Ways to Harden Real Roses
- Choose from several methods for preserving roses.rose image by Nedda from Fotolia.com
Flower preserving has been done for centuries. Flowers with small heads are easily preserved by pressing them in a thick book, while others simply need to be hung upside down in a cool dry place. Other methods are used to dry roses. Roses can retain most of their color and beauty when preserved and hardened the right way. It is important to use fresh flowers, and you may have to experiment to get the formula just right.
- Purchase pure silica sand at any builder's supply store. This means after you have bought it, you should sieve it to remove any large particles then rinse it several times to leach out any salts or clay. Dry the sand in an oven at 250 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes. Place a 1 to 2 inch layer of sand in a cardboard box and make a depression in the center. Carefully set the head of a fresh-picked rose upright in the depression and press the sand around it for support. Pick up some sand with your hand and gently pour it into the petals row by row until the rose is completely covered. You can dry several roses together in a large box using this method. Leave the box in a dry place for three weeks. Carefully make holes in the bottom of the box and allow the sand to drizzle out, leaving the roses. All preserved flowers are delicate and should be treated with care.
Alternative Drying Agents
- Sand can be substituted with borax, yellow cornmeal or other meal-type cereal in equal quantities with 3 tbsp. of non-iodized salt added. Keep the container open and place in a warm dry place for two to three weeks. It is not a good idea to use silica gel for this method, because the roses are likely to re-absorb moisture once they are removed from the gel. If you plan to make stems with florist's wire it is easier to attach it prior to the drying process because the preserved roses are brittle and delicate.
- Roses are a good candidate for microwave drying using silica gel. Partially fill a microwave-safe container with silica gel and insert the rose, then cover it with the gel using the same method as you would with sand until the rose is completely covered. Place a cup of water beside the container to humidify the air and microwave on high for 70 seconds for miniature roses or 90 minutes for full size roses. You may have to experiment with the times. Allow the silica gel to cool completely before removing the rose, which may take several hours.