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Microwave-drying flowers

JeanetteR | Posted in General Discussion on

(Yes, I know this is not  a stitching request, but our forum members are a mine of information!)

Could anyone tell me how to dry/press flowers using a microwave, I’m pretty sure it can be done easily, but the method escapes me.  A crafty magazine shows how to then dry iron between two sheets of waxed lunch paper to make very pretty wrapping paper.  We have some hydrangeas just going that dark pinky red after flowering blue that would be worth saving.  It’s our Autumn here!

Thank you, Jeanette,                                                                                           Sydney Australia


  1. rjf | | #1

    I pick mine when they turn pink (they're white to begin with) and just let them dry naturally.  They stay pretty much the color they were when you picked them.  I don't think that works for all flowers however.  If you don't get an answer from someone here, your library should have something.     rjf

    1. JeanetteR | | #2


      Thanks, if no other instructions are forthcoming, I'll just leave them spread on a bowl.  With this craft idea, they could be better flattened.  This paper looks really pretty with dried flowers and the like scattered here and there within the 'paper' in the article with teh gift wrapped in coloured tissue paper underneath.

      1. kai230 | | #3

        Hi Jeanette,

        I googled on microwave dried flowers and got a ton of hits. The two articles I read used silica gel: "A flower that might take five days to dry with the conventional silica gel method or three days to dry using preheated silica gel will dry in just one  minute in the microwave.  " from http://www.romwell.com/books/craft/Craftmicro.htm

        Edit: when I googled on microwave dried hydrangeas, this link suggests they are good to air dry http://www.greenbough.com/drying.html

        Edited 3/13/2003 9:45:12 PM ET by kai

        1. JeanetteR | | #4


          Hey this is really helpful, exactly what I needed!  I've printed it out and bookmarked the site in case, and I'll have a go on the weekend and let you know how it goes.  A lot of flowers can be airdried, but maybe as they will be pressed with the iron they may need a combination of flattening and drying first.  It will be interesting to see how the colours hold up!

          This may turn in to a whole new hobby!

          The greenfield site suggests using a food dehydrator as an option....now if I can just get mine back from my daughter's friend....one of those things that appeared really useful that never really got used.(yet!)...and how many of those have we got, ladies???!!!

          Thanks for writing back, Jeanette

          Edited 3/13/2003 10:31:41 PM ET by Jeanette

          1. kai230 | | #5

            Like we all have time for yet another hobby LOL! I love dried flowers but never did anything more than air dry or press in a book. I'm not sure, but it seems that drying is sometimes different from preserving?? Lots of info out there. Google is one of my fave tools.

          2. JeanetteR | | #6


            Yes it's wonderful the Google search engines are incredibly impressive , silly me, I thought this was too esoteric to even try.  There is so much out there, and so much quicker and thorough than wading through books at the library for just an enquiry.

            Sometimes I still can't seem to trace what I want, the answers are only as good as the question, ie while searching for hummingbird pictures for my embroidery, I was trying ...graphics, pictures, gallery,  illustrations...everything except hummingbirds + photos which later gave the best results!  I need to learn those Boolean logic limiters to get better results or something.

            Do you live in America?   Keep hoping DH will go for a work trip to bring me back a nice standard lamp Ott-Lite, my wish list for last Christmas and birthday!

          3. kai230 | | #7

            I need to learn those Boolean logic limiters to get better results or something.

            Jeanette, it still often depends on whether or not the web designer has programmed the words or phrase on which you seach. Still in infancy IMO.

            Do you live in America?   Keep hoping DH will go for a work trip to bring me back a nice standard lamp Ott-Lite, my wish list for last Christmas and birthday!

            Yes, I'm in San Diego. I will have to investigate the Ott-Lite. I will google, but if you answer first, I'm guessing it might be a full-spectrum type? If you can't find it where you are, I'll be happy to hunt it out for you.

          4. sewshable1 | | #8

            I did mine last fall just as they turned that purply-green color- I put them in a vase on the table with a little water-not touching the stems- And enjoyed them as a big bouquet while they dried. I got the instructions from a forum-I didn't believe they would work-but they did! The flowers never changed in the way they looked-I finally had to touch them to believe they were really dry-they looked just the same. So I have been able to enjoy this bouquet all winter!

          5. JeanetteR | | #9


            Yes, the Ott-Lites are those top of the range daylight lamps for fine craft work.  They are made in the States, or at least the Company is based there.  You can get only about 2models here, more like flourescent lamps on anglepoise necks, but when I emailed the company they have plans in 2003 to expand the range to include 240volts.  So at present the ones sold here must either be used with an adaptor or be retro-fitted for the local 240 volt power supply.

