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How To Air-Dry Flowers

Air-drying flowers is a simple, fun hobby that can save you lots of money by providing free materials to make dried flower decorations for your home or to give as gifts.

It's a very simple process to air-dry flowers. All you need is a place to hang them out of direct light, some rubber bands, and either paperclips or florist wire. You can use wooden pegged coffee cup hangers and pieces of lattice attached to the kitchen wall as places to air-dry your flowers. You can also insert some cup hooks into a wall and use those.

Once you have prepared a place to hang them, you can begin your search for flowers to dry. Hopefully you have a variety of flowers growing in your own yard or garden to experiment with.

If not, you can find a great variety of wildflowers growing alongside local roads or in forests. If you are using wildflowers, be sure to take care of the plants you take the flowers from. This ensures that there will remain plenty of plant growth for insects, birds and other wildlife to use.

Some flowers that have air-dried well for me include:

    Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
    Pompon Dahlias (Dahlia hortensis)
    Poppy seed heads (Papaver somniferum)
    Roses (Rosa)
    Marjoram (Origanum vulgare)
    Larkspur (Consolida ambigua)
    Lavender (Lavandula Augustifolia)
    African Marigold (Tagetes erecta)
    Strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum)
    Globe Thistle (echinops ritro)
    Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
    Statice (Limonium sinuatum)
    Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)
    Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) seed heads

To find flowers that tend to air-dry well, it's good practice to experiment. If it doesn't dry well, you'll know not to use it next time. Occasionally, an air-dried flower that doesn't look good to one person may look pleasing to another.

With most flowers, it's best to dry them when they are just beginning to open up. Depending on the flower, if you hang it too late the petals may fall off. You will learn this on a case-by-case basis as you experiment. With others, you may have to wait until the seed head is developed because this is the decorative part.

The best time to cut flowers for drying is in late morning on a dry day after the dew has dried. I like to take a wicker basket and scissors along with me as I walk around the yard snipping what looks appealing at the time.

Once you have picked your flowers, you need to prepare them for air-drying. Bundle eight to ten stems with a rubber band at the cut end of the flowers. The rubber band works especially well because as the flowers dry, the stems will shrink and the rubber band will shrink along with them, maintaining a snug fit.

Next, insert an unraveled paper clip or short length of florist wire inside the rubber band and bend it to form a hook. You can use the hook to hang the bunch over a peg, a piece of lattice, or a wall hook. Hang the bunch of flowers upside down. Depending on the weather, they should probably take anywhere from one to three weeks to dry thoroughly. When they are crisp to the touch you'll know they're completely dry.

Air-drying flowers make a wonderful decoration by themselves. But when they're dry, you can take them down and make dried flower arrangements, dried flower wreaths, Christmas ornaments, and more.

Monica Resinger is the Editor of Creative Home, a fun, twice or three times a week ezine that is jam-packed with Creative Homemaking information like how to organize your home, cook mouth-watering meals, entertain your friends and family, decorate your home, plant a garden, use herbs, try a new craft, and much more! Photo courtesy of More Than A Memory.

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