what to do with dried flower boquets.

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I need your help. Badly. Those of you who are craftypants in your spare time, this is your chance to shine.

You know in the 90’s when dried flowers were kind of *it*? No? Well they were in Utah, and I was hot and fast on the trend. Two major milestones happened for me in the 1990’s: I was married in 1998 and in 1999 Precocious was born. No need to do the math, we were married 18 months before she showed up.


Both milestones meant there were flowers to commemorate the occasion. I saved my gorgeous wedding bouquet, let it dry as is, and have always had it in a glass vase on some bookshelf or the other for the last 12 years.


When Precocious was born Viktor brought two dozen pink roses to the hospital to celebrate. I saved those too. Only I was a little crafty with those, creating a pink rosebud topiary.


Now I’m stuck with two dusty dried flower crafts, and I have no idea what to do with either of them.

I’m not sure I can just chuck them, can I? It’s too late to do much with them, they’re crumbly as it is. I pulled them down from on top of my kitchen cabinets when we painted the kitchen and the longer I look at them the more obsolete they seem.

HELP!

Do I save them, throw ‘em out, re-purpose them into something even more fabulous? Am I becoming unsentimental in my old-ish age? Will I regret it later if I toss them in the garbage? Please, rescue me.

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Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

41 Comments

  1. Liz&Meg :

    toss 'em! my sister did the same after she was married in '98 in American Fork and felt so liberated when she tossed them a few years back after carefully trekking them around the country. they're so hard to clean!

  2. Erin O. :

    I would take a fabulous photo of each – give the images a little processing to help with the dusty/faded aspect of the flowers and frame the images.

  3. --r :

    heh. i kinda know how you feel. i've got a few red roses mixed in with my potpourri on a shelf that came from the first bouquet my husband ever sent me (back when we were first dating). they look a bit sad sitting in those dusty bowls, but i can't seem to trash 'em.
    i'll be keeping my eye on the comments for some helpful ideas.

  4. Barb @ getupandplay :

    This probably isn't helpful at this stage but might be for someone else reading.

    My sister carefully dried my bridal bouquet roses but separately. Then she glued them artfully around a monogram and put the whole thing in a shadowbox frame for me to keep forever. It doesn't look like a bouquet but it's lovely and dust-free!

  5. Myrnie :

    My mom saved flowers from her wedding bouquet and the congratulation bouquets from all five of us kids, and kept adding them to one big dried flower arrangement. It made it through about 10 moves total, over 20 years…it was never prominent in our home, but normally sat on her bedroom dresser. I loved that she cared enough to save the flowers, because she is NOT a sentimental person. For what it's worth.

  6. Girlfrog :

    Everytime you look at them are you filled with emotion at memories that they evoke? If not, toss them.

  7. Azúcar :

    My dad just found my wedding bouquet perfectly dried and in a cardboard box. I tried to chuck it and he wouldn't let me, insisted that I keep it for my kids. I gave him the one eyebrow and said FINE. So it's in a cardboard box, and it's going onto a shelf in the back of a closet so I don't have to look at it (I'm not sentimental.)

    (Keep in mind that I still want to chuck it, if the guilt wasn't crippling.)

  8. Emily :

    I vote for taking some great pictures of them and tossing them (remember you aren't throwing out the memories!). Frame the pictures or print them on canvas or something pretty/artsy/matching with your style and decor.

  9. Hirano Family :

    Love the idea of taking great pictures of them and tossing them after that.

  10. Nemesis :

    I'm with the photograph-then-toss crowd.

  11. MommyMert :

    I put mine in a framed antique window with a bunch of other dried flowers and backed it with pressed flower paper. Its beautiful and get compliments all the time. Mind you… I stole the idea from a boutique I saw.

  12. Kerry :

    I read somewhere that dead flowers are bad feng shui…but not sure if that's true or not! So I guess I'd photograph and toss or if you can't bear to do that put them in a box frame?

  13. Jenny :

    I am not sentimental, so I would take a pic and throw them out. But seeing as you've kept them this long, you would probably regret it.

    I am not crafty, so I have no idea what to do.

