DIY Wedding Bouquet Preserving
Using Silica Gel Flower Drying Crystals
A few weeks before my sister’s wedding she came to me and asked if I would take her bouquet and try to find a way to preserve it. She had been searching online and just couldn’t fathom the price tags for a professional service. She sent me a few options of what she liked but more or less told me to do whatever I wanted or what I thought was best.
So leading up to the wedding, while trying to put maid of honor speech nerves aside, I watched easily 10 hours of youtube/blog/TikTok videos looking for ideas. Everything from book pressed wedding bouquet to epoxy pours. In the end I settled on just using the silica gel crystals to dry the flowers. Using the crystals holds the flowers in their true state keeps them very realistic, like the day they were carried down the isle. Until this point I had never heard of silica gel crystals, so to describe it – it is basically like fancy sand. The sand absorbs the moisture from the flowers while holding them in their fixed state.
The sand absorbs the moisture from the flowers while holding them in their fixed state.
This by no means is a cost effective option to bouquet preserving; well when compared to some professional services it may be. The silica gel crystals are not cheap and it does take a lot of the crystals.. a lot more than I anticipated. I spent a total of $130.96 on 23 pounds of silica gel. I had ordered some in advance from Amazon and then had to make a mad dash to Michael’s to buy more!
That said, the results are truly stunning! Also, I found this method to be relatively easy. Though I will admit I was beyond nervous about destroying my sister bouquet, regardless of how many times she reassured me she wouldn’t be upset if I did.
Step 1: Steal your Sister's Bouquet!
Seriously though, grab that bouquet of flowers. The day after Rachel’s wedding I was very anxious to get started on drying out her flowers. I had thought I needed to place everything in the crystals that very day to truly preserve it.
This is where I made my first mistake, you do not have to break down the entire bouquet at once! In fact, I would say this step is to assess the bouquet. Assess the flowers, pull out ones that are in full bloom or won’t remain in bloom for long but let the others continue to open up. Do a check daily and pull them once they reach their peak bloom.
Lucky for me I was sent home with several large vases of wedding flowers, so I was able to pull some extras after they really bloomed. Even though some had just barely bloomed, all the flowers from Rachel’s bridal bouquet were placed in the final product!
Step 2: Break apart the Bouquet and Trim the Flowers.
This step will be done over several days as I shared above to allow the flowers to really bloom and open. Once you have allowed the flowers to reach peak bloom pull them from the bouquet and trim the stems to about 1/4″ below the flower. This small stem will be very helpful when you go to pull them out of the crystal.
Step 3: Pour a layer of Silica Gel Crystals into Plastic Bins.
Add a small layer of the crystals to the bottom of your plastic bins. This will act as a base, or a pillow for your flowers.
Step 4: Add the Flowers to the Bins
Some flowers you will place stem down into the pillow of crystals. Other flowers, like hydrangeas or daisies, you will want to hold suspended above the crystal as you pour the additional silica beads all around.
Step 5: Gently Cover the Flowers in Crystals
For this step, I decided to use my hands so I was sure to put on some rubber gloves and work in a well ventilated space when touching the silica gel. I held handfuls of the gel crystals and let a slow stream of it run through. This method let me control the direction and ensure I was able to get in between each pedal and all around the flowers.
Step 6: Check Flowers & Remove from Silica Gel Crystal once dried out
Different flowers will dry at different rates. I decided to check my flowers every about 3 days. The hydrangeas dried out much faster than the roses.
Once the flowers reach that more crunchy state, I removed them from the gel crystals and placed them in a bin to protect them until all the other parts of the bouquet dried out. You do not want to leave the flowers in the gel crystals too long, this will make the flowers far to brittle and very difficult to handle.
I was absolutely in love with how well the hydrangeas dried out! Can you even tell they are dry in that picture!? I promise you they are!
Step 7: Reassemble Bouquet in a Shadow Box
I decided to make an my own shadow box – full write up of how I made the box here! I wanted something wooden without that plastic-look finish. This was simply my preference! I have linked a couple options that can be purchased.
I started by just placing the greenery and flowers in the shadow box as a dry fit (no glue). Once I placed the different flowers where I liked them I took several pictures so that I could remember the placement. Then I picked up each flower and each piece of greenery, one bit at a time.
I used a hot glue gun to reassemble and hold all the flowers in place. I started by placing most of the greenery layer into place, then the baby’s breath, then the more outter edge flowers, and lastly adding the flowers throughout.
Step 8: Seal and Close Shadow Box
Whether you are using a store bought shadow box or on you’ve made yourself, I’d recommend sealing the front from to the box itself. This will minimize any air, dust, or dander making its way into your box and effecting your bouquet. I used liquid nails around the edged of the box and then placed the front frame on top. I used clamps to hold everything tight until it dried.
Preserving Wedding Bouquet Links
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DIY Preserving Wedding Bouquet
- Hot Glue Gun
- Silica Gel Flower Drying Crystals
- Plastic Bins with Lids
- Hot Glue Sticks
- Shadow Box
- Rubber Gloves
- Get a Bouquet
- Break apart the Bouquet and Trim the Flowers
- Pour a layer of Silica Gel Crystals into Plastic Bins
- Add the Flowers to the Bins
- Gently Cover the Flowers in Crystals
- Check Flowers & Remove from Silica Gel Crystal once Dried
- Reassemble Bouquet in a Shadow Box
- Seal and Close Shadow Box