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Preserving flowers with Borax

by on Feb 7, 2007

Hi all! This is my first “how-to” post, so let me know what you think.

As a part of my job, I work with 20 Mule Team Borax, and while most people know it’s great for laundry and cleaning, it can pull a couple other pretty unique tricks! The one I like the most is preserving flowers. When using borax to preserve flowers, you dry them out but are able to keep the shape and look, in contrast to air drying, which causes flowers to wrinkle up a bit. It’s cheap, easy and is worth a shot to see how you like it.

Here’s a quick lesson, complete with glamour shot pictures and helpful tips (such as how to avoid the mistakes I made when trying it the first time! 🙂

1. Pick a flower. From my experience, it’s a little harder to do dainty flowers such as the ones in the pictures. That’s because you need to cover the entire flower with borax, and if the flowers have delicate little petals, it’s easy to accidently crush them them under the weight.

2. Lay down a layer of borax on the bottom of a small cardboard/shoe box. Gently place the flowers on the bottom of the box and then sweep/sprinkle the borax into the petals. You want to slowly build up layer by layer so that the flower keeps its shape. The first time I did this, I made the mistake of laying the flowers down and just letting the sandy borax tumble on top, and I ended up crushing the petals! Yeah, my mom thought that was a funny story, too.

3. Gently let the borax coat the rest of the flower. You want to bury it but I’m not talking about “dinosaur fossils in Montana” buried. Just enough so that there are no air gaps around it.

A person's arm going into cardboard box filled with flower next to a roll of wide tape, a pair of scissors and a little vase with tall pink flowers in it.

4. Once you’ve got the flowers covered, seal them up in the box and place them someplace they won’t get disturbed. This takes about seven to 10 days, depending on your preference and own experiences. When that magic days comes, gently remove borax from the flower so you can easily pull it out. You can brush off the remaining sandy minerals with a delicate brush, and if desired, you can glue any broken petals or leaves back in place.

A person placing a flower in a cardboard box filled with borax to preserve it.

And that’s it! Good luck, and let me know how this works for you. Also, how does this compare to other methods?

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  1. I have quickly grown to adore borax, in my 31 years on this earth i had never heard of it and now that i have found it i use it for everything! My best friend died and her fiance bought her some absolutely stunning flowers. I will definitely be using this to preserve them. Is there a helpful hint on the very delicate flowers? I really want to do this right to be able to put them with her urn. Thank you for paying this!

  2. I have dried flowers from my nieces wedding boquet & I’m ready to arrange them.  I’m going to use an airtight glass bowl with a little borax in the bottom.  Do you have any ideas for a spray or something to make them sturdier.  I did cut the stems off, but was wondering if I should set in the borax or use foam to hold the arrangement.  Any ideas would be helpful.  Thanks