5 Awesome Ways to Preserve a Bouquet
Your bouquet is an essential part of your wedding. Many brides, and even bridesmaids, have a special attachment to their bouquet, for often they’ve had them specially made. If you are using this site,chances are you are making your own bouquet, so, you should definitely preserve your hard work and memories of making your special design! Here are some great tips on how to preserve your wedding flowers…
#1 SILICA GEL:
Contrary to its name, silica gel isn’t really a gel but a sandy crystal substance that aids in the drying process. It preserves flowers in a much truer original form, and works by drawing any moisture out of the flowers while also preserving their colour and shape. The gel changes colour as it absorbs moisture, so you’ll know right away when the flowers are ready—this usually takes just a few days, but up to ten days for bulky flowers like roses. However, silica gel can be expensive. It involves several steps, which must be followed carefully to be successful.
Step #1: Take apart your bouquet, removing all wires, ribbons, etc. (Make sure you take a picture of your bouquet to help you reassemble it later). Next, remove all parts of the bouquet that have gone soft or mushy (stems, leaves, buds etc) as they are no longer suitable for drying.
Step #2: Cut off all stems, leaving only an inch below the flowerhead—the stems will be dried separately and then reattached, OR you can purchase green wire stems from a craft shop and attach those to the flowers instead of the real stems (or in case the real stems don’t dry properly). Hang real stems to dry (see above for “Method1 – Hang To Dry”).
Step #3: Take a large, deep container, and pour a one-inch layer of silica on the bottom.
Step #4: Arrange the flowerheads on the silica gel, ensuring they don’t touch each other or the walls of the container.
Step #5: Cover the flowerheads with silica gel completely, gently sprinkling it to avoid flattening the flowerheads under the weight of the crystals.
Step #6: Cover the container and put it aside in a warm, dry place that’s away from direct sunlight.
Step #7: Check it in about four days. You’ll know it’s ready because the silica gel will have changed colour and the flowers should be stiff and dry to the touch. If they have any softness, cover them again and leave them for a few more days.
Step #8: When finished, empty the silica gel into another container and carefully brush any remaining crystals off the flowers.
Step #9: Once the flowers and the stems are dry, you can reattach them with hot glue using a glue gun, or by carefully pushing a length of wire inside the stem, and then into the flowerhead to join them together.
Silica gel can be used again and again for a variety of purposes, like keeping food or clothing dry, so don’t throw it out when you’re done, but preserve it in a sealed container for future use.
#2 Hang To Dry
Step #1: Bouquets look best when they’re dried upside down, for this allows them to preserve their shape. To do this, you need a warm and dry space where your bouquet can hang undisturbed for anywhere from a few days up to two weeks.
Step #2: Remove any fresh foliage/leaves before you hang your bouquet. If you want to dry a few leaves, set them aside.
Step #3: Remove all of the ribbon and wire from the bottom of your bouquet, and then put it back together again with a large, strong elastic. Wrap the elastic first around a third of the stems, then twist and wrap around half of the remaining stems, and then again around the rest of the stems. This will keep your bouquet together as the stems shrink.
Step #4: Hang your bouquet in the warm, dry space, and check its progress in a few days. Keep it away from direct sunlight to preserve its colour.
Step #5: To dry the leaves, you need to place them flat on an airy surface (like a screen, or even a tennis racket!) and cover them with a newspaper. This will weigh them down and prevent them from curling up as they dry.
Step #6: Your bouquet is dry when the flowers feel stiff, and the stems snap easily.
Once your bouquet and the leaves are dry, tidy it up in case it’s lost its shape, and reattach the leaves. It’s safe at this point to use wire again to hold it together, and some florists even recommend using a hot glue gun to permanently attach the leaves and the stems to each other.
Your newly dried bouquet is fragile, so the final step is to spray it with protective coating to preserve it further. Just make sure you always read the guidelines on the product you choose. Most commonly prescribed sprays are:
Dried flower spray – this is a spray that’s specially formulated for dry flowers. Some of these sprays are meant to be used periodically, and some just once. You may purchase this spray online or at florists and gardening centres.
Craft Spray – there’s a variety of clear sprays available for craft projects, and some of them are suitable for dried flowers. Most of the sprays will leave a glossy coating on the flowers, and may also alter the natural scent of the flowers, just as hairspray would.
Hairspray – add a light, even coating to your flowers when they’re completely dry. Please note that this may take away the soft natural scent of your dry flowers.
( YES! MICROWAVE!) Dry flowers in minutes instead of weeks by using a microwave. Choose the flowers for drying. One at a time, place the flower in a microwavable bowl and cover with about four cups of cat litter. Microwave on high for two to three minutes. When the cat litter is cooled, remove the flower and brush off excess.
To use dried flowers for more than household decorating, use the pressed method. Take an encyclopedia or other heavy book. Line a page with parchment or wax paper and arrange flowers face down so they don’t overlap. Close the book and leave untouched for seven to 10 days. Once all the moisture is gone and they have a papery texture, use your pressed flowers to make bookmarks, stationary, or fill a picture frame for pretty wall art.
#5 The “Lazy Girl’s” Technique 🙂
Drying flowers in a vase is effortless. Place the stalks in a few inches of water and forget about them. Once all the water is evaporated, the flowers should be upright and perky, but dry. Hydrangeas or baby’s breath are good choices for this method, as blooms with more tender stalks might droop. Simply use the vase as a table decoration or remove the flowers, tie a ribbon around the stems and hang on the wall.