How to Preserve a Flower Lei. Hawaiian leis are one of the most recognizable images in Hawaii. Preserving them is straightforward once you get the flowers home. However, keeping the lei fresh until then can be tricky since there are many types of flowers used to make leis. Each Hawaiian bloom requires different treatment to maintain freshness. It's important to keep the lei from wilting in order to preserve them correctly.
Keep flowers fresh until you're ready to preserve them. Locate information on how to keep them fresh either online or from a reputable, local florist.
Place silica gel beads (about 3 to 4 cm to cover the bottom) in a glass or plastic airtight container and then place the lei carefully inside once you arrive home. Pour silica beads around the inside edges of the container, but not directly onto the flowers as that could crush them. Shake the container to gradually cover the flowers. Keep adding silica until they are covered.
Arrange the lei the way you want it to be preserved and check that the silica beads get in and around the flower petals to dry them evenly. Don't let the flowers touch each other more than absolutely necessary.
Seal the container. The process should take 1 to 2 days for the lei to dry completely, though this greatly depends on the flowers being dried. The thicker the petals, the longer it will take for them to dry. Check the lei periodically to make sure they don't over-dry and become papery.
Remove the lei carefully with a slotted spoon to support the flowers and allow the silica to remain in the container.