            The one I'd like is the Lexington floor model, par excellence!!.  It is very kind of you to search, but the other problem is our poor Aussie $, (about 55cents US to our $1, volatile because of the impending war) and the extremely hefty mail charges from the States to here.  Then to add insult to injury anything over about $100, especially if it's mail order with the price label printed on the outside, can attract customs duties, then they have the cheek to slug GST on top of the entire number you first thought of  inclusive of customs (like a local goods and Services ie sales tax)....so the only way affordable without a mortgage (only joking!) would be for someone to actually bring it in their luggage.  Hence the business trip idea.

            Peter, my DH went to Anaheim a couple of times for electronics engineering conferences, and drove down to San Diego, on his way to Tijuana, but he didn't go into Mexico as he'd unfortuntely left this passport at the hotel and thought the paperwork and explaining would be about impossible once he saw the security.  Since we had the twins (3) he doesn't travel as much.  He was surpised how far it was to San Diego!

            It's funny writing this I have to keep going to give him a hand with them they're still not in bed, and Eleanor just had a gold star to put on the calendar (toilet training).

            Lovely chatting again, Jeanette

            PS what does IMO mean, please?

            PPS which trpe of queries do you find work best with which search engines, and which are your favourites?

            Edited 3/14/2003 3:24:34 AM ET by Jeanette

            Edited 3/14/2003 3:37:45 AM ET by Jeanette

          6. kai230 | | #10

            Jeanette, IMO = In My Opinion (IMHO = in my humble opinion, IMNSHO = in my not so humble opinion).

            Maybe if we bombed you your economy would pick up! Just kidding!

            He was surpised how far it was to San Diego!

            It's not that it's so far, it just takes so LONG! (25 mph during rush "hour"; rush "hour" is 6-9am, and 3-6pm)

            I haven't done many advanced searches except when I was programming in SQL, but I try to think like an indexer--what key words would I use--and start w/those terms. As google and other search engines get more refined, and as web designers use key words more effectively, searching will get easier.

            If you can give us a phrase you searched on, for which you did not get the answer you desired, I bet some of us could come up w/some optional phrasing. So far, I haven't found an engine more efficient than google. Here's a test: search google for search engines, then enter your name in each engine and see what comes up! I still have a defunct addy listed in one engine.

            BTW (By The Way--oh, and you can search google for chat acronyms to get a truckload of these), if you can preserve any of the blue colors, I'd be interested in purchasing some paper w/embedded petals, or a full bloom!

          7. JeanetteR | | #11

            Hello again,

            Well, when you don't get an answer one way... one thing I was searching for when embroidering my stumpwork clock was nice fonts for Arabic not Roman clock numerals, I tried every single possible combination of words.  Eventually a book about antique clocks from the library had exactly the thing, then played around with photcopies to get the right size for just  the 3, 6, 9, and 12, with black bugle beads for the other 'notches', as it had become visually very crowded.

            The next problem was the hands I'd purchased wer too long, then searching for clock hands...eventually the dear horologist in residence at the local Seiko suppliers sent me some, after being switched through half the company (too hard basket!)

            Then the quartz mechanism was losing 1 1/2 hrs a day, so had to replace it.  A german distributor fromoff the internet was supposed to send a catologue way back from November, so gave up hearing from them.  It had sounded as if Hemle movements were the best quality.  Was all set to order from Norkro USA, when someone told me about a fine woodwork tool company locally, and was able to get a replacement made in USA for only $7.70 Aus.  So word of mouth won hands down over the internet! 

            The other one I spent hrs on was suppliers of silk damask (see previous thread, under Supplies in this forum)....one this one I'm still pending, hoping the suppliers of the original kit will buy more and just sell me 20cms across the width!

            So gosh you can spend AGES checking all the sites, but the quality of the answers depends on the questions!

            Brian the framer is coming next week for the clock and a few other embroideries, the clock was finished in September!

          8. kai230 | | #12

            So word of mouth won hands down over the internet! 

            WOM is always the best, even tho' sometimes it, too, fails.

            The other one I spent hrs on was suppliers of silk damask (see previous thread, under Supplies in this forum)....one this one I'm still pending, hoping the suppliers of the original kit will buy more and just sell me 20cms across the width!

            Silk, oh silk, I will seek out your Supplies thread!

            So gosh you can spend AGES checking all the sites, but the quality of the answers depends on the questions!

            In fact, I'm looking for just such a job LOL! When in doubt, I always turn to librarians for hints. They never fail to turn me on to a new resource.