  14. Marianne & Clayton :

    I think it would be cool to try and spray-paint them a great unnatural color, treating them like they are a curio or something. And when that doesn't work I would throw them out. As everyone said, take a picture first of course.

    Maybe see if P wants hers.

  15. The Dragonfly :

    For an allergy ridden person like myself, those bouquets just make me want to sneeze!

    I'd keep the ribbon off the bridal bouquet if it's orignal and save it somewhere special to repurpose as your daughter's "something old" some day. Then I'd ask her if she has any sentimental feelings for the topiary that was given in honor of her birth. If so, let her have it. If not, chuck away and don't look back.

    Dried flowers remind me of grandmas.

  16. Laura Ferry-Jimenez :

    I was gonna suggest a shadow box, too! However, I am liking the photo idea. Maybe hang them in the hall or bathroom where you could see them daily. :)

    (or the ones for Precocious can be made to look all Andy Warhol-like, printed on canvas and made into hip art for her room. just a thought!)

  17. buttercup :

    I have every single rose that my husband gave me. I had your same dilemma and a couple years ago I bought a set of three apothecary jars with lids. I took the petals of the flowers and put them in the jars. They make a lovely display piece and don't get dusty and ugly. If you want I can send you photos. Our plan is to use the petals in place of rice at our daughter's weddings.

  18. Kendra :

    K first I have to say I love your blog! I am Jen Hodges Stemmons sister. She and I and Kristin W
    Presten were at Women's conference the other day and they were telling me about your awesome blog. I just started a blog myself. {I have always had a private Journal blog, but I started a fun one open to the public.} It is so fun.

    Anyway about the flowers I have had the same dilemma. I have two that look a lot like yours. I think I like the photo idea also, but to thorwo them away…urg, now I have to think about it! haha I am excited to hear what you do about it!

  19. monique :

    was it suggested yet to use them as mulch or compost around a new ALIVE plant? How cool would that be to know that something precious from your past will help nurture something for the future?!

  20. Heather HS :

    I had saved flowers from bouquets and corsages and stuff during the years I dated my husband. When we got married last year, I took the petals off the flowers and mixed them with new petals for the flower girl to throw – something old and new. It was a nice way to use them and not feel like I was throwing them away. (And from the wedding, I only saved live flowers that are now planted in the yard.)

  21. Lindsey Johnson :

    Chuck 'em. You won't miss them. I promise. I felt so liberated when I chucked all the dried flowers I'd saved from funerals, weddings, school dances, and other occasions.

    Take a picture. It lasts longer.

  22. Anne :

    I'm with team "keep the pictures, toss the flowers." The pictures that you posted are pretty nice.
    I'd put up a group of four pictures in matching distressed white frames, but that's me.
    And for some reason this reminds me of what happened to some of my wedding flowers–whoever wrapped up the top tier of our cake (for us to freeze and eat on our first anniversary) did not take the fresh flowers off of the cake. Flowers that have been in the freezer for a year get really really gross.

  23. 5 ibarras :

    my first inclination was to say "take a picture, then toss" cause old, dusty flowers are so lame….but i also like the idea of putting all the petals in an apothecary jar, thus eliminating all the dust and it just looks cooler :)

  24. melissa :

    I was sad the day I threw away my wedding bouquet. But to be honest, I don't miss it.

  25. Kathleen :

    I love the sentiment behind dried flowers, however they just scream bad feng shui to me (living things without their living essence, etc.).

    I've seen lovely pictures made from flower petals, though I'm not sure if they were made with dried ones. Maybe you could pull apart the petals and decoupage them into a pattern, or even cast one tiny flower in resin and make it into a pendant.

    This Etsy shop has such cool stuff
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/studioflowerpower

  26. Angela :

    Chuck um. I am as unsentimental as they come, if you aren't using it you don't need it.

  27. Melissa :

    My sister and I had our rooms full of dried flowers from dances, boyfriends, etc. Before I moved off to college, I tossed them all. If I hadn't tossed them all then, I surely got rid of them right after I broke up with my high-school boyfriend.

    If plants aren't real or alive I say they have no place in the home. I'm more picky than I am sentimental.

