Drying roses with this method is fairly easy, and they turn out beautiful. Mine usually are mistaken for being freeze dried roses. First you’ll need a microwave safe bowl, one big enough that the entire rose will fit completely into. Next you’ll need silica gel, which can be purchased at a craft store. Silica gel is a granule-based substance, similar to the texture of sugar, which pulls moisture out of objects. It usually has blue “indicator” crystals in the gel showing you how much water has been absorbed.
Cut the rose about 1/4 inch or so from the actual rose flower. This is perfect length for use in a wreath. If you need a longer stem for an arrangement, you’ll need to use floral tape and wrap a floral wire to it to create a stem. It is best to cut the rose late morning after all the dew is totally dry. Harvest the rose as it is in the early stage of full bloom. You don’t want it at the point that is has fully opened wide.
Put about 1/2 inch or so of silica gel into the bottom of the bowl. Set the short stem of the rose into the gel. Begin slowly with a spoon to fill the bowl totally around the outside of the rose. Then gently sprinkle the gel onto the top of the rose. The gel will begin to work its way into some of the layers of the petals. Finally take the silica gel and completely cover the rose. At this point the rose should be fully buried in the silica gel.
Microwaves vary on their power, but as a starting point put the bowl in, and set the microwave on the lowest setting and microwave for 2 minutes. This is the part that you’ll need to tweak with by experimenting with your particular microwave.
Let the rose sit in the silica gel for about 3 hours or so. After that time gently dump the silica and the rose into another container to get the rose out. Take a soft artists’ paintbrush and gently brush off the silica gel that you can. Take a clothespin and clip the bottom of the rose stem, with a wire to the clothespin, and hang the rose upside down for a few days in a darkened room preferably. This will finish drying the rose completely.
Take the soft paintbrush again and brush off any remaining crystals. Your rose is now ready for use. Roses will change color some from fresh to this dried state. Some of the discolorations will be for the good; some will be not so good. It depends on the rose variety. Try different ones and you’ll soon find your favorites. If you rose turns out brown however, it’s because you micro waved either at too high of a
setting or too long or both, and it literally cooked. Back those down and try again.
When the silica gel crystals start to turn a pink color, put the silica in a baking pan and cook for 1/2 hour or so according to directions in the oven until the indicators turn blue again. This evaporates the water in the crystals so they can be used again.
Valerie Garner, mother and proud grandma.