In terms of creating dried flower arrangements, hanging your blooms upside down to air dry is definitely the best method of drying them. This can take two to three weeks, so it will require a lot of patience, but will be well worth it in the end.
But if you’re wondering how to dry flowers quickly for a craft project, then you’re in luck! Why hang flowers upside down to dry if you don’t have to? Here are a few ways you can cheat to speed up the drying process.
1. Use the microwave
If you’ve got an urge to make something beautiful with dried flowers, that urge will likely dissipate if you have to wait three weeks to actually begin! Thankfully the microwave exists, and you’ll be able to use it to dry out your flowers within a day at most.
Using Silica Gel
This first microwave method involves using silica gel. Partially fill a microwave-safe container with silica gel, lay your flowers on top, and then cover them with more silica gel. Place the container in the microwave, uncovered, along with a half-filled cup of water (the steam will keep your flowers from accidentally becoming scorched).
Microwave in 30 second bursts, and remember to check on the condition of your flowers before zapping them again. To do this safely, you can use a toothpick or a fork to carefully shift aside the silica gel.
Once the flowers feel dry enough, remove the container from the microwave and let it cool. Cover the container with the lid, and leave the flowers to sit in the silica gel at least overnight before removing them from the container. When they’re ready, pick them out of the container and dust off the silica gel using a soft brush.
Flower pressing method
The second method involves pressing your flowers, so unfortunately they won’t be usable in dried flower arrangements. But if you’re looking to press your flowers for decoupage or another craft activity, then read on!
Place your flower heads atop a sheet of white paper, and then sandwich that paper between a folded paper towel. Place the paper towel (with the flowers within) inside the microwave, and then sit a flat-bottomed, microwave-safe glass plate or container atop them to act as a weight.
Microwave in short 10 to 30-second increments, checking on the condition of your petals between each burst until you find that sweet spot. In a matter of minutes you’ll have perfectly pressed and dried blooms to use in your craft project.
2. Use the oven
While not as quick as the microwave method, using the oven to dry your flowers still beats hanging your flowers upside down to dry for weeks. The oven-drying method is particularly good for making pot pourri.
You’ll want to preheat your oven to the lowest heat setting first, then line a baking tray with parchment or baking paper. Lay your flowers out across the paper, ensuring they’re well spread apart and not touching one another. Place them in the oven carefully, leaving the oven door slightly ajar so all the moisture evaporates.
They will typically need a few hours to dry, depending on the quantity you’re drying. Be sure to let them cool off after taking them out from the oven.
3. Use a dehydrator
If you’ve got a dehydrator at home, you can use it to dry your flowers too! The best part about using a dehydrator is that it allows you to dry a large batch of flowers at one go, plus it retains the flower’s shape and colour. It takes about 12 hours or so (depending on the quantity and type of flower) for them to be fully dry.
We’d recommend using flowers that have fully bloomed—the flower heads will be flatter, and the petals will dry more evenly, as they are fully outstretched. Be sure to cut off the stems and leaves first, then spread the flowers out evenly on the dehydrator trays to ensure adequate airflow. Depending on the position of the fan in the dehydrator, make sure you position the bigger and heavier flowers closest to the fan, as they will require a longer time to dry out completely.
Once you’re ready, turn your dehydrator on to the lowest temperature setting and place the trays of flowers in. For best results, rotate the placement of trays every two hours or so, so that each tray gets a turn at being closest to the fan.
If after this you find you have some dried flowers left over, you can always store them in airtight containers with a tablespoon or two of silica gel. Just keep them in a cool, dry location.
4. Use an iron
This method is perfect if you’re working with particularly delicate blooms, such as poppies. Like the second microwave method, this involves pressing the flowers, so they won’t be usable in dried flower arrangements. They will, however, be perfectly suited for craft projects like decoupage.
First, pat dry the flowers with a piece of paper towel to remove excess moisture, and cut off the stems. Spread your flowers out across a sheet of parchment paper, then lay another piece on top of them. Flatten the flowers using a heavy book.
Switch your iron on to a low heat, ensuring you don’t use any steam settings. Transfer your parchment paper and now-flattened blooms onto your ironing board, then press the iron onto the paper in short 10 to 15 second bursts. There’s no need to run your iron across the paper as if you were ironing a shirt; simply press the iron down and hold it there. Remove the iron until the paper feels cool to the touch, then repeat the process until the flowers are fully dried.
5. Use the trunk of your car
Here’s an unconventional method you can try out if you have your own car! On a hot, sunny morning, wrap your flowers up in parchment paper and place them in the trunk of your car — they’ll be out of direct sunlight but still baking in the heat, which makes it the perfect place to dry them. Check on them again at sunset and they should be good to go.
Now that you know how to dry flowers quickly and efficiently, why not try these methods out and see how you go!
Alternatively, you can always check out Floraly’s full range of dried flowers. They're long-lasting, make perfect gifts and are great for decorating your own home. Plus, they come pre-arranged in a free white ceramic vase! No hanging, microwaving or ironing required.