Find out how to dry flower petals of any kind.
Dry flower petals have a longer shelf life. If you want to preserve your blooms, then this is the way to go. On the other hand, fresh flowers usually have a short shelf life and the usual use we have of them is for aesthetics.
Dehydrating fresh flowers makes them last longer and allow us to put them to other uses as well.
After they have been dried properly, you can use them for a variety of purposes. Dry flower petals have several uses, which include the following:
- Scents for homemade paper
- Decorate cakes naturally
- Use them to make tea
- Throw them at the newlywed couple as they go down the aisle
- You can fill small cotton bags to serve as sachets that make drawers and closets smell better naturally
- Combine dried flower petals with essential oils, spices, and herbs to make your very own potpourri mix of fragrances
- Sprinkle them in your bath to add a natural floral scent
Of course, before you can put your flower petals to good use, you must first learn how to dry them. Here are the most common methods of drying flower petals.
SEE ALSO: 5 Easy Ways of Drying Rose Petals
How to Dry Flower Petals
Book drying flower petals
This is the most common method that people use to dry flower petals. You may even have done it yourself before. It’s also the simplest way to do it.
The big downside of this method is that the wait times can be pretty long. Another challenge you will face when you use this method is in the book selection. Hardbound books that are about two inches thick are ideal.
Here are the steps:
- Line the last few pages of the book with paper towels.
- Cut the petals from the base
- Arrange them in the pages lined with paper towels
- Close the book gently
- Keep the petals in those pages for about 2 weeks
After that, transfer the dried petals in a jar and store them in a cool place away from sunlight.
Dehydrating flower petals with a dehydrator
This method requires the use of a dehydrator, which might cost you around a couple of hundred dollars when you buy them from Amazon or eBay. Here are the steps to use a dehydrator to dry flower petals.
- Arrange your petals evenly on a rack
- Set the dehydrator to a low setting—this will preheat the insides
- Place rack in dehydrator and then set the thermostat to its lowest setting
- Keep an eye on the petals as they dry. It could take anywhere from an hour to an entire day to get it done.
Drying flower petals in an oven
Your oven is also a great tool that you can use to dry flower petals. If your oven has multiple racks, then you can make the most out of that for this purpose. The only catch is that you need to watch your petals closely or else they get burned.
Here are the steps:
- Preheat your oven to 190°F (80°C). You can start with a lower temperature as well, but then you need to bake the petals a bit longer.
- Spread the petals on a baking sheet or cookie sheet
- Make sure that the petals are evenly spaced. If you have more petals and they can’t fit in one sheet, then use multiple sheets
- Place the sheet(s) in the oven and heat your flower petals for about 10 minutes.
- If you’re using multiple sheets then rotate the sheets every 5 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, check if the petals are crisp.
- If they are not yet as crisp as you expected them to be, then heat them again for another 10 minutes. Remember to rotate the sheets every 5 minutes if you’re using multiple sheets.
- Repeat these steps until the flower petals are crisp It will usually take 3 cycles or a total of 30 minutes to make most flower petals crisp when they’re dry.
Check the petals and see if there are some that aren’t that dried yet. Take out the dried ones and keep the not-so-crisp petals in the trays.
The remaining petals in the trays (i.e. the ones that aren’t that dry yet) should be returned to the oven. No need to turn the heat on. The remaining heat in the oven should be enough to dry these flower petals.
Drying flower petals in a microwave
You can use your microwave to dry flower petals. This is a quicker way to dry them compared to using your oven. The only downside to this method is that some of the fragrance of the petals will be lost during the process and you can dry only a small amount at once.
The flower petals that will be dried using this method should be used for aesthetic purposes only. But if you’re looking to preserve flower fragrances, then use the other methods described in this guide.
I personally don’t recommend microwaving for dehydrating herbs – but in case you want to dry them – here is how to do it.
- Get a microwave-safe plate and enough paper towels for your petals
- Line the plate with a couple of layers of paper towels
- Arrange the flower petals on the plate
- If you have too many flower petals to fit in one plate, then go dry them in batches
- Cover the petals with another layer of paper towels
- Place the plate inside the microwave
- Microwave the petals anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds in a high setting. If you’re using smaller petals then just go for 30 seconds, if they’re bigger petals then microwave them longer.
Collect the dried and crisp petals in a jar. Microwave the flower petals that are still a bit moist for another 30 seconds.
Air-drying flower petals
Air-drying your flower petals helps to preserve their natural fragrance. This is a better option for this purpose as opposed to using a microwave to dry flower petals. The big downside to this method is that it will take a lot of time to dry and will need to monitor the process.
Here are the steps:
- Place all your petals in a big enough drying screen
- Find a sunny spot in your room or kitchen and leave the petals there under the sun. If the sun isn’t out then just look for an area that usually gets a lot of warm air.
- Turn the petals over every 30 minutes to an hour. This will allow them to lay more flat on the screen. It might take an entire day to dry your petals depending on their size.
- Remove the dried petals and place them in a jar or some other container. Keep air-drying the ones that are still moist.
Freeze drying will require you to buy a freeze dryer—a piece of equipment that may cost you a good deal of money. Unless you’re doing it for your business, then I don’t recommend this for home users or those who are looking to dry flower petals for personal use.
Here are the steps:
- Place all your petals in the freeze dryer
- Set the temperature to -20 degrees.
- Close the door and turn the dryer on.
- The freeze dryer will first vacuum all the oxygen in the chamber
- The petals will then be frozen to the specified temperature
- The machine will then begin the sublimation process where the temperature will be raised inside the chamber slowly
- The ice inside will be turned into vapor. The sublimation process may take several days to complete.
Once the process is completed turn the machine off and store the dried petals in containers of your choice.
Use this method for commercial purposes only. Note that sublimation preserves the shape and aroma of the petals without making them wither and wilt—it’s like they are frozen in time.
Silica gel drying flower petals
This method is more effective than air drying and will help prevent the petals from molding. To do this, place the petals in a container with silica gel, which can be found at a craft or hobby store. The silica gel will absorb the moisture from the petals, drying them quickly and preventing mold growth.
These are the different methods that you can use to dry flower petals. The method you use will depend on your budget and the purpose you have for these dried blooms.
FAQ about drying flower petals at home
How do you dry flower petals without losing color?
The best way to preserve the color of flower petals when drying them is to use silica gel. This method is effective and easy to do, and it will help the petals retain their color and shape. You can also hang them upside down in a dark, dry, well-ventilated area. Keeping the flowers out of direct sunlight will also help them retain their color. Keep in mind that the color of the petals may fade over time, especially if they were not dried properly.
How long will dried flower petals last?
Dried flower petals can last for up to three years if they are stored properly. To extend their lifespan, store the petals in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture.
Should you spray dried flowers with hairspray?
It is not necessary to spray dried flowers with hairspray, and it may even damage the flowers. Hairspray contains chemicals that can cause the flowers to become brittle and discolored. It is best to avoid using hairspray on dried flowers, as it may cause them to lose their color and become fragile.
How do you preserve flower petals so they don’t mold?
To preserve flower petals and prevent them from molding, you will need to remove as much moisture as possible.