How to Preserve Real Flowers

Updated February 21, 2017

Preserving real flowers has been a popular art form for centuries. Preserved flowers were often used as a personal fragrance or to eliminate unwanted odours. Today, you can preserve flowers for use as home decor or as a reminder of a special occasion.

Press single flowers inside of a large book. Remove leaves and thorns from the flower with pruning shears and cut the stem so that the flower fits in the book. Place the flower face up in the middle or towards the end of the book and close the book. It is best to use a book that contains uncoated pages, since they are porous and will absorb any moisture that the flower may contain. You may also place the flowers between two pieces of foam board lined with newspaper and lay the heavy book over it to press the flower. Remove the flower from the book or board after four weeks.

Air dry bunches of flowers by wrapping 12 inches of twine around the bunched stems, leaving a 6-inch piece of the string loose. Tie the string once to secure the bunches, then create a small loop with the remaining 6 inches. Place the flowers to dry in a warm, dry area of the home, such as a pantry or closet. To dry the flowers in a closet, pull the loop over the curved end of the hanger and place it on the hanging rod. To hang in a pantry, drive a 2-inch nail through the wall with a hammer and place the loop over the nail. Leave flowers to dry for two to three weeks before removing.

Dry flowering buds with clean, dry beach sand, which can be purchased at a craft store. Cut the stems from the flowers with pruning shears and leave a 1-inch stub under the bud. Fill a plastic container halfway with the sand. Insert the flowers into the sand face up and secure them by building small mounds around them. Slowly pour sand over the flowers, completely covering them and filling the container to the top. Place the top on the box and store it in a cool, dry place. After four weeks, remove the flowers from the box by gently dusting off the sand and placing the flowers on a clean surface.

Conserve stemmed flowers with borax and cornmeal inside a plastic container. Create a mixture of 1 cup of borax to 1 cup of cornmeal for every flower to be preserved in a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the plastic container, filling it halfway to the top. Cut the flower stems with pruning shears, leaving a 4-inch stub just below the bud. Lay the flowers on their sides and pour the remaining mixture over the flowers, filling it to the top. Cover the box with the top and store it in a cool, dry place. Remove the flowers after three weeks and gently clear the mixture from the flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Book
  • Foam board
  • Newspaper
  • 12 inches of twine
  • Hanger
  • 2-inch nails
  • Hammer
  • Dry sand
  • Plastic container
  • Borax
  • Cornmeal
  • Bowl
  • Wood spoon
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About the Author

Anya Meave is a freelance writer from San Diego, Calif. She began writing in 2009 for various websites. Majoring in telemedia, she has written scripts for student projects and has been chosen to submit a spec script for the 2011 Nickelodeon Writers Fellowship. Meave has an associate degree in photography from Southwestern College.