Create • Inspire • Journey
by Rachelle Eason
Flowers and Meaning
Dried flowers were never on my list for creating. I just kind of fell into it because of having the right supplies on hand and a surplus of flowers. And I had a dehydrator.
I am not a cook. If you read my blog Matzo Tofu, you already know that I prefer to use my stove to boil books rather than cook food. What possessed me to get a food dehydrator a few years ago, I cannot recall. I just remember I had big plans for it.
Twice. I used the dehydrator twice for food. I can’t even remember what I made, but it was most likely some kind of fruit.
The dehydrator sat on a shelf in the kitchen for several months. I asked my mom if she wanted it and thought about donating it, until one day…eureka…I can dehydrate flowers!
What I was going to do with the dehydrated flowers was yet unknown, but at least I could use my dehydrator. I often have a surplus of flowers that I can’t use for eco-staining from the haul I get on Friday Flower Days. Giving those flowers an opportunity for adventure just seemed like a wonderful thing to do.
Try it at home…
If you have a food dehydrator decorating your kitchen shelf and want to put it to use, here are some tips and tricks I have found that work well for me.
1. Put the densest flowers on the bottom tray. They take longer to dehydrate than loose petals and leaves, so they need to dry the longest.
2. Pile up the petal spread. The first time I dehydrated rose petals, I carefully laid each one on the try without overlap thinking they had to have full exposure to dry. They can actually be layered up a good bit. Some flowers and leaves dry so quickly that layering them doesn’t make a difference as the heat easily circulates through.
3. Arrange the flowers in categories as you are planning on storing them. If you want to store them by color, separate before you lay the flowers on the tray. Section the tray or use a different tray per color. I find it is easier to separate the petals prior to them shrinking.
4. Store in gallon size freezer bags. The airtight bags not only keep the petals and the plant crumblies (all the little dried bits) organized, but the scent is preserved. When you open a bag to use your dried flowers, the aroma is so lovely.
Dehydrating time varies. Depending on the moisture content or the density of the flower, dehydrating could take a few hours or several. For my particular dehydrator, flower petals take about three to four hours. Denser flowers or full flower heads like a full rose may take overnight. If I have quick drying petals on the top tray and ones that require overnight on the bottom, I simply take off the trays with the quick drying ones and let the other trays continue.
What to Do with Dried Flowers
So now that we have our pretties, all dehydrated and smelling lovely, what do we do with them?
I very rarely have used them in my art. However, I used them in one particular piece of eco-stained wall decor to create a mixed media nature journal effect and I absolutely loved it! This is crazy, but I haven’t done another. I loved that piece so much that I am waiting for just the right inspiration to compose another one on that level.
Around my studio and house, I fill bowls with assortments of the dehydrated flowers. I sprinkle dried flowers around the bases of candles and fill mesh bags as sachets in my dresser drawers. I have even sewn filled pockets onto bookmarks, making them puffy and aromatic.
What I absolutely love to do with them on a regular basis is include them in the packages I ship out. They fill boxes that hold my pottery pieces and make a great looking mug even lovelier. Stationery and journals wrapped in white tissue are even more elegant on a bed of dried flowers.
Filling gift boxes with dehydrated flowers is a surprise treat for someone special and makes me smile even more when I am wrapping them.
My Eco-Stained Journals, Stationery, and Wall Decor are in my shop and feature a lot of the same flowers I dehydrate. It is so much fun to see those layers of lovely when you open one of the packages I ship.
Put them in a bowl near your comfy writing spot and enjoy them along with your journal!