---By Silica Gel----
There are two ways that we usually used to dry our products, either by silica gel or by a flower presser, and both ways are time consuming process. Always remember, the more you prep before you dry, the better the end results will be. Today, we will focus on drying by silica gel.
Silica Gel (like those you get in small sachets either in new handbags or containers) works by sucking moisture out from the air. You can buy big bags of it from any nursery stores or Amazon, and remember, they are reusable. I had mine for ages, can’t even remember when was the last time I bought mine. It usually comes in white and orange beads, and when you used it often, the orange beads will turn blue. This means that you need to reactivate (or remove the moisture) from the beads. I usually spread it on baking tray and leave in the oven for 60 minutes on 200 Celsius. When the beads turn back to orange, it is ready to be used again. Pretty cool right!
Now for the process itself, you will need different types of container. I used clear glass Tupperware with lock cover (like those you can get plenty in IKEA). Before I start the drying, I usually have a design in mind. So I will prep the flowers based on that design, either cut in smaller pieces or full bloom, dried sitting up or down, all this will be based on the design. Once the flowers are prep, just line the base of the container with silica gel, then arrange the flowers, pour another layer of silica gel and it goes on. Basically, silica gel – flower – silica gel. Most importantly, the flowers must be FULLY covered by silica gel. No space left unattended.
Then I cover it (that is why a lock cover Tupperware works best) and leave it to dry, minimum 24 hours, but I do leave it for days at time. It doesn’t matter, because the gel will preserve the bloom. Remember, always label your boxes. It will save you time and limit your guessing game (which flower is this or when did I dry these, trust me this questions will pop up) To remove silica gel, I usually just tip it over into another container. Its normal to lose some petals, you can always glue it back with resin glue later on. I use multiple sizes of brushes to clean the flowers so that I can remove all the silica gel.
An important note here. Silica gel is very very dusty. Use a mask to protect yourself. I use a vacuum cleaner to suck the dust (when tipping over, just switch on the vacuum cleaner beside it).
Once the flowers are cleaned and placed into different boxes (I used paper box and tight containers), I will also label them by names and then keep them in freezer. This way, it will preserve and keep the flowers looking fresher longer. Some flowers, like Heathers, I line them up on paper (A4) and then keep them in vacuum plastic bags before freezing them. I find that these method works better if I want to preserve the colour of the flowers to look fresher and brighter for longer time. It is a lot of work because I separate them into small amounts so that when I use them, I just take one bag at a time. You should see my freezers in the studio, completely full with boxes of dried flowers!
Drying flower with silica gel is easy, anyone can do it, but the devil of the matter is in the detail. Prepping before hand and having a plan or design in mind, will always makes the whole process goes more smoothly.