A third way to dry flowers is really kind of a unique way because it allows you to preserve the full fullness of a lot of flowers that have a lot of petals, such as zinnias and roses and these kinds of things where you won’t lose that three-dimensional effect. And that’s through the use of some type of a drying agent, in this case silica gel. Now silica gel is available at just about any hobby or craft store you might want to choose to shop at and it’s a material that basically takes the moisture out of the material while still preserving the full shape of the flower you’re trying to dry. We’re going to be using zinnias, roses, and some rudbeckia here as examples but the thing you need is a container to place your silica gel in. It can be anything you want: a cardboard box or in this case a plastic tub. And you basically put a layer of silica gel in the bottom of the container. Your flowers are, again, prepared just like anything else, picked properly, the proper time. They should be dry. The stem is cut very short. We’re going to replace that stem with a wire when we get done with it, but it’s cut very short and it’s simply inserted into the silica gel like that so that the flower basically lays flat in the silica gel facing upwards. So we’ve got zinnias, roses and we’ll put a rudbeckia right there. and now the next step it simply to take the silica gel and slowly pour it over the flower and perhaps shaking the container so that the silica gel gets between all of the petals. You want these thing thoroughly covered and the silica gel in every nook and cranny of the flower possible. So we’ve covered that one zinnia, we’re covering this rose. You can see the silica gel going in between the petals like you see right there. So basically we’re covering these flowers with silica gel. Once covered, the container is set off to dry somewhere. No need to cover the thing, it allows the moisture to escape, and just allowed to sit there. Now it may take several weeks for the flowers that have lots of petals maybe a lot less for the things like rudbeckia with a single petal, but the beauty of this is once these are uncovered if we look at this as a dried zinnia it will retain its three-dimensional shape color will be almost as you see it right here and it’s ready to be used in a vase or other type of container as you see fit. As you can see we’ve cut these stems very short and now we have to construct an artificial stem. Simple to do. A piece of florist wire that you get at any hobby shop, insert it throurgh the base of the stem up through the center of the flower a small hook formed at the and of the wire as you see right there and then pulled right back down through which anchors the wire, hides the wire, and creates your artificial stem. While silica gel can be an expensive investment in flower drying it’s reusable. All you have to do is that make sure the silica gel dries out between uses before utilizing it for another batch of flowers. Another thing to consider when you’re using silica gel is the fact that some flowers have few petals, others have many like this zinnia, some of the roses, that kind of thing. It’s probably a good idea not to mix these with these because these are going to take a lot longer to dry, these a short amount of time to dry. You may want to be using them sooner, so try to gather up all your flowers with lots of petals and put them in one box, those with few petals put them in another box and they’ll dry a lot more uniformly that way, but also you can then utilize the whole box at one time, but if you don’t utilize the whole box of flowers at one time these can remain in the silica gel almost indefinitely because they’re preserved and it’s just a matter of using them when you want to, taking them out very carefully, shaking them off and utilizing them in your arrangements. Using silica gel or other a drying agent allows you a whole lot more latitude in preserving the full quality, three-dimensional shape, color of a lot of garden flowers that you would not normally be able to enjoy in the dead of winter.