Monday, August 4, 2008

New Thing #206--Fun With Desiccant

Today I dried flowers. And other things.

I purchased a bag of silica gel at the craft store. On the way home I tried to figure out what I had in the garden that I could dry. Since I wasn't coming up with much, I started looking for wildflowers on the side of the road. I saw Queen Anne's lace and picked some of it, but couldn't find anything else.

I used the silica gel in the microwave. The directions were:
  • Cover the bottom of a container with 1/2" of silica.
  • Separate flowers in silica gel face up
  • Cover completely with gel
  • Microwave for two minutes, then check to see if the flowers are dry. If not, microwave for one minute increments until dry
  • Let cool
  • Carefully remove flowers
I experimented with the Queen Ann's Lace. Sure enough, in two minutes it was dry. However, it's very fragile and fell apart a bit when I took it out. I went out to the garden and picked some coneflowers, tickseed coreopsis, and yarrow. Several minutes later I had some beautiful dried samples.

I wanted to do more! I went outside again and searched all around the house, but there were slim flower pickings. Even though I knew I'd probably be disappointed, I tried to dry vinca and impatiens blooms. As I suspected, they were too fragile and completely fell apart. I didn't have any more flowers available, but I tried a spider plant and a sprig of holly. Both of these worked well; the holly would be beautiful later in the year when the berries turn red.

I'd finally run out of specimens, ambition, and time, so it was time to clean up the project. I found out the hard way that the silica is HOT when it comes from the microwave, and it will stick to your skin! It bounces out of the bowl when you don't pour it slowly and the tiny little beads roll quickly. I think I'll be finding silica gel for weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Kathy... i think i left a comment already about your drying flowers... let me know how easy that really is!