Dakota Giftware Supply Inc.
Preserving Memories For Years To Come

The Process of Freeze Drying

Preserving of Flowers and other natural products has been around for centuries, with the earliest records dating back to ancient Egyptian times. While the methods of preserving have changed over the centuries, the basic principle of removing water from the petals hasn't changed. Neither has the ultimate goal: to preserve the beauty and natural color of the flowers!

The process of removing the water from the petals can be done in a few different ways, which most involve the flowers wilting and shriveling, becoming brittle and therefore unusable. One way to remove the water from the cells of the flowers without damaging the flowers is a process called Sublimation. Sublimation is the process of turning frozen liquid (ice) into its gaseous state (water vapor) without passing through the liquid state (water). This process is vital to modern day freeze drying, it allows flowers to retain their shape and color without wilting or becoming brittle. This process literally stops the hands of time, allowing the flowers to be displayed for years to come! 

The freeze drying process starts as soon as you bring (or send) in your flowers. We will photograph and inspect your arrangement to determine the best course of action when preserving and displaying your flowers. Then the arrangement is put into our walk in freezer where it is cooled and stored until the process begins.

In the first step of the process the temperature of the freezing chamber is brought down, slowly, to around -60 to -70 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature the water inside the cells of the flowers is frozen solid! Next the temperature is very slowly raised back up to room temperature. While this is happening, a vacuum system is turned on. This vacuum suctions out the water vapors as they are released from the flowers. This process removes the water from the flowers cells without destroying the cells themselves which is the main cause of wilting. After the flowers have returned to room temperature, they are taken out of the freezing chamber, handled with great care, as the flowers can still be brittle.

Once out of the freezing chamber, the flowers are then rearranged and put into the keepsake of your choice. The entire process can take anywhere from two weeks to a month, depending on the status of the freezing chamber when you bring in your arrangement. But the wait is well worth it! Your finished keepsake is one that will stand the test of time, staying beautiful for the years to come!


How Soon Should I Get The Flowers To You?

We like to receive the flowers ASAP. Typically, we receive the flowers within 24-48 hours of event. Please remember that the flowers are in full bloom for your event and to achieve the best results it is better if the flowers are in the best condition possible.

How Should I Care For The Flowers?

Handle all your flowers with care.  Try not to lay the flowers down on their side, it may cause bruising.  It is very important to keep the flowers hydrated. It also helps to slow the wilting process by placing the flowers in a cool area, like a refrigerator. Be very careful not to freeze the flowers. Some refrigerators run a little colder than others, especially on the top shelf.

Do I Need To Notify the Florist If I Am Planning On Preserving My Bouquet?

It is preferred that you let your florist know that you would like to preserve your flowers. There are particular types of flowers that do not freeze dry well.  A few examples are different types of Mums and Daisies.

What If My Bouquet Doesn't Look Very Good Or There Are Damaged Flowers?

After receiving the flowers, we will use special techniques to re-hydrate and revive the flowers. If the flowers are damaged and too far gone, we are able to replace any at your request.

Do You Ever Replace Any Flowers With Silk Flowers or Greenery.

We never replace any fresh flowers with silk unless requested by the customer to do so. We commonly do replace any greenery with silk unless it is requested by customer not to do so. When the greens are freeze dried, they tend to lose a lot of color and look pasty white.

Am I Able To Ship My Flowers To You?

Yes. All you have to do is contact us and we will provide you with instructions on how to do so.

Am I Obligated to Keepsake My Flowers When They Are Done?

No, you are not obligated to put your flowers in a keepsake. It is highly recommended that the flowers are enclosed in some sort of case. They are a natural product and there are environmental factors that can cause the flowers to break down over time. The longevity is dramatically increased if the flowers are enclosed and kept safe from enemies like dust, humidity, pets, pests and even children :)

How Long Will My Flowers Last?

Freeze dried flowers will last for many years to come if they are enclosed in a case or keepsake.  The care and condition of flowers may also play a determining factor in the lasting quality of flowers.

Will My Flowers Change Color?

It is possible that there may be slight color changes.  Each type and color of flower may respond differently. Generally flowers retain their natural color very well, but there are never any guarantees. Majority of white flowers will look creamy or "antiqued." Red flowers are the color we see change hue the most.  We cannot control and are not responsible for any color changes that may occur.  Some Freeze Driers choose to dye the flowers.  

Will My Flowers look just like they did when they were fresh?

You cannot have the expectation that your flowers will look just like they did when they were alive.  You have to remember that the flowers are dried. 

How Do I Care For My Keepsake Once It Is Completed?

It is very important that you do not place keepsake in direct sunlight or in an area with humidity. Place the keepsake in a location where it will not be constantly moved or bumped. If you need to dust the keepsake off, be sure not to spray cleaner directly, spray a rag and then wipe off the keepsake.

How Long Does The Process Take?

The freeze dry process itself takes 2-3 weeks. Freeze drying is a timely process and cannot be rushed.  Depending on the start date of the cycle, some flowers will be frozen in a holding freezer for a short period of time.  The entire process from start to finish generally takes a minimum of 10-14 weeks. 

Do I Have To Order My Keepsake When I Drop Off The Flowers?

No, you are not required to place an order immediately. We would appreciate it if all customers would place their orders within 4 weeks. Some items may take longer than others to order so we like to get things moving as quickly as possible.

Am I able to put other items in my keepsake?

Yes, majority of customers add other items to their keepsake.  Popular items for wedding keepsakes are photos, hair accessories, cake toppers, garters and invitations. 

When am I expected to pay for preservation and keepsaking?

You must pay a non-refundable deposit for the cost freeze drying at the same time of dropping off the flowers or they will not be put into the freeze dryer.  As soon as the keepsake if chosen, a deposit of 50% must be paid before any orders are placed. 

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