Evergreen branches, such as those from fir or pine trees, are common in wreaths and other holiday flower arrangements. Preserving the live branches will allow you to enjoy them for months or years to come. The easiest way to preserve a foliage branch such as evergreen is to air dry it. This method avoids the use of dessicants like sand or silica, which may knock off needles during the preservation process.
Use sharp shears to cut the branches off the tree in the mid-afternoon, when the moisture content of the branches is at its lowest level. This will decrease the amount of drying time needed to preserve the branches. Collect twice as many branches as you need for your project.
Bunch the branches together in groups of two or three. Wrap the ends of the bunches in a rubber band to secure them together. Hang the bunches from a nail in a dry, cool, dark location such as a closet or garage.
Leave the evergreen branches on the nail to dry for three weeks. Take the bunches down and spray the branches and needles with hairspray. The hairspray provides a protective coating for the foliage and helps keep the parts intact.
Remove the rubber bands and separate the bunches. They are now ready for use.