Things You'll Need
Drying agent (like sand or borax)
Shallow cardboard box
Soft bristle brush
When you receive a gorgeous bouquet for a special occasion, such as a wedding, a birthday, or a baby's arrival, you want the beautiful blooms long after the flowers can sustain their living beauty. There are ways to preserve the color, texture and living lines of flowers for future enjoyment.
Mix one part borax to one part clean sand, such as builder's sand in a fine grade. You can also thoroughly rinse fine beach sand and then bake it in a 250 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Cornmeal or oatmeal may be substituted for the sand if desired.
Prepare flowers by cutting flower stems short and remove leaves. Depending on the shape and size of your flower, the procedure for placing the flower will vary. For single, small blooms, pour a layer of sand on the bottom of a shallow cardboard box. For bouquets or flowers with large heads, use a deeper box filled halfway with the sand mixture.
Make a mound of the drying agent and gently press the flower base into the mixture. Then fill sand up against the base of the flower, gradually sifting sand into the spaces between each petal, working from the outside into the center. Filling the flower heads with the drying agent is the most important step, and must be done methodically with patience. Continue filling until the flower is filled and covered, taking care not to move the petals as you add sand. Flat or irregular-shaped flowers can be dried with their heads face down on the mound and sand poured over the top. For large flower heads or bouquets, gently set the flowers on top of the sand mixture, then gently pour the drying agent over the blooms, working slowly to ensure a little mixture gets in all of the crevices of the petals. Continue pouring until the flowers are completely covered.
Leave the box in a warm, dry place for as little as 7 to 10 days to as long as 2 weeks. Check the drying progress regularly to ensure that the petals are not damaged, which can happen with too much exposure to the borax.
Punch small holes in the bottom of the cardboard box to drain the drying agent, then gently remove the flowers. Be careful not to pull blooms out of the mixture quickly as the petals may break apart under the pressure of the sand. Use a soft brush to remove any of the drying agent grains that remain.
An airtight container in a dark place is the best storage solution for preserved flowers. Spray the booms with a fixative after preservation to add additional protection.
Store drying agents in a safe place away from children and pets.