    I would take photos of each bunch before tossing them, but I'm not sure I'd hang photos of dead flowers on my walls. Just sayin.

  28. Lovelands :

    Take the pictures. Do not DO NOT hang the pictures. I'm with Melissa. Take the pictures and then just file them away to have.

    And THEN please come over to my house and help me get rid of every sentimental thing that I have that I don't want to have.

    I totally understand the MASSIVE guilt. For most things I've tossed, I don't feel it. Some things I regret, but as I can't think of any right now, I obviously don't regret them too much.

    Sometimes I wish my whole house would just burn down, and I could mourn the loss of what I had, and then start FRESH.

  29. Rachel :

    If your house was on fire and you could run back in for those flowers or family photos, which would you take? 'Nuf said. (Except: Life is too short to hang on to too much stuff.)

  30. AshleyB :

    Oh, I love sentimental things, but "re-invented" sentimental things. Like, take a shadow box, line it with a coordinating colored paper. Then, take a photograph from your wedding day and put it in there. Along with a few of the rose buds, and the bow either on the top or draping along the bottom? Same with P's. Put one of her old onesies in the shadow box, with a few of the petals or buds, and a picture of her? Then it makes a nice display. That also saves some of your fondest memories?

  31. Crystalyn :

    i had the same dilemma but it was such a relief when i decided it was ok to throw them away. i've never regretted it. to be honest, before i threw them away i wasn't feeling happy feelings about my wedding or marriage when i looked at them. i was always thinking about how to clean them and that they looked old and tired.

    anyhow, i found this and thought you might like to read:

    http://tinyurl.com/2cxhe3w

  32. The Peterson Family :

    I think this was already mentioned at least once, but I bought a cute set of glass jars at the craft store – mine where tall and skinny, in three different heights – and pulled all the petals off and put them in the jar. I kept my jars on our mantel when we had one.

  33. Andie :

    Just threw mine out. (thirteen years.) You can do it.

  34. Marie {Make and Takes} :

    You could crush them up and then save them in small tea style bags, maybe add some oil to it and put them in your linens.

    Or crush them up and glitter them on a piece of cardstock, similar to that crushed egg shell project I've done. You could sprinkle them around in a border of a picture with you and viktor and P.

  35. Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) :

    I LOVE Sara's post. I did the same in the 90s – ohhh so many dried flowers. Then when we moved I tossed them all. I wish I had done Sara or Marie's ideas!

  36. Heather at Happy Chippy Junk :

    Take a picture and toss them. They have no use and you have the pictures that will help w/ the memories!!

  37. Courtney :

    I am not very sentimental and despise clutter, but I just got married a month ago and am experiencing the same dilemi. My BOquet is hangin in our basement drying because I wanted to take the money on our honeymoon instead of pay a professional. When I was considering the professional drying route i saw one thing I actual would want in my house. There were four small shodowbox frames that had one bloom each in them and they were grouped. If any of mine turn out decent I am going to clip a few and do the same and trash the rest. Dead and Fake flowers creep me out a little. :)

  38. Jason :

    We are about to move across the country and I sure hope my wife doesn’t come across this blog! We just celebrated our first anniversary last month and we have her bouquet dried and in a vase on a bookshelf. The move process is forcing us to thoroughly scrutinize all the “stuff” that we have, and a good portion of it will not make the trip (Goodwill is a wonderful place when you are moving!) That being said, I can’t imagine throwing out those flowers, and I found this site while researching ways to move them without damaging them. I’m surprised that so many people on here found it so easy to throw them out; I would hardly know what to say to people who are self-professed “unsentimental” types… no offense, but to me it just seems– cold. And being that my wife is sort of that type herself (fortunately we have enough else in common to overcome it), I’m afraid that if she finds this site she will gleefully decide to chunk them. I do certainly appreciate the different suggestions about preservation and cleaning, and I am thinking the jar idea may be best.

    My thoughts are that dried flowers/plants, when properly preserved, are an artful way to reach out and touch memorable moments from the past– I suppose some would think of them as bones of a sort, but I certainly don’t, and I would recommend keeping them as long as they are in decent shape.