Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wedding DIY: Preserving Your Flowers At Home

I wasn't bridezilla until after the wedding. The night after, I sobbed inconsolably because my wedding flowers were gone. I had plans to turn them into decorations, into a Christmas ornament, and to display them. I wanted to save them forever, but they were stolen out of our hotel room after the wedding.

I was heartbroken. I was so upset that Pete actually "found" them and had them delivered to the apartment two weeks later (if that story sounds familiar, it's because I posted it here). It made me so happy knowing how much he cared -- and to know that I was able to do what I wanted with them.

Everyone I know who has saved flowers has either put them in the freezer (and then forgot about them, like my prom corsage) or dried them. But I decided to try silica gel. I had never used it before and wasn't sure my wedding bouquet was the place to try it on but I decided if it didn't work, I could always get a second replacement bouquet. Thank goodness I didn't have to. This worked amazingly.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Preserving Your Flowers At Home


What You'll Need:

Silica Gel (I bought two 5 pound boxes of Activa Silica Gel for Flower Drying)
Medium to large sized air tight box
Flowers

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

What You'll Do:

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Cut the stems off the flowers.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Pour a layer of silica gel in the bottom of the box.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Fill your flower with silica gel (filling it will help it hold its shape, overfilling it will help it fall apart).

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Place the flower in the box.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

You can fill any type of flower.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Just rest it in the box with the other.

Silica

Fill an entire layer with flowers and greenery.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Top it with a layer of silica gel.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Add another layer of flowers and greenery.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Repeat with silica gel and flowers.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

And then again until the box is filled. Don't put the flowers right on top of each other or too close to each other, but layers of flowers and gel is okay.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Fill to the top with silica gel.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

Close the lid and wait at least two weeks.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

After I had the flowers in the box, I strung a few together and hung them from the guest closet. I figured if silica gel didn't actually work, at least I would have these. I then left the rest of the bouquet whole on my desk and that dried pretty nicely, actually. I figured that would work for a memory if silica gel flopped.

But it didn't.

It was amazing.

Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

I opened the box, gently removed the flowers, and was shocked. They are as bright, beautiful, and clean as the day I put them in the silica gel. The whites were white, the greenery was green, and my flowers held up their shapes too.

My only regret was not buying a bigger box so I could preserve more of my flowers this way.

You can tell the rose I overstuffed fell apart, but I actually wanted petals for another craft. I'm going to purchase glass ornament balls and fill them with petals, then use the ribbon we used for our wedding favors to embellish and tie them.

But of course, I had to run in the other room to compare them to the dried flowers, just to make sure this process and the money invested was worth it.
Silica gel isn't something you should just toss. It can do AMAZING things, like preserving your wedding flowers at home. Seriously, it is SO MUCH BETTER than drying. Find out how to do it on www.abrideonabudget.com.

The top photo is dried flowers from the ones hanging on the closet. The bottom photo is the same flowers (Picasso calla lily, white rose, orchid, respectively). The picture speaks for itself.

From now on, any time I'm thinking about preserving flowers at home, this is the method I'm using.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Have you ever used silica gel for preserving your flowers at home? 

40 comments:

  1. Ive never even heard of this until this post - wish I had known about this back when I was getting married!!!

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  2. Had not heard about this silica stuff for flowers. What a difference it makes! I have flowers that are air dried, and they look so terrible that they are not even worth keeping.

    Aria H.

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  3. That is truly amazing. I never knew that stuff existed.

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  4. I've always feared drying flowers this way for some unknown reason... Safe to say I will be using this method from now on!

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  5. I have never used silica gel before, but the results are amazing. I will have to keep this in mind.

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  6. I never knew I could preserve flowers with silica gel. Wow, your flowers were amazing after taking out of the box. They still looked like fresh flowers. I will have to remember this method when I dry flowers.

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  7. I love this! I need to do this next time I get flowers from hubby.

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  8. Thank you for sharing. I didn't know silica can also be used to preserve flowers. We usually use silica to keep moist from shoes and photography equipment.

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  9. Silica gel also works for drying out electronics that have been dropped in water.

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  10. That's awesome I'm not getting married but I'm gonna try this

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  11. Interesting share and what a different it made with the flowers

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  12. My friend is the ultimate bride on a budget, and she has a whole closet dedicated to drying flowers she's collected from random yards, to use IN her wedding!

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    Replies
    1. I hope she's gotten permission before taking flowers from random yards.

