One of the true joys of gardening is having so many flowers in my garden. I sometimes cut them to bring indoors, and also like to dry them for flower arrangements and other crafts. It is easy to preserve flowers with two common household ingredients: Borax and Cornmeal.
Borax has dozen of uses in the home. It is great for laundry and cleaning, of course, but can also be used in many other ways. I’ve even tested Borax as an ant killer with great success!
The 20 Mule Team product makes a great weed killer for Creeping Charlie, too. But for today’s purposes, I will be using it to preserve flowers.
Remember placing a flower from a prom date or other special occasion in a closed book to dry it? The only problem with this is that the flower gets flattened.
Instead of this, we will use Borax to preserve flowers, so that they can be used later for making craft projects, door wreaths, or just displaying in the home.
It’s easy to preserve flowers with Borax & Cornmeal. Find out how! I ♥ Flowers! Click To Tweet
It’s time to preserve flowers with Borax!
To do this project you’ll need these things:
- 1 part Borax
- 2 parts ground cornmeal
- a large shoe box
- some cut flowers
- tissue paper
How does this work?
Have you ever found those little packets of silica gel in boxes? They keep moisture out of whatever they are packed with. Borax acts in a similar way. It acts as a desiccant, slowing removing the moisture from the petals of flowers but allowing them to retain their natural shape and color.
Flowers and plants with thin petals work best. Some good choices are:
Prepare the Flowers.
Before you try to preserve flowers with Borax, you will need to get them ready. Trim off the leaves and cut the stem to the length that you want. (It will need to fit into the box.) You can also preserve only the heads of flowers, in which case you would cut the stem just below the flower head. (great for pot pourri!)TIP: The fresher the flower is, the better it will preserve, so cut them from your garden just before you start. Cut dry plants. Wet plants after a rain are harder to handle and will easily be damaged. Place the flowers in plastic bags in a shady spot, not in water.
If you use flowers from a florist, give them a fresh cut and allow them to soak in water for 20 minutes or so and then put them into bags. This will help to remove any preservatives the florist may have added.
There are a few ways to preserve flowers with Borax.
There are several ways to preserve flowers with Borax. You can lay them sideways in the box, or place the faces of the flowers into the mixture. You can Iayer newspaper in the box and poke holes in the bottom of it and insert just the flower heads with the stems hanging below. I placed some on mine sideways and others had just the flower heads facing up. I’ll use those for potpourri and crafts.
The Borax and cornmeal is placed in a layer on the bottom of the box over newspaper. Once the flowers are placed in the box, sprinkle the Borax/cornmeal mixture over the flowers. Be sure the flower heads are completely but only lightly covered. Keep adding the mixture until they are all covered. My illustration shows some of the flowers only partly covered. (I wanted to test to see exactly how much Borax was needed to dry them well, and what happened if they had less mixture over them.) Finally, add a layer of tissue paper, close the box with a lid or cover and be patient. Check in about a week to see how they are doing.
Now you wait!
The flowers can take from 1-3 weeks to dry. To test them, gently pinch a petal. If the petal still feels cool to the touch and moist, it needs more drying time. If it feels dry, also test to see how dry the calyx is (the leafy part of the back of the flowers.) If this is dry, you will know that the procedure is finished.
The smaller the flower, the quicker the drying time will be. Tightly petaled flowers, like rose buds can take quite a bit longer to dry. I had best luck with the roses but the colors of the others was preserved well too.
Once the flowers have completely dried, carefully remove them from the mixture. Gently brush away, or blow away the mixture that still clings to the petals. The flowers can be used in some many ways for home decorations. I especially love to use them in my centerpiece box for my dining room table as well as for door wreaths.
The left over Borax mixture can be reused at another time. If it is still damp, place it on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheets and place in in a 150º F oven for 30 minutes to dry. Place in an air tight container until you are ready to use in future.
Have you ever tried to dry flowers? How did your project go?