Arts & Crafts
Preserve Flowers Naturally with Borax and Cornmeal (No Silica Gel)
Whether from the garden or a special occasion, dried flowers are often used in wreaths, garland, ornaments or dozens of other crafts. But how do you get great-looking, dried flowers that maintain their shape?
An affordable solution is to use 2 household ingredients you already have in your pantry—Borax and cornmeal.
How it works
You surround your flowers with Borax and cornmeal. The mixture slowly pulls out all the moisture from the flowers while also supporting them so they maintain their shape.
Note that this process works best with flowers that have relatively thin petals. This includes common flowers like roses, tulips, and water lilies.
What you need
The procedure is pretty straightforward. All you need is:
- Fresh flowers
- A small, dedicated airtight container (large enough to hold your flowers). Pre-label the container to avoid confusion with food or other products.
- 1. Prepare the flowers
Before you can preserve your flowers, you need to prepare them. For the very best results:
- Use freshly cut flowers straight from the garden. The fresher the flowers, the better they’ll look when preserved.
- Cut off the stem just below the bud; this makes preserving the flower easier. If you want a stem, you can use an artificial wire stem after the flowers have been dried.
- Allow the flowers to air dry completely or pat dry them with a paper towel.
- 2. Mix the cornmeal and Borax
Mix together the ingredients with the ratio of 1 part Borax with 2 parts cornmeal. You’ll need enough to fill up the small, airtight container you will be using. (Ensure adequate ventilation and avoid creating any dust or mist).
- 3. Put a small layer of the cornmeal/Borax mixture in the container
You want just enough of the mixture on the bottom of your container so that you can stand your flowers up in the container. Most of the time, a layer of about ½ inch to 1 inch of mixture is plenty.
- 4. Fill up the flowers put in container
Next, you want to fill your flower with the mixture. Make sure you get it in between the petals of the bud. This will help ensure your flower dries out evenly, which will help it maintain its current shape. Pour the mixture in slowly, making sure not to damage the petals. (Ensure adequate ventilation and avoid creating any dust or mist).
Once the flower is full of the Borax and cornmeal mixture, place it upright in the container. Repeat with each flower you want to preserve, leaving a few inches of space between each flower.
- 5. Cover the flowers
Once you have all of your flowers in the container, fill the container with the Borax and cornmeal mixture. Do NOT just dump the mixture in the container as you will damage the flowers. You need to carefully place the mixture around each flower. This is tedious, but important for a great final product. Be sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly after handling.
Fill the container to just above the flowers. Don’t put too much on top of the flowers or you will damage them.
- 6. Seal and wait
Once you have the flowers covered, seal the container and let it sit for 10 to 14 days in a warm, dry room. Store the container out of sight and out of reach of children and pets. Before removing the flowers, check them to make sure they are completely dry.
- 7. Remove flowers from the mixture
Once the flowers are dry, you must be just as careful removing them from the box as you were placing them. (Ensure adequate ventilation and avoid creating any dust or mist) Here’s how:
- Tip the container slightly and pour out the cornmeal/Borax mixture very slowly.
- Once you see the tops of the flowers, stop.
- Reach into the container and cup your hand gently around a single flower before pulling it out of the box.
- Turn the flower upside down and gently shake to remove the Borax and cornmeal from between the petals. You can also gently brush or blow away any remaining mixture. Be sure to wash and dry your hands thoroughly after handling.