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How to Make a Gift Bag with Dried Flowers
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  Turn fresh flowers into everlasting treasures that can add a unique look to many types of projects. Delight friends with these one-of-a-kind gift bags created with flowers preserved using one of several easy-to-do methods.
 
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Materials:

  • Garden scissors
  • Shallow dish with tight fitting lid
  • Several cuts of fresh fern
  • Several small flower heads (impatiens, hydrangeas, geraniums and pansies work well) Note: flowers tend to fade as they dry, so pick vibrant colors
  • Aerosol can of spray adhesive
  • Gift bag (rustic, cloth-looking type with variegated colors are best)
  • Silica Gel flower drying kit, large old phone books, or wooden flower press for drying flowers

Note: Directions for making a simple wooden flower press can be found at the following web site www.leeswoodprojects.com

Getting started:

Pick flowers that are at the peak of their bloom, without imperfections. Blot any moisture from petals as water droplets leave spots on the dried flowers. Cut off stems and leaves as close to the petals as you can without having the flower fall apart. Assemble flowers & greenery for drying. Drying can be done several ways:

Long method:
A simple phone book gives the best results, but it takes the planning ahead and patience. Place the flowers carefully (be sure the edges of the petals aren't bent under) on a page in the middle of the phone book and mark your spot with a sticky note sticking out or a simple piece of torn paper, so you can find the flowers later without having to rough up the book too much. Place the ferns on another page, separated by large chunks of pages. Place the phone book under a heavy object in an out-of-the-way place and wait for two weeks! This presses and dries the flowers in the exact shape you picked them, without wilting the edges.

Quicker method:
A quicker way to dry is to buy a box of Silica Gel Flower Drying Kit from you local craft shop (Michael's and Joann's both carry it). This is a type of sand which has a drying capability. Using a rectangular glass dish, pour in a little sand to cover the bottom, then carefully place your flowers and fern face down on the sand. Gently cover all with more sand (a scoop, spoon, or funnel works well to pour through). Leave about and inch between items. Grouping flowers of similar type and size together in containers is a good way to minimize drying time differences. Cover container with an airtight lid and leave undisturbed for several days. Some will dry in as little as 3 days, some may take 7. Begin checking your flowers on the 3rd day. Remove the lid and tilt container so some of the Silica falls away. Flowers should feel papery and stiff, and will hold their shape. Gently scoop flowers out with a slotted spoon and brush off any remaining crystals with a small brush. Note: Dried flowers are very fragile and need to be handled gently. I find picking them up with a butter knife or fork the best way to move them around.

Quickest method:
The above Silica Gel method can be sped up by using the microwave. Place your uncovered microwave safe container in the middle of the microwave and heat for 1 minutes on lowest setting. After microwave stops, allow container to sit undisturbed for 20 minutes and then check for dryness as was mentioned above. Use care and protect your hands with mitts to avoid burns. Repeat process, if flowers are not dry. Though this method is quick, it is tricky since it's easy to over dry the flowers. You might want to do them one at a time until you get the result you like.

Once you have your fern and flowers dried to your satisfaction, gently place them upside down on a large piece of brown paper or newspaper. It helps to hold them in place with a straight pin. Gently spray each item with your spray adhesive (following directions on can).

Gently attach flowers and fern to the front side of your gift bag. Walah!!! You have a unique and fun gift bag which your friends will treasure so much it will be regifted time and again!

 

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