Whether it’s a romantic bouquet of red roses for your first anniversary, a few select stems from your bridal bouquet or some wild buds your husband plucked for you during a morning hike, there’s nothing more lovely than receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers for a special occasion.
But if the thought of letting them shrivel up and die isn’t an option, learning how to preserve and frame them at home will help their beauty—and heartfelt memories—endure for years to come.
We asked Valerie Ghitelman, Vice President of Product Development and Design at 1-800-Flowers.com, to share her best tips and advice for how to press and frame flowers—DIY-style. Here’s what this pro florist had to say about drying and framing flowers at home:
Meet the Expert
Valerie Ghitelman is the Vice President of Product Development and Design at 1-800-Flowers.com. She has been with the company for over 11 years.
MyDomaine: Are some types of flowers easier to dry and frame than others?
Valerie Ghitelman: Flowers such as cosmos, coreopsis, pansies, geraniums, daisies, violets and poppies have thin petals, which makes the process of pressing them easier, since the moisture is absorbed more rapidly and reduces the possibility of creating mold which damages the process.
If you’re picking flowers from outside, rather than using buds from a bouquet, you will want to collect them when they are at their peak—but after the morning dew has dried up. For the best results, reduce moisture and keep them out of the sun and heat.
The other things that matter when it comes to deciding what flowers to dry include:
- Making sure there isn’t too much heat, which can cause the blooms to crack and break apart.
- Making sure you are maintaining consistent pressure during the pressing process is important in order to achieve the best results.
- If the flowers have thinner petals, make sure you are reducing the moisture appropriately to preserve the shape and coloration.
- Finally, flower freshness is not a disadvantage, since the process of extracting moisture is a key element in successful pressing. The younger the bloom, the better the color. As the flowers age, so does the intensity of the color.
Ready to start preserving and framing your own flowers? Ghitelman suggests following these seven steps to ensure the best results.
1. Create a Homemade Press
Start by gathering the items you’ll need for your homemade press. “Use objects that you already own,” suggests Ghitelman, “such as cardboard, newspapers paper towels, coffee filters, waxed paper phone books and even your old college text books.”
2. Arrange Your Flowers
“Place flowers between two sheets of absorbent paper, arranging the flowers in the shape you want once they are dried,” Ghitelman says. Be sure to layer an additional 3-12 sheets of newspaper or blotting paper on either side to help absorb the excess moisture.
3. Apply Weight—Lots of it!
Press out all of the moisture to keep the flowers preserved. They need to be weighted down using a board, a stack of phonebooks, bricks or something else that’s flat and heavy.
4. Let Your Flowers Dry for 2-3 Weeks
“It takes about 2 to 3 weeks for the flowers to thoroughly dry,” Ghitelman explans, so, “Be sure not to disturb the flowers or remove them from the sheets of absorbent paper during the drying process.”
5. Style Your Dried Flowers
Once dried, “gently remove your dried flower(s) and foliage—making sure you have a plan in mind of how you will place them,” Ghitelman says. “Sometimes, it is complex to ensure that the components stay in place, so I would advise a dab of glue, hot glue or double-sided tape to hold them” to the backing or mat you’ve chosen. Just be sure to proceed with extreme caution and patience during this step, warns Ghitelman, to ensure you don’t damage your flowers in the process.
7. Hang Your Framed Flowers
“There are a lot of shadow box designs out there and really any are appropriate,” Ghitelman says, so pick one that best suits your taste and style. Once your design is complete and all of the flowers are securely attached in place with tape or glue, it’s time to show off your work. Hang your finished art on the wall or prop it up on an easel.