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  13. They look absolutely fresh! What a great suggestion to remember

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  14. That's amazing! I had no idea you could do that!

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  15. Wow, that is just amazing. They're so gorgeous! I can't believe the way they retained their shape and color. I'm definitely pinning this to try. Thanks so much for sharing at Inspire Me Wednesday. Featuring you in next week's issue.

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  16. I just loved how your flowers turned out. What a great way to preserve those special flowers and be able to enjoy them for years. I will have to remember this.

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  17. Wow, what a find. I'm assuming the silica gel can be used again. Thanks for sharing this flower preserving technique with #theWeekendSocial. Please stop by again Thursday 9:00 PM EST. Pinned!

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  18. That is pretty neat. Glad you were able to save them! Thank you for linking up on Frugal Friday. :)

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  19. That really shows how well the silica gel works.

    slehan at juno dot com

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  20. I had no idea you could do this, thanks so much for sharing!

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  21. I have never used silica gel but what an amazing difference it makes. Will have to try it next time instead of just drying them.

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  22. I am wondering if you can do this while keeping your bridal bouquet basically intact instead of cutting up??? Could you fill the flowers and put in a larger container to keep it upright and intact? Anyone know??? Anyone Tried?

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    Replies
    1. Sara,

      I haven't tried it personally, but I can absolutely see it working. The only things you would run into would be finding a container large enough to fit your entire bouquet AND it would require a lot of silica gel. Honestly, though, it would be worth it to keep your wedding flowers.

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  23. Are the flowers crunchy? Trying to get idea of texture. Thinking of doing this before the wedding so I can use my own flowers I have grown and know they will last.

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    Replies
    1. Nope, not crunchy. The silica gel keeps them pretty fresh feeling.

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  24. When you made the ornament, how did you get the petals into the glass ornament without breaking them?

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    Replies
    1. I dried my flowers at home with silica gel, which leaves them more malleable than if you dry them traditionally. Ones that are just dried by hanging will probably crack, but the silica gel ones flex.

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  25. Do you think you could do this with the whole bouquet?

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    1. If you had a large enough box and a lot of patience, it could work. Part of what makes this work is getting the silica gel inside each flower and around its edges. So if you really carefully place your bouquet standing up and fill it from the top, you can do it. But if you lay your bouquet on its side and just pour the silica gel on top, it won't work.

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  26. Can the box be just a Sterlite container or does it have to be completely air tight

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    Replies
    1. Laurie,

      You can use a Sterlite container, but I would recommend one that closes fully all the way around (like this: http://amzn.to/1QFa9wE) rather than the ones that have the two snap handles on the sides.

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  27. Hi all, so I have used silica gel and the flowers are looking very pretty and brittle. What is the best way to store them. Do they shave to be kept in an air tight container? or can they be put in a shadow box. I guess my question is, will moisture in the air affect the colour and presence of the flowers after they are dried. Thank you

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    Replies
    1. After they've dried in the silica gel, you can put them in a shadow box. I've put them in Christmas ornaments too, and the rest are still in an air tight container (but they don't NEED to be).

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  28. Hi there, I'm getting married in April and I just saw your tutorial: it's great ! I was wondering though: how long do the flowers last once you've dried them with silica gel ? I mean: do they rot at some point or not ? Because I want to try and preserve some of my wedding bouquet flowers with your technique :) Thxs a lot for sharing !

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    Replies
    1. As long as you store them properly, they will last basically forever. I wouldn't get them wet after, but keeping them in a shadow box, an ornament, etc. will be just fine.

      Mine are almost two years old and still look just as great as day 1.

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  29. Do you have to clip the stems so short or is it possible to keep them long? I know it is done to stand the flowers up to maintain their shape, but just out of curiosity, is it necessary to clip them?

    Thanks so much!!

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  30. I heard of silica gel flower preservation. Maybe 10 years ago, I used to watch the Linnet Jennings tv show. This was one of the projects she had done. Though I had forgotten the name of the material to use for years and only in the last couple of years thought of it again. But with the recent passing my last grandparent I decided it was now the time. The flowers and bouquets from the wake and service are too lovely and beautiful to let pass to the test of time. So I will be trying this method per your instructions. Thank you :)

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  31. Your flowers look beautiful. I see this is an older pic, what do they look like today? I just got married on Friday and already used this method on my bouquet this morning. I'm super excited for the weeks to go by so I can start my shadow box. Hurry father time.

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