers for resin is to use the silica gel method – with or without the help of a microwave. This will preserve the intensity of the colors much better than air drying over a longer period. Although, if you want to create a more vintage effect, then air drying is a good option.

What is the fastest way to dry flowers?

The fastest way to dry flowers is to place them in a bowl of silica gel, and microwave for a few minutes – checking at one minute intervals. Once dry, simply wait for them to cool down – ideally for 24 hours – and display.

How do you dry flowers without rotting them?

To dry flowers without rotting them, it’s important that the moisture is drawn out as quickly as possible. Smaller flower heads can easily be air dried without rotting, but larger flower heads containing lots of moisture may need a helping hand. Try drying bigger flowers in silica gel – and for really quick results use the microwave method.