Lilies are gorgeous flowers that come in a lovely assortment of colours. They can be bright and exotic, or white, simple and elegant. Drying lilies can seem challenging because their blooms are so large and delicate. Because of the weight of the lily petals, the traditional method of hanging the flowers upside down to dry is not optimal. Instead, lie them flat and keep their shape with floral silica gel.
Collect the flowers in the morning, preferably just after the dew has dried on the flowers. Make sure to pick flowers at their peak of opening, not flowers that have already fully bloomed. (These will open further during the drying process.)
Turn the flower stem side up. Cut an inch off the bottom of the stem.
Fill the bottom of the cardboard box with an inch of silica gel. Place the lily with the flower facing upward and form the gel around the bloom to hold it upright.
Gently push the silica between and around the petals with your fingers or a toothpick so the petals maintain their shape.
Spoon silica over the top of the flower to hold it in place. Continue adding silica along the entire length of the flower and stem until completely covered.
Close the top of the cardboard box and seal with tape. Leave the flowers to dry for three weeks.
Open the box. Gently brush silica off a part of the bloom and feel the flesh of the petal. If the lily feels like paper, it is dry. If it is still moist, put the flowers back in the box for a few more days.
Make sure the lilies are dry. Gently lift the flower from the box, turn it upside down and gently tap the back of the bloom to shake off the silica.