Dry flowers: a simple and imaginative art
Are you looking for an activity that combines the beauty of nature with creativity and the power of imagination? Well, drying flowers is for you. Keeping compositions of dried flowers at home helps to brighten up the rooms and improve the aesthetic balance: the main advantage, moreover, is that they require much less care than fresh flowers, and are not likely to wither or rot. Given that the species that prove to be the most suitable to be dried are lavender, hydrangea, buttercup but also ornamental garlic and cardoon, we discover the different drying techniques.
The different drying techniques
The simplest to put into practice is, of course, air drying, which is especially indicated for roses: all you have to do is place the flowers in an airy and dry place away from light and heat sources. According to gardening experts, on the other hand, the flowers should be tied upside down: to ensure a flawless result, it is also sufficient to use the hairspray, covering the petals with a transparent but resistant patina. Equally widespread is the drying on a plane, ideal especially for mosses, pine cones and lavender: they must be spread out on a cardboard surface, at a certain distance from each other (but a wooden table or paper from newspaper). The important thing is that the air is able to circulate without problems: in order to speed up the drying of the mosses, then, it can be useful to make the top overlapping one sheet of newspaper on the other. Drying on the grid, on the other hand, is recommended if the flowers are attached to berries or buds, and therefore have a rather heavy upper part: in this case, the use of a grid allows the insertion of the stretched or petiole, so that the flower remains above the grid. In addition to flowers, this technique is ideal for cardoons and corn on the cob. The vertical drying, on the other hand, shows its full effectiveness with heather and mimosa. The flower must be placed in a vase containing water; between them the different elements must be sufficiently spaced, so as to allow a gradual absorption and prevent the leaves from crumpling (there is also the risk that the colors disperse due to dehydration). Even the maritime lavender takes advantage of the vertical position, as well as the rush: in these two cases, however, there is no need for water for drying, as dehydration occurs spontaneously.
Two other methods for drying flowers concern the pressing and use of chemical substances. As for the pressing, it is applied for dried flowers to be used in frames, glass or paintings. Therefore, they are crushed with a specific press, or in the absence of this instrument, much more simply, under some rather heavy books, taking care - however - to use absorbent paper as protection.
Sand, glycerin and detergent for washing clothes
The dehydration process, however, can be made quicker by using sand - a natural substance, or glycerine or even laundry detergent - chemicals. These elements have the advantage, among other things, of leaving bright and intense colors. In practice, all you have to do is put about half a centimeter of desiccant in a tin box, covering its bottom. Then the flowers should be placed on this layer, which should be covered with another desiccant. Once the container is closed, it is necessary to wait about three weeks in the case of resistant flowers (for which sand is recommended) or two weeks in the case of fragile and delicate flowers (for which the laundry detergent is recommended). The glycerin reveals all its effectiveness, instead, for the drying of the leaves of red beech, laurel, ivy, etc. The leaves should be carefully cleaned in water and left to rest in a mixture made with glycerin and hot water, in a dry and dark place for a few hours, until their color changes.
Dry flowers: What to do with dried flowers: compositions and frames
After they have become dry, the flowers can be stored in cardboard boxes, placing a layer of flowers alternating with a layer of tissue paper. If it is particularly delicate flowers, for example roses, it is preferable to wrap them in absorbent paper or sheets of newspaper to protect them. Absolutely avoid the plastic bags, which have the defect of retaining moisture. With dried flowers it is possible to create pleasant compositions, an elegant centerpiece or simply a small gift to give to an acquaintance. All you need is a synthetic sponge, some shears, florist scissors and a sharp knife. Shears and scissors will be used to cut the stems, while the knife will be used to trim the thin branches and shape the sponge. Finally, some metal wire can be used to anchor the flowers to the base. Instead, using a base of rice paper or cardboard and a frame, you can create a nice picture, to hang at home or to give as gifts.