Want to preserve your rose petals so they last happily ever after? If you want petals from special bouquets (like your wedding bouquet!) to last forever, all you have to is dry out the flower petals! It's easier than you think. Here, we'll show you how to dry rose petals in six different ways.
First, there are a couple of tips that apply to all rose petal drying methods: Start with high-quality roses. Choosing big, beautiful roses that have a smell great and rich, bright colors will typically result in beautiful dried petals.
Also, when it comes to removing the petals, here's the trick: lightly grab the petals near their base and pluck quickly to remove them. You can also use scissors to snip the petals off as close to the base as possible!
Without further adieu, here are six ways to dry rose petals.
1. Air Dry Your Rose Petals
Air drying is an easy, effective, and natural way to dry your rose petals. It will require your attention to regularly turn the petals and monitor progress, so plan your time accordingly.
- Place Petals on Dry Screen Prepare the petals for drying by evenly spacing them out over a thin screen. Leave a small space between each petal to allow room for air to dry them.
Place Petals in Sunlight and Open, Warm Air
Find a sunny, warm space to place the drying tray. Be sure the area is well-ventilated, with open air to allow proper drying.
Turn Petals Regularly
Return to the tray to turn your rose petals regularly. This will ensure that each petal dries evenly on both sides, and will encourage the petals to lay more flat.
- Remove Dried Petals Once the petals appear dry, remove them from the tray and place them in a proper storage container. You’re done!
2. Dehydrate the Rose Petals
Using a dehydrator to dry rose petals is a great option that requires a bit less effort and attention than air drying, as long as you trust your dehydrator. It may be a good idea to do a small test run in order to perfect the time and process for your machine.
- Place Petals on Dehydrator Rack
Distribute rose petals evenly across your dehydrator rack(s). Be sure there is a small space between each petal to prevent them from drying unevenly or sticking together.
- Set Dehydrator to Low Setting
Place the trays into the dehydrator and adjust it to its lowest setting. Drying times depend on the machine you’re using, so it’s important to keep an eye on them - it could take a few hours or a whole day.
- Allow Petals to Dry Completely
Check the petals regularly to ensure that they dry to the level you desire (you don’t want them to burn, so watch closely). Once completely dried, remove them from the machine and you’re done.
3. Roast the Petals in a Conventional Oven
The conventional oven is another great method for drying rose petals at home. With many home ovens having multiple rack options, you can typically place your petals on multiple levels for drying. Just be sure to watch closely and rotate often.
- Place Petals on a Baking Sheet
Evenly space your rose petals across a standard baking or cookie sheet. You may choose to use multiple sheets in order to dry more rose petals.
- Preheat Oven to 180°
Preheat your oven to between 180°. Some ovens are more reliable than others, so be sure to monitor the rose petals and their condition rather than concentrating too much on the temperature.
- Heat Petals for 10-30 Minutes
Place the sheets of rose petals into the oven. Start with a minimal time — in the 10 minute range — to determine how the rose petals will do in your oven. If you have multiple levels, we suggest keeping them at a low setting and rotating them once for every 10 minutes.
- Check Regularly for Crisp Petals
Continuously monitor your rose petals in the oven. Once they appear dry or feel slightly crisp to the touch, it’s time to remove them. Keep in mind that leaving them in the oven too long will result in very crisp, even burned rose petals — but if that’s the look you’re going for and you’re willing to watch closely, go for it.
4. Microwave the Rose Petals
The microwave oven offers a unique, high-tech method for drying rose petals. Since most people have a microwave oven in their kitchen at home, this is a fun and convenient option that will dry your rose petals in less than a minute.
- Cover a Microwave-Safe Plate in Paper Towels
Start by selecting a large microwave-safe plate, then covering it with paper towels.
- Place Petals on a Covered Plate
Once the plate is covered with paper towels, it’s time to evenly space rose petals across the plate’s covered surface. Be sure to give each petal enough room to dry, so they don’t stick together or become mushy.
- Cover the Petals with a Layer of Paper Towels and an Additional Plate
Use another layer of paper towels to completely cover all the petals on the plate. Then place another large plate over the top, to cover the bottom plate and rose petals.
- Microwave for 30-40 Seconds
Put the plate in the microwave. Use a normal power setting and zap the petals for 30-40 seconds. If your microwave tray does not rotate, we recommend rotating the plate of rose petals at the midway point.
- Check for Crisp Petals
Once time is up, check the rose petals to ensure they’ve dried to your preferred level. If necessary, you can cook for additional intervals to obtain the dry texture you prefer.
5. Press the Rose Petals in a Book
Using a book to dry flowers is the classic, low-effort method for drying rose petals. This is a "set it and forget it" option that is perfect if you don't need the dried rose petals in a hurry.
- Place Petals on Interior Page of Large Book
Start by evenly spacing rose petals across the pages of a large book. We suggest using books with coarse pages rather than a glossy finish as the paper material tends to absorb moisture better.
- Close The Book Carefully With Petals Inside
Once the petals are in place, slowly and carefully close the book to ensure the petals stay in place for drying. You may try to dry petals between multiple pages of the same book, but we suggest limiting the number a bit - and you should space the pages out a bit. Be sure to bookmark the section of the book where your petals are drying!
- Allow the Book to Sit for 2-3 Weeks
Lay the book flat and allow the petals to dry in the pages for two to three weeks. If you’d like to give your petals a flattened look, place a heavy object on top of the book to compress the petals while they dry.
- Carefully Remove the Dried Rose Petals
After your chosen time period has passed, remove the dried petals from your book pages.
6. Freeze Dry Rose Petals
Another way to go is freeze-drying — this one, however, is best left to the professionals. The process (called lyophilization) involves extracting all moisture from the petals and actually bringing the flowers' temperature to below freezing.
Once you’ve finished drying your rose petals, be sure to store them in moisture-free glass jars or enclosed metal containers that avoid moisture. Keep them out of sunlight to avoid further bleaching the color.