Preserved flowers, such as roses, are ideal for versatile and inexpensive decorating. Many people also choose to preserve flowers as mementos from special occasions, such as proms or weddings.
But if you’re not sure how to preserve your real roses, or you’re not sure what to do with them once the process is complete, here are some tips on what you should know.
Choosing Roses To Preserve
Ideally, begin with fresh roses cut in the morning or early afternoon. Choose blooms that are, as near as you can tell, blemish-free and not compromised by decay, disease or insect infestation. Choose the blooms with the brightest or richest colors as you will lose some color in the preservation process. You also want to select your roses on a day when there is no rain. Check that your flowerheads and leaves are free from rainwater and dew.
Different Ways To Preserve Roses
1. Air Dried Roses
Hanging your roses up to dry is the simplest way to preserve them. Begin by removing the leaves from the stems. Then wrap the stems together in groups of no more than five or six and secure with a rubber band or string. Hang the roses from a nail or hook in a dry, well-ventilated room with limited direct lighting. Air drying roses can take anywhere from five days to a month.
2. Silica Gel Method
Using silica gel to dry your roses is a little more expensive, but the method is pretty easy. You can purchase silica gel at most craft stores. To use this method, fill a container partway with the gel. Place your flowers gently into the gel and then cover them fully with the remaining gel. You should leave them in the silica gel for three to five days. You can seal them after they are dried by using hairspray.
3. Preserving With Glycerin
Preserving roses with glycerin is the way to go if you want to retain as much of their lifelike form as possible. This method works by replacing the natural moisture in the flower with the glycerin, thus preserving the flower without drying it. Fill a container with two parts warm water and one part glycerin, then place the roses into the mixture. You will need to leave the flowers in the glycerin for several weeks. Sometimes the colors will change drastically. If you want to keep the colors, you may need to experiment with using food coloring dye in the glycerin solution.
4. Pressing Roses
One of the most traditional methods of preserving flowers is by pressing them. For roses, you will have better luck with pressing only the separate petals. You can do this by placing petals between pieces of paper, or in the pages of a book. Place heavy objects, such as books, bricks or rocks on top of the pages and leave them for three or four weeks. Another way to press flowers it to purchase a flower press. You can find these at some craft stores and online.
5. Freeze Drying Method
Freeze drying is probably the most effective method for a professional, attractive finished product. However, freeze-drying is expensive, and it is done by a professional company rather than done at home. Freeze-dried flowers keep their color and scent, which is highly advantageous if you are preserving flowers with sentimental value, such as a wedding bouquet. They will be very fragile to the touch, however, so one of the best things to do after freeze-drying is to frame the flowers or place them in a glass cabinet.
What Do You Do With Preserved Roses?
Ideas For Preserved Roses
1. Place a spray of air-dried roses in a windowsill or on the kitchen table to add a touch of hominess.
2. Create elaborate bouquets of air-dried or glycerin preserved flowers for weddings or church arrangements.
3. Use dried flowers as Halloween decorations for a romantic, mysterious effect.