How to Dry Carnations

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Things You'll Need

  • Silica gel

  • Microwave oven


Silica gel is available in craft stores or online. You can reuse silica gel after it’s completely cooled. If you don’t have a microwave, you can put the carnations in an air-tight container of silica gel and let them slowly dry for about a week. Dried baby’s breath (or gypsophilia) is a popular flower to use with carnations.


Use caution when working with hot materials. Do not eat silica gel, or leave it where small children could get into it. Do not use the glass dish for food after you’ve used it for drying flowers.

Carnations are beautiful, frilly flowers that come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. They're fairly inexpensive and easy to find in flower shops and grocery store floral departments, or you can grow them at home. Drying carnations preserves them so that you can put them in arrangements or wreaths, or even wedding bouquets, and use them as decorations all year long. Carnations are a bit more delicate than some flowers, so rather than hanging them up to dry, you'll want to dry them using silica gel.

Prepare Carnations for Drying

Step 1

Choose the brightest colors of carnations, since the blooms will loose some of their color during drying.

Step 2

Pick carnations that are close to full bloom, or not quite fully open, for drying. Avoid using carnations that are already wilting.

Step 3

Select more carnations than you need for your project in case some of them become damaged during drying.

Step 4

Cut the stems short enough to fit in your container.

Step 5

Cut off any leaves or side stems.

Dry the Carnations

Step 1

Cover the bottom of a microwave-safe glass dish with 1 to 2 inches silica gel.

Step 2

Place about three carnations in the dish, blossom side up, without letting the flowers touch each other.

Step 3

Cover the carnations with silica gel, working carefully to avoid crushing the blossoms. Make sure to let the silica gel fall between the petals to completely cover the carnations.

Step 4

Place the dish with the silica gel and carnations in the microwave. Place a cup of water (in a microwave safe container) in the back corner of the microwave.

Step 5

Microwave the carnations for about 3 minutes. (The time may vary depending on the type of microwave and the size and condition of the carnations.)

Step 6

Remove the dish from the microwave using oven mitts. Let the container cool completely.

Step 7

Remove the dried carnations from the silica gel, gently brushing them off. Dried carnations are fragile, so handle them with care.

Kate Lee

Kate Lee's how-to articles have been published in "Sew Simple," "Craft Stylish" and "Soft Dolls & Animals" magazines. She has been sewing for more than 20 years and has a master's degree in technical writing.