Did you know you can dry flowers in your microwave oven? You don’t have to wait days or weeks for fresh flowers to dry. With the help of silica gel you can instantly dry many different types of fresh flowers and forever preserve their beauty. After drying a few flowers in your microwave oven you’ll want to dry entire bouquets. Flowers dried in the microwave save a considerable amount of time and money, and drying flowers in the microwave is a hobby that’s fun, rewarding, and very addicting.
If you’d like to keep your flowers well beyond the warm months of summer, consider drying them in your microwave oven. The following instructions explain how to dry flowers in a microwave oven using silica gel.
What is Silica Gel, and Where Can I Buy it?
Have you ever noticed those little packets inside shoe boxes and coat pockets, and the little packets are labeled with the warning “Do Not Eat?” It’s comical to think that someone old enough to know how to read would consider eating the contents, and a child too young to read obviously cannot heed the warning. The content of those little mystery packets is silica gel. Silica gel isn’t gel at all. It’s a granular substance that absorbs moisture. Silica gel is actually the most absorbent product available, and amazingly it can absorb up to 40% of its weight.
You don’t have to save those little packets of silica gel in order to dry your flowers in the microwave oven. You can buy silica gel in most craft stores, and some discount stores that have a craft department sell silica gel. Alternately you can look online in order to obtain the lowest price on silica gel.
What Types of Flowers are Best for Microwave Drying?
Flowers with slender centers, and those that aren’t completely open are the best candidates for microwave drying. Choose fresh flowers such as daffodils, pansies, roses, violets, violas, zinnias, small sunflowers, and carnations. These aren’t the only varieties you can dry in the microwave, but they are some of the best choices.
Carnations should be dried in groups of three, and flowers that are brightly colored will retain much of their color and are therefore the best choices. The leaves should be removed before drying, and the leaves can be dried separately and reattached to the stems if desired.
Microwave Flower Drying Instructions
To dry a fresh flower in your microwave you’ll need a large microwave safe glass jar or narrow glass container, silica gel, a toothpick, a cup of water, and a freshly cut flower of your choice. To dry more you’ll need additional silica gel and another glass container, or you’ll need to wait until the silica gel you’ve used is completely cool.
Fill the glass container of your choice one-third of the way full with silica gel, remove the leaves, and carefully put the flower into the silica granules, bloom first. Use a toothpick to place the granules between the petals, and continue to add silica gel until the flower and stem are completely covered.
Place a cup of water in your microwave near the back corner of the unit or near the edge of the revolving tray, and place the glass jar with the silica gel and flower in the center. The average drying time in a 700-watt microwave oven is about two minutes. Since microwave ovens vary, experiment with various types of flowers and heating times. Take notes regarding how long various types take to dry in your microwave oven.
After removing the jar containing the silica gel and flower from the microwave, you must let it stand to complete the drying process. Most flowers must stand in the silica gel for ten minutes before removing, and sunflowers must remain in the gel for about eighteen hours with the jar covered by a plastic bag. It’s obviously better to leave the flower in the silica for a longer period of time than removing it too soon.
To remove the flower from the jar, carefully pour the granules into another container, and carefully remove the dried flower. Carefully remove any silica gel trapped between the petals. As stated before, don’t reuse the silica gel until it’s completely cool.
The flowers may require assistance in standing, and they can be supported with florist wire. Also, if you’ve dried the leaves separately as instructed above, the leaves can be attached with florist tape, florist wire, or super glue.