My best friend got married!! I know…she’s stupidly gorgeous right? So was her wedding. It was the perfect Texas Hill Country affair with peonies and lace to die for. And at the last-minute, while we were picking up the tidbits before heading back to the hotel I asked what her plans were with her bouquet. Lucky for me, she didn’t already have plans for it (because you know…she was busy planning a wedding and all) so I jumped on it and figured I’d try my hand at preserving it.
She has always loved white and soft pink peonies (who doesn’t) and as you can see, her bouquet was loaded with them. Now, as any floral lover knows, white flowers start to “antique” very quickly without water so if you’re attempting this – get those beauties in water and in a cold place as quickly as possible after their use.
We had a bit of a hike home so with the hubby focused on the road and the flowers in a little vase, I did some research on how to dry flowers. The absolute ideal way to preserve flowers and stay the closest to their original color is to freeze dry them…as in an actual freeze dryer machine. One Google search and you’ll realize that’s not going to happen on a DIY budget. Unless of course you’re looking to get into afreeze-dried fruit side business. If that’s the case, by all means. I…at this moment in time…was not. So, next option was to use silica gel.Basically the silica gel removes as much moisture as possible from the flowers, leaving them similar to how they feel if you press them in a book but these will still have volume. We stopped off at Michaels and picked this up for under $10.
To get started you’ll want plenty of air tight containers. If you need something bigger than your tupperware allows, grab a big baking dish, tin foil and packing tape – it doesn’t need to be pretty at this point! Just put a layer of the gel down first, then place flowers in (leaving some space between if possible) and completely cover the flowers with the silica gel. Make sure they are closed tightly and store in a dry, dark place (I put mine in our pantry).
Your box should have a chart in the instructions showing you how many days to store your flowers. I checked mine on day seven but they were still a bit soft which indicates there is still moisture in the leaves. If that’s the case with yours, put them back and check to make sure they are completely covered in silica gel so it finishes taking out that remaining moisture.
While my flowers were drying out I searched for a shadowbox that would go with my color scheme and was coming up with nada. So, I finally decided to raid my stash of paints and get crafty because sometimes you literally have to DIY to get what you want. No problem.
I started with this silver Rust-oleum spray paint we had leftover from another project. Since I was going for a bit of a textured look I took a paper towel, crumpled it up and sprayed that heavily on the towel first then just used it as a sort of sponge.
Once the flowers were completely dry, I very gently took them out one at a time, careful to get all the silica gel out from under all of the petals. Then it was play time! Your shadow box’s back panel will be a slim piece of foam and if it doesn’t come with pins be sure to pick some up (it’s best if they don’t have the thick, colored ends on them). I arranged mine a few different ways but be careful because the flowers can only take so much. Once I liked their formation I started pinning – being sure to go in under petals and stick at an angle so they don’t show. Once the flowers were down, I decided it needed a little something to break it up so I pulled out two ribbons from my stash and began to weave them in here and there. Since it was a last-minute decision to do this for the bride, I didn’t think to grab a ribbon used in her wedding but how sweet would that be?! Do it on yours!