make your own: dried flower garland.

August 22, 2018

dried flower garland | zero-waste décor | reading my tea leaves

If you’ve yet to pass a quiet hour stringing flowers this summer, consider this your encouragement. There will be long winter evenings aplenty for knitting or card playing or scrolling absently through Instagram, but the season for stringing bright blossoms onto small strings is now. Late summer and early fall bring all of the best drying flowers—gomphrena, and strawflowers, and marigolds, and brilliant celosia of all sorts—which means that if you string them up now, you’ll have lasting colorful flowers straight on through winter. These late summer beauties started showing up at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago and last week they made their way to my favorite corner bodega flower stand. When even the bodega is stocking a seasonal bloom, you know it’s time to give into temptation.dried flower garland | zero-waste décor | reading my tea leaves
For my part, I’m especially hopeless in the face of cheerful gomphrena. Every August I’m compelled to bring home weekly bunches from the farmer’s market and stick the colorful—or not—pompoms around the apartment. They don’t last a terribly long time in water, but when I saw a friend post an image of a beautiful gomphrena-filled garland she found at a farmers’ market, and a day later I noticed a fresh load coming into the bodega, I scooped up a few big bunches to save for drying myself.dried flower garland | zero-waste décor | reading my tea leaves
I snipped the heads off the stems while they were still fresh and strung them into garlands on thin 100-percent cotton bakers twine. I’d say this is about the thickest string you’d want to use, but feel free to experiment. Any regular old thread you have hanging around your sewing kit would work well, too, just remember that it needs to be a natural fiber if you’re hoping to eventually compost your garland.dried flower garland | zero-waste décor | reading my tea leaves
I decided to leave some leaves on, but remember they’ll crisp up more readily than the flowers, so even though they look pretty while fresh, too many might result in a slightly crumbly garland.dried flower garland | zero-waste décor | reading my tea leaves

I found it easiest to train my needle on center of the blossom and push straight through the middle. Every once in a while you might come across a flower that crumbles under the stress, but in general the gomphrena is hardy and forgiving.dried flower garland | zero-waste décor | reading my tea leaves

As the flowers dry, the garlands lose a bit of their fluff and a bit of their color, but not so much that it will drastically change the look. (And don’t forget: When eventually you do tire of this bit of décor, the best part about it is you can put it directly into the compost.)dried flower garland | zero-waste décor | reading my tea leaves

I like the garlands hung vertically, but of course bunting-style swags or loops or anything you like is what you should do. dried flower garland | zero-waste décor | reading my tea leaves

These purple blossoms satisfied a certain purple-loving someone in our house, but you can also find lovely rust-colored gomphrena and you wouldn’t be wrong to include any of the other good drying flowers mentioned above.dried flower garland | zero-waste décor | reading my tea leaves

There you have it, a pleasant way to pass an extra hour if you have one, and the very lovely bonus of bright summer flowers that stick around long after the season fades. 

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  • Reply Mefi Alapat August 22, 2018 at 10:14 am

    What a neat idea.

  • Reply Alexis August 22, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Beautiful. I’d like to do this for my wedding at the end of September! How long would you say they would last, so I can gauge when to start?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 22, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      I’d make one now and watch as it dries to see how dried you like it to be! Don’t want to miss the growing season, but I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed by any changes over time!

    • Reply Ali Enza September 13, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      That sounds like such a beautiful idea! I bet it will look lovely!

  • Reply Ann August 22, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    It’s very beautiful

  • Reply Danielle August 22, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    What a lovely idea! Great way to preserve summer colors – thank you!!

  • Reply Maryann August 24, 2018 at 9:53 am

    I am a total sucker for gomphrena! Love the bright colors and compact flower. I still have my dried bunch from last summer. It’s amazing how long the color lasts. Thanks for the reminder to go look for it at our farmer’s market tomorrow. 🙂

  • Reply Jane August 27, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Great idea! I love DIY stuff to decorate my room with!

  • Reply Sharon September 3, 2018 at 4:10 am


  • Reply Stephanie September 16, 2018 at 12:40 am

    Hi there! I’ve tried desperately to find Gomphrena in bulk in Vancouver (Canada). Any suggestions on how to find these besides reaching out to local florists?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 16, 2018 at 6:27 pm

      I think that’s the way to do it! Or visit your local flower market!

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