The flowers in our backyards are usually so glorious that we feel the need to bring them inside. Unfortunately, they tend to wither and fade very soon after being cut. If you’re disappointed that they don’t last long after being brought into your home, you're not alone. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help keep them around for a longer period of time.

One of the most popular preservation methods involves dipping cut flowers into paraffin or soy wax. This allows them to retain their beauty for a whole week (or longer) while still looking completely natural. Here's what you'll need to dip your own flowers:

Items You’ll Need

paraffin wax

The first and most important thing you'll need is the wax itself. You’ll want to invest in either paraffin or soy wax. Paraffin wax will require a double boiler to melt, while soy wax only requires a microwave and a microwaveable container. To keep an eye on the temperature, you'll find it helpful to have a thermometer on hand.

Stir sticks or spoons can also be helpful here, as you can use them to stir the wax as it melts. Just remember that you probably won’t want to use these spoons for cooking afterward. Additionally, you'll need to have a newspaper or another covering nearby, since dipping the flowers can be a messy business. Just make sure it's big enough to cover your entire work area. Finally, you’ll need a container that will keep the flowers standing straight up and, of course, the flowers themselves.

Picking the Right Flowers

You'll want to be very selective when choosing the flowers for this project. Look for blooms that are in their prime and fully open. When it comes to preserved flowers, fresher is better. If a flower only has a couple of wilted leaves or petals, you can still go ahead and preserve it. Simply strip off the bad pieces before you dip them. Overall, you only want to preserve the best of the best.

Prepare the Wax

preparing the wax

The best way to prepare your wax is by carefully following the instructions on its package. Keep in mind that cutting your wax into smaller pieces can help it melt quicker and more evenly. Soy wax often comes in smaller portions as is, so that’s another benefit of opting for that one.

You want your wax to be hot enough that it’ll stay liquid and stick to each flower but not so hot that it’ll scorch them. Shoot for a temperature of about 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dipping Technique

dipping a flower

The container you use to hold your wax should be more of a cylinder than a circle. Try to get your hands on a large soup container or a tall tin can. It's a good idea to try out the container before adding the wax in to make sure your blooms will fit. When being dipped, they should go into the wax smoothly without rubbing against the walls of the container.

Take each flower by the stem and gently dip it into the wax, only applying enough force to make sure that the entire flower is immersed. Bring the flower out of the wax, and twirl it slowly. Rotating it will help spread the wax all over the flower petals and cause any excess to drip off. Once you’re satisfied with how the wax has spread and you've removed all the excess, place the flower into the appropriate container with the bloom facing upwards. This action helps keep the petals open as they dry. Make sure that your surface covering is under these flowers, as excess wax will continue to drip off of them as they dry.

If you’d prefer a thicker coating, you can always dip your blooms a second time after they've dried. Be sure to give them a little while before dipping them again to prevent any damage to the first coat of wax. Once they're completely dry, you can arrange them as you’d like.

Potential Uses

Preserved flowers are great for family gatherings, weddings, birthday parties, and even beautiful everyday centerpieces.

Keep in mind that the wax may melt depending on the outdoor temperature. Paraffin will melt at about 99 degrees Fahrenheit, while soy waxes have a much higher melting range. It can be a good idea to check the packaging for the melting point before dipping your flowers, especially if they're going to be used for a summer wedding.

Preserving your flowers with wax is a great way to keep them around for longer periods of time. At first glance, it may seem hard to protect your garden’s flowery harvest, but once you get the hang of it, waxed flowers will surely help you brighten any situation.

All images courtesy of wikiHow.