dried flower matter with person taking notes

The ultimate recipe for DIY dried flowers

Published 17th September 2021
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If you’ve been tempted to follow in the footsteps of the founder of My Scented Home, Catherine Nix, then we certainly have a treat for you! A tempting recipe for all kinds of crafters and gardeners alike, this simple yet satisfying process will have you reaching for your roses and foraging for Phalaris. 

Packed with insightful snippets from her OnBuy interview, this helpful guide to DIY dried flowers will have you creating rustic floral masterpieces in no time!

How to dry flowers the natural way

dried flowers infographic

Keen to give drying flowers a go yourself? You’re in the right place, as Catherine expertly guides us through the whole process, the best flowers to use, and what to avoid. While you can dry flowers using a kiln, silica gel, or even the microwave, Catherine recommends using the air drying method. 

Used for centuries, air drying is not only one of the easiest ways to create dried flowers, but also the most natural for those who like to keep their homemade crafts simple.

Select the right species

selecting species of plants

To welcome autumn (and guests!) into your home with open arms this year, Catherine recommends checking out gorgeous grasses like Phalaris as well as incorporating Statice (Sea Lavender), Acrolinium, and Helichrysum into your bouquet or wreath creations to ensure they have plenty of rustic appeal. Helichrysum is a particularly popular choice as it’s available in vibrant oranges and reds that add instant warmth into the heart of any home.

“Some [flowers] just don’t look as good when you’ve dried them. I’ve got loads of sunflowers at the moment. They’re beautiful and I do used dried sunflowers but they sort of wilt, they don’t stay as you imagine a sunflower”

Picking the perfect moment to harvest your flowers is key to achieving the perfect dried flower creation! While it may be tempting to dry flowers after they’ve already started blossoming and are at their most glorious, the best time to pick them is while they’re still young buds. This will prevent petals from falling off during the drying process to ensure a more realistic and intact final product.

Safely secure your flora

securing plant bouquet

For the traditional air drying method, you’ll need to create small bunches of flowers which you can then hang upside down and gradually dry out in a warm, open space. However, instead of immediately opting for string, twine, or rope, Catherine suggests using elastic bands to avoid floral disasters, but you can also use sewing elastic.

“If you tie them with string [...] as they dry, they shrink slightly and you’ll come in one morning and all your flowers will have dropped out”

The stretchy nature of elastic bands allows them to expand and contract, helping them to adapt to the ever-changing shape and size of the flowers as they begin to dry out. If you choose to use string instead to bind your flowers, you may find them scattered over the floor as the string’s grip around the shrinking stems becomes loose. Moral of the story? Always opt for elastic line or bands over string!

Seek out a suitable spot

area to dry plants

Another one of Catherine’s top tips for fantastic dried flowers is to avoid both sunny and damp environments while they’re drying out. Too much sunlight can cause bleaching (where the flowers lose their stunning colour), whereas damp and high humidity conditions can simply ruin the drying process by causing the flowers to wilt and brown - a floral disaster we really want to avoid!

“Obviously with dried flowers, the main thing is they mustn't get damp. Even when you’ve dried them it’s really important they don’t get damp.”

To prevent your flowers from becoming a flop, search for a warm, airy, dark and dry space where they can hang with minimal disturbance. Common areas include airing cupboards (as long as they’re not damp) and dark attics with great air circulation, but they can be happily hung in most rooms using laundry airers, coat hangers, coat hooks, or shelves. Leave for a couple of weeks until they adopt a delicate texture that’s similar to tissue paper and they’re ready!

The secret ingredient? Passion!

passion for died flowers

Once they’ve been thoroughly dried out, you can either arrange them into a long-lasting bouquet (with a helping hand from our essential kit list!), create a welcoming wreath to hang on your front door, or even whip up some scent-sational potpourri. 

As Catherine knows from her years of experience, the best part of dried flower crafts is that they’re all about experimenting - no matter how many mistakes you make - and coming up with designs that you utterly adore!

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