I love using flowers in resin projects, not only they look beautiful but also they work well with any interior design (at least I believe so). You can create anything with resin and flowers, from big flower paintings to jewelry pieces.
Before adding flowers to resin, you need to make sure they are completely dry, otherwise they will wilt and lose color over time (or instantly). In some cases they might even start rotting inside the resin, you don't want to see that haha. Even if you believe your flowers are already dry enough, wait another week. Better safe than sorry.
There are 4 ways I dry my flowers depending on how much time and space I have and how I want them to look like.
Method 1: Drying in books
Perfect for: Getting beautifully flat flowers
Not great for: Flowers that are really big and 3D like big roses
Time required: 1-2 weeks (for some flowers it might be longer)
What is needed:
Books that are wider than the flowers you're drying
wax paper or paper tissues,
something heavy to put on top of the books
This method is very easy. Arrange flowers on a wax paper or paper towels, then slide it between pages of your book. Close the book and put something heavy on top. Wait patiently for a week or two (I always prefer 2 weeks just to be sure).
Remember, the way you put flowers inside the book determines how they will come out so make sure you open / expand them in a the way that makes sense for your projects. Thanks to the wax paper / tissue paper flowers will not stick to your book pages.
I use this methods for leaves and smaller flowers.
I always let my flowers air dry for a week after taking them out of books, just to make sure they are absolutely dry.
Method 2: Air drying
Perfect for: Getting beautifully 3D flowers
Time required: 1-3 weeks (for some flowers it might be longer)
What is needed:
A space to hang your flowers
A piece of a string
Tie a string to your flowers and hang them upside down. Never hang them in a direct sunlight or they might loose their colors. Hang them in a place that your pets won't get to.
Alternatively, you can put them upright on a piece of paper and let them dry, however remember that the side they lay on will end up flat.
Method 3: Drying in salt or silica gel
Perfect for: Getting beautifully expanded 3D flowers
Time required: 2-3 weeks (for some flowers it might be longer)
What is needed:
A box in which you can dry the flowers
Enough salt or silica to cover your flowers completely
I use this method for any flowers I'm not sure how I will use yet, or if I have too many flowers to dry and run out of space for hanging them.
Put a bit of salt / silica on the bottom of your box, put flowers inside and then cover them with salt or silica very slowly. Pouring salt too fast can damage the flowers. I love this method for roses that I want beautifully open after drying. When air drying, roses close a bit, but with salt, petals stay ajar and you get bigger flowers in the end.
Salt tends to clump due to humidity so you have to be super careful when removing your flowers from it. Be patient and use a fluffy brush if needed.
Method 4: Microwave
Perfect for: Flowers you need to dry quickly
Not great for: Big, fresh flowers since it's easy to burn them
Time required: a few minutes, depends on flower size
What is needed:
a heat proof dish
I'm only using this method when I'm totally pressed for time. Put a piece of tissue paper into a heat proof dish. Put flowers on top. If you want them flat, put another smaller dish on top of them, there are also special flower presses which you can buy and put into microwave. Start with 30 seconds on low/mid power setting. Let flowers rest for a minute before doing another 30 seconds session. Continue until flowers are dry. Don't try to shorten the process by putting them on for a few minutes, they will most likely burn (I burned mine so many times... I'm just so impatient haha, you can see what a burned flower look like if you look at the rose on the banner - I like that though, it shows half wilted half 'fresh' rose).
Drying in books and air drying are my totally favorite methods.
A few additional tips:
Make sure you don't store flowers in a humid room
I store my flat flowers in photo albums, that way they stay flat and I can easily browse through them without damaging them
If flowers are 3D, store them in big boxes
Don't leave your flowers out of boxes unless necessary. They will gather dust which will be super difficult to clean and even if you think they are clean, dust can pour out of them when you pour resin on top
If you're unsure if flowers are dry, don't risk it, let them dry longer
Don't wait for flowers to wilt before starting the drying process, try to dry your flowers before any brown spots appear
Tips for using flowers in resin:
If your flowers are very 3D or delicate and you're scared about resin damaging them (some resins are more aggressive than others ;)) coat them in a layer of glue. Mix PVA glue with water and paint flowers with that mixture. That way air bubbles trapped in all the crooks and nannies won't end up in your resin. You will also protect colors from resin chewing into them ;)
For deep silicone forms put a thin layer of resin on the bottom, then coat each flower in resin and put on top (don't use much resin, just a bit to glue everything together). Let it cure for 24 hours (or longer, check your resin for the curing times). Then pour more resin on top. This will prevent flower raising in resin and ending up on top of your silicone form. Same applies to flowers on paintings, work in layers, don't try to speed the process.
If you want your design to be clear and with least amount of bubbles (and you don't own a pressure pot) make sure to stir your resin very slowly, the faster you stir, the more air bubbles will be trapped in resin
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post,