Ever received a beautiful bouquet, and want to preserve the flowers forever? Maybe the flowers are a special gift, or mark a significant life event such as a wedding or funeral. Although an intimidating prospect, it is much easier than you think to keep those beauties preserved for life. This guide will show you how to dry a flower so that it is ready to be cast in resin.
#Ad #SponsoredContent - this post is sponsored by Summer Lily Flowers; an Isle of Wight based florist.
What can I use dried flowers for in resin?
Flowers are gorgeous when used in creating resin pieces. The natural simplicity, vibrant shapes and subtle differences of each individual floret make for unique works of art every time. Smaller flowers such as daisy's really pop in jewellery pieces, especially when combined with a pop of colour such as in this mica lined bezel. Large quantities of the same small flower are also enchanting to look at when fully encased in a resin shape, such as in this R (these were flowers picked from my garden and dried using the method listed below).
Larger flowers, such as the rose, look stunning alone in a resin piece, or even more so when combined with other roses, different flowers, or even touches of gold leaf for a more elegant feature. They can of course be separated out into petals, which lowers the drying time needed before putting into your project. Whet her big or small, the method listed here will work well to dry and flower for your resin projects.
Why dry a flower before casting in resin?
If you don't dry a flower before resin casting, you will not end up with an attractive final product. Although technically air tight once set, the water retained in the rose would still allow the flower to rot, leaving you with a piece of resin and a brown dead flower in the coming weeks. Resin also hates water, so in the case of having a really wet fresh flower, it may not set at all, leaving you with a horrible (and expensive) sticky mess.
Materials Needed to dry a flower for resin casting
The only thing you'll need to purchase for this project is Silica Gel, we used the Wisedry branded silica from Amazon. The best type to choose is the silica desiccate that is in sand form; this allows the mix to penetrate all the tiny nooks and crevices in your flowers, giving an even dry throughout. When drying using silica sand as opposed to the larger gel crystals, you are much less likely to dent the delicate petals, leading to a much better surface finish. The initial purchase may seem expensive, but the sand can be used time and time again giving you lots of bang for your buck. Silica sand changes colour when fully saturated with water (usually after 5 or so uses), and can be reactivated/dried out in a low oven, giving you indefinite uses.
Aside from that, you will need your flowers, and an air tight container to dry them in. I like to use the empty tubs from sweets and empty biscuit tins. Once you have all these things, you are ready to dry your own flowers for resin casting!
How to dry a flower for resin casting
1. Pick your flowers
This works best with fresher flowers; if they've already started to wilt, those brown patches and imperfections will enhanced once dried and more apparent in the final piece.
2. Dry off residual moisture
If there's any dew/water droplets, give them a little dry by patting gently with a paper towel.
3. Remove unneeded parts
Using a pair of plant snips (or some shark scissors), remove parts that you don't want in the final piece such as the stems or leaves. If there are dead petals that can be easily removed, gently tug them off. This is also a great chance to check for creepy crawlies if you've freshly picked the flowers from the garden.
4. Pour a thin layer of silica sand
In an empty tin (or other large tub), pour a thin layer of silica sand into the bottom. There needs to be enough cover so that you cannot see the bottom of the tin.
5. Place the flowers in a single layer on the sand
Be gentle with the flowers still, but give a small little push so that they are say in the silica sand.
6. Gently cover the flowers in silica sand
Cover the layer of flowers with silica sand so that they are completely submerged. Make sure to get the sand into all the crevices. Give the tub a gentle shuffle back and forth to make sure the sand works it's way into the gaps.
7. Wait for the flowers to dry out
After sealing the lid onto the tin, the only thing left to do is wait for the silica to do its magic. For small flowers, this may only take a couple of days, but larger, thicker flowers can take 1-2 weeks to fully dry. You will know they're ready when the flower feels almost crisp to the touch.
8. Remove the flowers from the sand (carefully!)
The flowers will be super delicate, so be really careful when removing them from the sand. I like to gently tip the mix through a course strainer (in my case, a cake tin with holes drilled in the bottom) to catch the flowers. Shake the sand free from the petals. Your flowers are now pristinely preserved and ready for use in resin. Dried flowers can be kept in either a tub, or in a sealed bag (just make sure you don't squash them.
Have you dried any sentimental flowers, or are you looking to do so? Let us know in the comments below. If we were to win the grand prize of 100 roses we would sure be looking to dry a flower or two for a resin cast as a memento!
Be sure to check out our other craft tutorials here.
- Pick your flowers
- Dry off residual moisture
- Remove unneeded parts
- Pour a thin layer of silica sand
- Place the flowers in a single layer on the sand
- Gently cover the flowers in silica sand
- Wait for the flowers to dry out
- Remove the flowers from the sand (carefully!)