>> Cathy Callahan is a crafter and window dresser who draws inspiration
from vintage crafts. She blogs about 60s and 70s crafts at
Forever Flowers Fast
Dry your favorite varieties in the microwave in minutes!
Flowers and flower forms have been a big
theme in crafts for decades. In the 1960s and
70s, flowers made with tissue paper, feathers, foil,
macaroni, or paper cups were all the rage. I remember
my mother making lupines by looping plastic six-pack
holders around wire, then spray-painting them purple.
They made a lovely centerpiece at the PTA luncheon.
But how about using the actual flowers? The
art of drying and preserving flowers has been
traced back to prehistoric times. It just might be
the original craft.
We’ve all taken a special flower and pressed it
between the pages of a book, like I did with my
prom corsage. Had I known that there’s more to it,
I wouldn’t have ended up with the moldy mess that
I did. Since the beauty of fresh flowers only lasts a
few days, you have to take steps to preserve them.
I really wanted to do it right this time, so I did a
little research. It turns out that pressing takes about
2 weeks and drying can take up to 7 days. Who has
time for that?
I almost gave up until I ran across an article
entitled “Dry Flowers in Your Microwave in Minutes!”
from Drying Flowers with Silica Gel (Hazel Pearson
Handicrafts, 1975). Now there’s no stopping me.
7. Gently remove the flower using a skewer, and
shake off the silica gel.
8. Remove any excess silica gel with a soft brush.
9. Display as you like. I decorated a frame with some
vintage trim as a showcase for my flowers.
Photograph by Cathy Callahan
1. Cut the stem to 1".
2. Pour 1½" of silica gel to cover the bottom of
3. Place the flower face up and cover it completely
with silica gel.
4. Put the pan in the microwave along with a glass
of water (following all safety precautions for your
5. Zap. I zapped my daisies for 2 minutes, at
1-minute increments on medium power.
6. Take the pan out and allow it to cool for
15– 20 minutes.
» MICROWAVE-SAFE PAN I USED AN OLD
PLASTIC TAKEOUT CONTAINER.
» SILICA GEL FROM THE FLORAL SECTION AT
THE CRAFT STORE. THE PACKAGE SHOULD
HAVE DIRECTIONS AND DRYING TIMES FOR
DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF FLOWERS.
» WOODEN SKEWER