          9. JeanetteR | | #13

            I hope that libraries will always have their place, nothing like a good book.  Our local library is excellent, though a branch, they have a great selection, and can order anything else in.  Th ereally good thing is that I can make 'suggestions for purchase', which they almost inevitably buy!  Then you don't even have to pay a reservation fee.  Especially for fiction which you're unlikely to read twice.  So when I notice another Donna Leon, Elizabeth George, Sara Paretsky, Dorothy Dunnett, they always get them as they have all the ones in the previous series!  But of a lurk!

            Do you know, I think it would be heaven being someone's research assistant.  touch typing would help.

            We read a lot to our babies(3) , and they have squillions of books.  We go to pre-school storytime at the library too.  This has to be the starting point for literacy.  James knows all his numbers and letters

            Have you heard of Wendy Shoen and Lillie McAnge, they are American embroidery teachers.  They are teaching classes in an embroidery conference I'm booked for in September in Adelaide, South Australia.

          10. kai230 | | #14

            Wow, thanks for all the book/author recommendations!

            squillions of books -- I love this phrase!

            James knows all his numbers and letters

            Woohoo! How fun! Does he like the James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree poem by Milne?

            Hope you will report back on the embroidery classes.

          11. JeanetteR | | #16

            Do you know I hadn't tried him on the james morrison Weatherby poem, and we have All of the AA Milne stories in one volume, or in a slipcase of four.  Thanks!  The twins just love all the Hairy McLary(dog) and Slinky Malinki(cat) stories that are in verse from Lynley Dodd, and New Zealander, and can fill in the last word or more from each line.  The rhyme really helps them to remember.  Reading lots of stories really helps build their vocabularies. You hear the phrases from certain books creep into their play, like 'sad and contrite', and 'he was delighted', from the Sad Story of Henry, etc. from the Thomas the Tank Engine range.

            Squillions, well it seems that way when James decides he's looking for a particular one or from sheer naugtiness pulls them all off the shelf onto the floor.  Luckily the other bookshelf in their room requires a clamber up the drawers of the built-in so they generally only come down with one or two of the ones we read them at bedtimes.  The ones that are for later are there too, including the winnie the pooh ones.

            Ok, will report back on the Beating About the Bush conference if you think it would be of interest!

          12. rjf | | #15

            Ah-ha! Someone else reads Dorothy Dunnett!  I got the last two of the Francis Crawford Lymond series for Christmas and am halfway through the fifth one.  Sometimes I think she's writing for the movies with her action scenes and her hero sounds as if he looks like Lord Peter Whimsey.  I like the elaborate description of the palaces and castles and clothing.  Elizabeth George is wonderful too in a very different way.  If you're looking for a another author, do you read Robert Tanenbaum?  His main characters are an assistant district attorney in NYC and his wife, who runs a protection agency (or did; now she's training Neapolitan mastiffs as guard dogs).  And to connect this message to this site, I learned to knit and and read simultaneously after I found a bookstand to hold the book.  But only stockinette.   rjf

          13. JeanetteR | | #17


            Oh I love the way you niftily connected back to the Threads raison d'etre at the end!

            How clever to knit and read at the same time, with your book holder.  I can knit and watch tele, and for all but cables and fairisle can knit without looking.  Rib is quite easy along with stocking stitch to not look.  Haven't done any knitting for a while since discovering embroidery in a big way in  February 2002, so it's two winters since any knitting was done.  It is more of a winter sport, too hot to hold the wool in summer don't you think?  that's when I read.

            Oh yes, Dorothy Dunnet is a great read, though from starting the Niccolo series and now, something seems to have been lost as the series has taken a long time to write.  I still have the Lymond series to start.  King Hereafter has been borrowed 2 or 3 times from the library, but never got beyond the first few pages.  Depends on your mood at the time.  Another series that has great factional writing, all known facts about the times and persons thrown in is Colleen McCulloch's First Man in Rome series, she's just finished the sixth and last.  Wonderful.  Another series with lots of historical research was the Hornblowers.  Speaking for myself, a book has to be written well with well-constructed sentences etc to be enjoyable, with the narrative disappearing into the plot.  One I was reccommended by a friend to read lately was Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel, but the author's voice intruded too much into the 'present time' of the book.

            Back to the knitting - Madame Defarge could have written a thing or two about the politics of the French Revolution, mabe deftly combined with her favourite knitting patterns and started a whole new genre, a bit like those 'buy a wrecked house in France or Italy and learn the local cooking' sort of books I always fall for!

            Happy knitting stitching sewing and reading everyone.

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