Flowers often commemorate some of life’s most important moments. Unfortunately, cut flowers fade and after a bouquet dies, we are left with only the memory of its beauty, fragrance and meaning. There is a way to preserve flowers that are dear to you, along with associated memories--by saving their petals. Preserved flower petals can be more than just keepsakes; they can be used in potpourri, beauty treatments, art projects and even in tea. You can continue to enjoy and use flowers long after they have died by saving their petals.
Things You'll Need
- Wax Paper
- Paper Towels
- Heavy Book
- Baking Pan
Choose flowers that have fully opened, but have not yet begun to drop their petals. Hold the flowers upside down and gently shake them to remove any insects or debris.
Check the flowers for blemishes, bruises or discoloration. Discard those that appear unhealthy, mushy or soggy.
Pull the petals from the flowers, and throw away the stems and leaves. Divide the petals according to color if you wish. Doing so may allow you do develop a pattern of different colors of dried flower petals.
Line a low-rimmed baking pan or similar container with paper towels. Place a small amount of flower petals in the pan. They should not be crowded, but have plenty of room to spread out. Use as many pans as you require to dry all of your petals.
Position the pan indoors away from direct sunlight. Gently turn and stir the petals every day to ensure they are evenly exposed to the air. After two weeks, they should be thoroughly dry, as well as slightly shrunken and curled. The drying time may vary slightly depending on the humidity where you live.
If you prefer flat petals, you will want to press them for a perfectly smooth result. Open a large, heavy book to the center. Line the pages on the left and the right sides with wax paper. Position your flower petals on the right page, allowing plenty of space between them.
Close the book and place it in an undisturbed location for two weeks. Open it to verify that your pressed petals have dried completely. If not, give them more time.
Store air-dried flower petals in tightly lidded containers away from heat and sunlight. Store pressed, dried flower petals between folded sheets of paper or small squares of cardboard in sealable plastic sandwich bags. Or, if possible, continue to keep them between the wax paper-lined pages a heavy book. You can purchase a special flower-pressing device at a craft supply store.
If you plan to use your flower petals in food or drink recipes or beauty treatments, make sure they come from pesticide- and herbicide-free flowers.
Rose Brown began writing professionally in 2003. Her articles have appeared in such Montana-based publications as "The Tributary" and "Edible Bozeman." She earned a bachelor's degree in literature from the University of California at San Diego, and a master's degree in English from Montana State University. Brown has been a professional florist since 1997.