Preserving Dried Sentimental Flowers

“If I had a single flower for every time I think about you,
I could walk forever in my garden.”
Claudia Adrienne Grandi

I can hardly believe we are coming up on our two year anniversary at the end of March. Two years, people! Time flies when you’re having fun and we sure try to have as much of that as possible. We have shared many significant life events in such a short amount of time and I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else. Wally is my best friend and has taught me so much about the meaning of unconditional love and patience as we continue to figure out the situation with my knee. After our appointment with the surgeon today, it’s looking like surgery is about a month out with some intensive physical therapy in the next few weeks before we can move forward. I’m getting fitted for a knee brace tomorrow so hopefully I can start getting around on crutches soon. Onward and upward!

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, thoughts of love and gifts and flowers have been on my mind. If you’re a sentimentalist like me, throwing away gifted bouquets from special occasions can be especially difficult. There have been a handful of fragile dried roses from various bouquets Wally has given me from our first year of marriage that grew increasingly tattered from lack of protection in our closet. I had saved a white rose from our honeymoon, four red roses and a few sprays of baby’s breath from my opening night bouquet in “The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe,” two pink roses from our first Valentine’s Day, and a light pink rose from my birthday last year. They are little tokens of our love story and family history, and I finally figured out a timeless way to preserve them!

When it comes to drying the flowers, there’s nothing fancy to it really. I simply tie the stems upside-down with bakers twine until completely dry (between 4-7 days). The coatrack near the window in the art studio works perfectly, so if you have something similar this is my preferred method. I find the exposure to gentle warm sun helps to speed up the process.

I found a simple, white-framed 12″ x 15″ shadow box at Michael’s for under $15 that matched our farmhouse home decor style beautifully… and that 40% off coupon sure did sweeten the deal! The shadow box I selected worked well with the size of stems I already had, so be sure to check and make sure you have an appropriate size box beforehand.

First, I covered the black felt backing with a neutral linen fabric from Joann’s and hot-glued the edges to the back. Next, I laid out the flowers in a pleasing arrangement, checking every so often that the shadow box frame would still fit around the edges. I then secured the base of the flowers with a green decorative ribbon. When you first do this, it’s normal to make a mess as dried tidbits get broken off! Simply brush or gently blow them to the side.

Then it came time to manicure the ends, which I did with sharp crafting scissors. If your flowers are fully dry, it will be easy to make clean, angled cuts. I only needed to trim off a few.

I had to stop and take this close-up because of the smile it brought my face to see these cute little details… It really is in the creation process that I find joy!

After I tucked in all the dried baby’s breath pieces, I went through and made any repairs (like this white rose petal that came loose in the process). I used a low-temp glue gun to reattach anything that had broken off using small amounts of glue in imperceptible locations.

I used two short sewing pins to secure the arrangement to the center of the backing (which are so hidden you can’t even see them anymore!) and then hot glued the base of the flower stems to the linen behind the green ribbon so you can’t see the glue. After the arrangement is secured with the hot glue, you can remove any pins if you prefer.

Seeing those deep red roses at the top of the arrangement reminds of when this handsome fella’ showed up at the backstage door to surprise me with a dozen roses before our opening show of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” Yep. He’s a keeper.

There’s something so romantic about dried roses, and knowing the occasion they are each from makes them even more special to me…

To finish, I placed the shadow box frame over the composition and secured the latches behind the backing to close it in. If I decide to add more flowers to this bouquet over time, they will be easy to add in. I hope this project idea helps any other sentimentalists out there who are looking for a simple and elegant way to display dried flowers!

How do you like to preserve dried flowers? What methods have worked successfully for you? Or are you more of a a snap-a-pic-and-chuck-it type? Let me know in the comments!

Love & Light,

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