How to Preserve a Bouquet
Preserving a bouquet is a great way to memorialize a special event like a wedding, anniversary, or birthday. Framing preserved flowers is also a fun way to decorate the walls in your house or apartment. Preserve your bouquet by pressing it in a book, or by hanging it upside down to dry in a closet. Alternatively, use silica gel to preserve the shape and color of your bouquet.
Hanging the Bouquet Upside Down
Use jute twine to tie the stems together.Place 1 to 2 feet (0.30 to 0.61 m) of twine on a table. Lay the stems of your bouquet on top of the twine. Wrap the middle of the stems tightly with the twine 7 to 10 times, or until secure. Double or triple the knot.
- If you need to protect your work surface, cover the table with sheets of newspaper.
- Make sure to leave enough twine free so you can hang your bouquet upside down.
Fasten the twine to a hanger.Tie the loose ends of the twine around the bottom of a wire hanger. Double or tripe the knot to secure the flowers to the hanger. Your bouquet should be hanging upside down from the hanger.
- If your bouquet is particularly heavy, then use a plastic hanger instead.
Hang the bouquet in a dry, temperate area for 2 weeks.Hang the bouquet in a hallway or bedroom closet. Let the flowers dry upside down for 2 to 3 weeks.
Place the bouquet in a vase.Once the flowers are completely dry, remove them from the closet. Use scissors to cut the twine free from the bouquet. Place the bouquet in a vase of your choice.
- Flowers that are completely dry look stiff and crispy, and they are brittle to the touch.
Enclose the bouquet in a glass case.Measure the length and circumference of your bouquet with a measuring tape so you can buy a case that is an appropriate size. Place your bouquet in a glass dome, or in a rectangular or square display case to further preserve it. Set the case on a shelf or on a pedestal in your living or dining room.
- You can purchase glass cases from your local crafts store, or online.
Pressing and Framing Your Bouquet
Pick your favorite flowers from the bouquet.Using scissors, cut the stems until inch (1.3 cm) of stem or less is left. Discard the stems.
Open up the middle of a heavy book.Place a piece of parchment paper on the page. Place 1 to 2 flowers on the parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the flowers. Slowly close the book, making sure not to move the flowers.
- The additional parchment paper will prevent ink from staining the flowers.
- Heavy books like textbooks, dictionaries, and phone books work great.
Weigh the book down.Pile several books or place something heavy, like a vase, on top of the book with the flowers in it. The added pressure will help press the flowers down further.
Let the flowers set for 2 weeks.This will allow time for the flowers to dry out and compress. The flowers are ready once they are completely flat, and look and feel dry and brittle.
- If your flowers are still not flat after two weeks, then let them set for another week.
Choose a picture frame while your flowers are setting.Visit your local crafts store. Choose a picture frame that will be big enough to fit your flowers in it. Pick a frame that will complement the color of your flowers. Additionally, choose a sturdy frame, like a metal or wood frame with a glass covering.
- For example, a white frame will go well with bright or pastel-colored flowers. Gold, silver, and bronze frames go well with any color combination.
Remove the flowers from the book.Open the books slowly. Because dried flowers are very delicate, use tweezers to lift the flowers off of the parchment paper. Place the flowers on clean sheets of parchment paper.
Cut a piece of cardstock to fit inside the frame.Remove the back of the frame. Place the back of the frame flat on top of a blank piece of cardstock. Use a pencil to trace the outline of the frame. Use scissors to carefully cut out the outline.
Arrange the flowers.Using your tweezers, arrange the pressed flowers on the parchment paper to create a design. Play with the arrangement to get a design that you like. Once you settle on a design, take a picture of the design with your phone. This way you can remember how the design looked when you are ready to glue the flowers.
- If you can’t decide on a design, take a picture of each option. Compare and contrast them to decide which one you like the best.
- Make sure to handle the flowers with care. Because too much handling can cause your flowers to break down, only arrange them 2 or 3 times.
Glue your flowers to the paper.Pour a small amount of glue into a shallow dish or bowl. Pick up each flower with your tweezers. Dip a toothpick in the glue. Use the toothpick to spread the glue on the back of the flower. Position the flower on the paper and press it gently for 5 seconds. Repeat this process for each flower. Once you are finished, place your flower design in a dry, well-ventilated area to dry for 1 to 2 hours.
- Use more glue for thicker flowers.
- Use Elmer’s glue or a craft glue to paste your flowers to the paper.
Place the design in the frame.Lie the flower design face down on the glass. Place the back of the frame on top. Then secure the back of the frame per the frame’s tabs or screws. Hang the frame on a wall in your living room, dining room, or hallway.
- Make sure the glue is completely dry before placing the design in the frame.
Using Silica Gel
Cut the stems with scissors.Clip the stems until inch (1.3 cm) of stem is left. Discard the stems.
Fill a plastic, airtight container halfway full with silica gel.Depending on the size of your container, you may need to use multiple containers to fit all of your flowers. Before placing the flowers in the silica gel, sprinkle silica gel inside the flowers. Make sure silica gel gets all the way inside the petals.
- Contrary to its name, silica gel is more like a sand than a gel.
- You can find containers at your local hardware store or crafts store.
Place the flowers upright in the silica.Place them side-by-side, but try not to overcrowd them. Leave a little room, about inch (1.3 cm) of space, between each flower.
- Additionally, avoid stacking the flowers on top of each other.
Fill the rest of the container with silica gel.Do not pour the silica gel directly on top of the flowers since this will distort its shape. Instead, build up the silica gel by spreading it around the flowers. Add silica gel until the flowers are completely covered.
Let the flowers set for two weeks.Place and secure the lid on each container. Place the containers in a cool, dry place, like a hallway or bedroom closet.
Visit your local craft store to purchase a shadow box.Do this while your flowers are setting. Choose a shadow box that is 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) deep. This way, the flowers will have enough room to fit inside the shadow box.
Remove the flowers and spray them with a fixative spray.Gently pour the silica gel out into a large bowl to remove the flowers. Mist each flower with fixative spray. The fixative spray will help preserve the color of the flowers. Alternatively, use hairspray.
- You can purchase fixative sprays from your local crafts store.
Arrange them inside the shadow box.Remove the back of the shadow box. Place the flowers upside down against the glass. Arrange them however you like. Play with the arrangement before you decide on a final design. Take a picture of the final design so you have a reference to refer back to once you begin gluing the flowers to the back of the shadow box.
Hot glue the flowers to the back of the shadow box.Lay the back of the shadow box flat on a protected work surface. Place a dime-sized amount of hot glue on the back of a flower. Place and hold the flower to the back of the shadow box for 30 seconds. Repeat this process for each flower.
- To protect your work surface, cover it with sheets of newspaper.
- You can purchase a hot glue gun and glue from your local crafts store.
Display the shadow box.Hang the box on a wall in your bedroom, living room, or dining room. Alternatively, place the box on a shelf, or stand it up against the wall on top of a table.
Video: How to preserve your bouquet forever
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