Flowers are one of nature’s most stunning creations. It is only natural to want to preserve their beauty. Yes, it is possible to purchase silk flowers, but they are subpar replicas of the real thing. Most people prefer natural flowers to fake. Drying flowers with silica gel is a way to preserve the blooms’ natural beauty for years.
The Tradition of Drying Flowers
The art of drying flowers has been around for centuries. However, historically the process was accomplished by hanging the flowers upside down in a dry, airy place to dehydrate naturally. It would take approximately two to three weeks to effectively dry the bundle if there was no significant humidity in the air. In humid regions, the flowers would often mould if there was no ventilation or air circulation.
The time-consuming traditional method was not without challenges, and many potentially beautiful flowers did not turn out due to climatic factors and disposed of. However, drying flowers with silica gel is quick and effective without any adverse side effects that will destroy the flower’s appearance.
What is Flower Silica Gel?
Silica gel is silicon dioxide (SiO2) which has been synthesized to create a highly porous granule that absorbs moisture effectively. Often silica gel bags are placed in bottles of medication or vitamins to absorb the moisture. Commonly silica gel bags found in food products to decrease the likelihood of mould and extend the shelf life. Silica gel bags are also placed in electronic boxes to absorb excess moisture or condensation, which can damage the electrical components. Flower silica gel is the same gel used in all the above applications.
The harmless silica gel granules boast millions of microscopic pores that work to absorb and hold the moisture from the flowers and the atmospheric humidity to accelerate the drying process.
Where to buy Silica Gel?
To dry flowers using silica gel to remove the moisture out of the flowers and the surrounding air. The desiccants bags often found in food, electronics, and various items. Another alternative would be to use bulk silica gel to use for flower drying.
Color Changing Silica Gel
A regular flower drying silica gel made up of small blue and white silica beads that effectively absorb the moisture. The blue silica beads turn pink after they become completely saturated with the moisture. If the drying process is not complete, remove the water-laden silica gel beads and replace them with new ones or recharge the existing beads to remove the moisture.
How to Dry Flowers Using Silica Gel Beads
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to dry flowers using silica gel beads.
- Find a container that is narrow with a lid. Ideally, place the flower in an upright position within the container and then close the lid. For a single flower such a rosebud, only a small container required, but for a larger volume of flowers will require a container of far greater size. Ideally, the container should be airtight when sealed. If drying long-stemmed flowers in a bouquet, lay them in a flat container with a lid in a flat position to dry instead of positioning them upright.
- Snip the stem of the flower using a pair of pruning shears to create a fresh cut to accelerate the drying process.
- Place the flower into the container in an upright position. It is possible to dry more than one flower at a time with large enough container.
- Fill the container with silica gel beads until the flower is covered halfway.
- Position the flower one last time in the position that required. Arrange the petals accordingly.
- Apply more silica gel beads around the flower until the container is full and the flower encased in the beads.
- Place the lid on the counter and make sure it is airtight.
- Store the container in a safe location until the drying process is complete.
- Remove the flowers from the silica gel when complete and use a light paintbrush to brush off any stray silica beads that might adhere to the delicate petals or leaves.
How Long Does the Flower Drying Process Take with Silica Gel Beads?
The flower drying process time with silica gel beads varies and depends on the type of flower. A thin flower such as a daisy may dry in only four or five days, but a robust, water-laden flower such as a rose will take from ten days to two weeks to successfully dry. Some flowers or bouquets can take up to eight weeks to successfully dry.
Checking on the Drying Process
Carefully remove some of the silica gel beads to check on the drying process and see if the flower is ready to remove or not. If it still feels heavy and water-logged, replace the silica gel beads and wait longer.
Recharging the Silica Gel Beads
Recharge silica gel beads for later use by heating the absorbers. Heat them on medium-high for about five minutes to remove the moisture buildup. Once recharged- the colours will return to blue from the pink hue.
Taking Care of Dried Flowers
Flowers that have undergone drying are incredibly fragile. Many people opt to place them into a shadowbox for safekeeping. Please place them in a safe place away from pets and other things that might inadvertently bump them.
Without a doubt, drying flowers with silica gel beads is a great way to preserve their beauty and hold onto memories. It is also inexpensive, fun, and simple.