Drying Flowers in Sand
Summer or winter, dried flowers add just as much colour to the home as fresh flowers. Follow these steps for perfect dried flowers.
1. Pour a 3cm of sand into a sturdy box, then gently place the flowers or foliage stems on the sand. Flowers should be placed face up, face down, or on their side, depending on the type. Position them in the box so they are at least an 3cm away from each other and from the sides of the box. Foliage can be laid down horizontally.
2. Use a container and working very slowly, pour the sand so that it gently flows around, under, and then over each part of the flower until it’s completely covered. Don't pour sand directly onto the flower, use your hand to lightly allow the flow of sand so pressure builds up evenly around the flower, without distorting its natural shape. It is sometimes helpful to use a slim tool, like the handle end of an artist’s paintbrush, to gently support the flower petals as you pour the sand. Once the flower is buried, it’s ready to dry. You can also dry several layers of foliage in a single box.
3. Store the flowers in a warm, dry place, handling the box carefully so that shifting sand does not damage the flowers. The best situation for drying flowers is in a warm room where humidity does not exceed 60 percent. Let the flowers dry for one to three weeks, depending on their size and the substance of their petals. Two weeks is usually enough, but you don’t have to be too precise about timing.
4. When the dried flowers are ready to be uncovered, be careful to avoid abrupt movements that could break or damage them. Tip the box to allow the sand to flow slowly out of one corner and into another storage box. The sand can be used again and again. As the flowers are slowly uncovered, lift them gently, moving them only in the direction the sand is flowing, to prevent breakage. It’s nice to have a helper during this stage of the process.
5. Sometimes velvety flowers like delphiniums may need a final cosmetic touch-up. Holding a dried flower over a box, grab a handful of sand, and let a light stream of it drizzle over the flower from a height of 20 to 30cm. As the sand rains down, turn the flower to expose all its surfaces. As the grains strike and bounce off the flower, they remove any hint of sand left over from the drying process. The result is a perfect, lifelike flower. But it’s also a fragile one, so store and handle it carefully.
Flowers and foliage that dry best:
Cut flowers early in the morning and keep stems in a vase of water for several hours before drying. Some flower stems collapse during the drying process; use florist wire to reinforce them.
Artemisias (horizontal) - Black-eyed Susan (facedown) - Camellias (faceup) - Columbines (faceup) - Dahlias (faceup) - Delphiniums (faceup) - Hellebores (faceup) - Hollyhock (faceup) - Japanese anemone (faceup) - Lily-of-the-valley (horizontal) - Maidenhair fern (facedown) - Marigolds (faceup) - Michaelmas daisy (facedown) - Peonies (faceup) - Queen Anne's lace (facedown) - Roses (faceup) - Shasta daisy (facedown) - Snapdragon (horizontal) - Stock (horizontal) - Sunflower (faceup) - Zinnias (faceup).