4 Ways to Dry Roses (So You Can Enjoy Them Forever)

Learn how to dry roses so you can appreciate their beauty and aroma for a long time.

Published January 8, 2023
Hands holding bouquet of dried roses

Whether you're doing it for purely sentimental reasons, you're feeling super crafty, or you just like flowers, learning how to dry roses is a useful skill. Preserving them is surprisingly simple, especially when you consider how beautiful dried roses are. There are several ways to dry the flowers, some of which don't require any special equipment or supplies. Drying roses allows you to extend your enjoyment of these lovely flowers indefinitely.

How to Air Dry Individual Roses

Roses drying individually on a line

Air drying is the easiest possible way to dry roses. You'll need roses, string or twine, clothespins, and some hairspray.

  1. Choose roses that have a nice shape. The blooms can be slightly open, but they shouldn't already be dropping petals.
  2. Trim the rose stems so they're at least six inches long. It's fine to keep the stems longer, which you should do if you're using a tall vase.
  3. Hang up a length of twine in a closet. The key is to use a place that's cool, fairly dark, dry, and well-ventilated.
  4. Clip the stem of each rose to the clothesline to hang the roses with the flower heads facing the ground and the stems facing the ceiling.
  5. Let them hang for three weeks, which is generally enough time for roses to dry. If they're still damp at all, let them stay as-is a little longer.
  6. Before you remove them, spray the flower heads with hairspray to help preserve them. Leave them in place for another few days to let the hairspray dry.

Gently remove the clothespins to release the flowers. Display as desired, keeping in mind that all dried flowers are delicate.

How to Airy Dry Rose Bouquets

Air-drying a bouquet of roses

You don't have to limit air drying roses to single stems. If you plan to display them as a bouquet, it's a good idea to dry them all together that way. To do this, you'll follow all the instructions above except for clipping single stems to the clothesline (step 4 above). Instead of that step:

  1. Gather rose stems together to form a bouquet in the shape you want.
  2. Bind them together by wrapping twine or a rubber band around the stems to hold them together.
  3. Use a small piece of wire or string to suspend them from the clothesline

From there, dry and spray as specified above. Since you dried the flowers together as a bouquet, it's best to display them that way. Separating them may cause damage.

How to Preserve Roses in Silica Gel

Single pink rosebud being preserved in silica gel

Drying roses in silica gel produces the most natural looking results, but it's also the most expensive option. For this approach, you'll need silica gel and an airtight container large enough to hold the roses. Expect to pay around $30 for a 5-pound bag of silica gel, which is enough to dry a small bouquet of roses.

  1. Remove the lid from your airtight container and spread the silica gel out evenly in the bottom.
  2. Use a paper towel to dab any excess water off each of your roses.
  3. One by one, gently bury each rose in the silica gel. Be sure that every part of the flower is covered.
  4. Put the lid on the container and place it in a spot where it can sit undisturbed for several days.
  5. It can take between two and seven days for your flowers to dry. You can check after a few days, but it requires uncovering the flowers. I recommend leaving them undisturbed for a week.

When the flowers are ready, gently uncover your gorgeous blooms, which will be closer to their original color than if you use the hanging method to dry them. They're still quite delicate, so be careful while arranging them for display.

How to Dry Roses Flat

Single rose dried flat in a book

Would you rather dry your roses flat? This is a great way to preserve roses for framing, scrapbooks, or to use in crafting projects. It's very easy and affordable to preserve pressed roses. You'll just need a book and some parchment paper.

  1. Select a few roses and trim the stems to be two to three inches long.
  2. Use a paper towel to dab away any moisture that's on the roses.
  3. Choose a book that's fairly large and heavy, such as a hardback novel or a textbook.
  4. Open the book and place a sheet of parchment paper so it covers both visible pages.
  5. Put the roses on the parchment paper, being sure not to overlap them at all.
  6. Close the book and leave it alone for at least 10 days.

After 10 days, open the book to reveal your lovely pressed roses. As with other types of dried roses, pressed roses are delicate. It's important to handle them with care.

Quick Tip

You can also use this technique to dry rose petals rather than entire flower heads.

What to Do With Dried Roses

Dried roses in potpourii

If you grow roses, chances are that you'll have quite a few available to dry. If that's the case, don't limit your rose drying to just a few flowers. Dried roses and rose petals can be used or displayed in many ways.

  • Make your own potpourri.
  • Add them to homemade wreaths.
  • Use them to make your own soap.
  • Display them in a shadow box.
  • Make a beautiful floral headband.
  • Use them to infuse essential oils.
  • Create decoupage trays or photo frames.
  • Fill a vase with a dried rose bouquet.

Preserve Your Roses for Posterity

You don't have to limit your enjoyment of roses to the fresh flowers. Now that you know how to dry roses, you can make the most of the flowers you grow, purchase, or receive as a gift. Have fun with this simple process and get creative with how you use the roses you preserve. Once you get started, you just might find yourself wanting to preserve fresh flowers of all kinds.

4 Ways to Dry Roses (So You Can Enjoy Them Forever)