Techniques For Preserving Flowers
Various techniques for preserving flowers have been around for as long as humans have seen these beautiful creations of nature and wanted them as a part of their lives. The whole process of flower preservation goes back a long time and even pre-historic man had wild-flowers that were dried and had survived the test of time. These flowers, probably given at the time as a gift or an offering, are an indication of the fact that humans viewed flowers as an important symbol in their lives, while the use of certain specific flowers is also seen from the pollen DNA, which states that these techniques for preserving flowers may also have been practiced widely in those times.
Egyptians, who were known for their wonderfully preserved bodies, would also place flowers in their tombs. These flowers survived over the centuries, in their preserved forms, and are around 4,000 years old, at least. During the 16th century, people started using flowers as jewellery along with regular gems and metals. Since those times, preserving flowers has been a popular way of beautifying homes and work places using a natural element that lives well beyond its prescribed life-time.
Traditional Techniques for Preserving Flowers
Water and air are the two most important elements that aid degeneration of living tissue or creations. Amongst techniques for preserving flowers, the main thing was to remove the water content in those flowers and that happened through various drying processes. The first and most common method was to use glycerine to remove water. It would be used to create an extremely natural look on the flower by replacing the water in it. For this method of preserving flowers, fresh flowers are dipped into 2:1 ratio of water : glycerine, in which the flowers are dripped. The only issue with this was that if there flowers were already showing their autumn plumage, it would have been too late for them to do anything.
Pressing flowers was another popular method amongst techniques for preserving flowers although, in this case, the flowers would lose their entire shape and relief. They would be completely flattened and the pressed-way of keeping the flowers would require everything to be laid out flat, before the paper was laid on top of it. Every layer of paper and flower is placed on a sheet of newsprint or telephone book page, before being pressed down by cardboard. Then, a heavy object can be placed down upon it for a couple of weeks, following which the entire process is completed and those flowers are there forever.
Newer Techniques for Preserving Flowers
In modern times, there are many different techniques for preserving flowers that depend mainly on whether you are an amateur hobbyist or a professional. The main difference between the two forms is, usually, equipment. When it comes to the amateur format of working on preserving flowers for a hobby, the best technique usually is to air-dry them. You simply tie a bunch of these flowers together and hang them upside down, in a warm and well-ventilated place. The idea is to keep all flowers of the same type together and also place large flowers separately. Leaves need to be removed as soon as possible while you can use a twine or a ribbon to tie the flowers in bunches.
Make sure that the head of each flower gives enough space and room for all the others to also get enough air. This process also prevents the flowers from rotting although you will need to keep an eye on your flowers because due to loss of water, some of their stems will shrink. As a result, you might find that they could slip out and thus, might need some re-tying. These techniques for preserving flowers takes about 2 weeks to even a few months, mainly because it is heavily dependent on the flowers, the consistency of air flowing through them and other environmental conditions.
If you're someone who has been preserving flowers for a while now and want to move onto the next level, then you might look at getting some serious professional-level equipment such as a drying chamber. These are perfect for marigolds and cornflowers and have a fan-assisted drying process that carries out the same air-drying process in a manually-induced way. When buying one, however, make sure that there is some form of ventilation because the moisture coming out of the flowers may end up sticking to the walls, otherwise, and that can lead to a huge problem in drying up your flowers, even lead to rot maybe.
There are many other processes that involve using a silica gel for the drying process while something like using a molecular sieve is also available for those who are willing to put in enough time and effort into the process. Liquid nitrogen can also be used for a freeze drying process while something called the "Vermont Process", which is a hybrid version of the glycerine-process, is considered to be one of the most effective techniques for preserving flowers in their natural form.
If you are looking to get into the hobby of preserving flowers or simply trying to find ways of pushing yourself further down that line, then finding something that you need to find out more about the kind of techniques you have at your disposal and the flowers you can use them on. Find out these details and you will certainly have a better time practicing these techniques for preserving flowers in your home.