Salvaging / Fixing Dried Flower Collage

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Salvaging / Fixing Dried Flower Collage

Postby Moglet » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Hi all,

I have a customer who has a 20-year-old dried flower collage that she very much wants to preserve.

On initial inspection, it seems that there is a little mould damage, but the worst problem is that the flower petals are coming loose from the support.

What would be the best treatment for the mould damage? Also, can any members recommend a way of "fixing" the remaining flowers in place prior to framing?

On a more general note, do any forum members know a good website that provides advice on drying/treating flowers prior to framing? I've had a number of enquiries recently about framing bridal bouquets, and I'd love to be able to point my customers in the direction of a good information source. Fwiw, the local florist does not take on this type of work (keeps referring customers to me for advice, but I haven't a clue about this type of process... :? )
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Postby Moglet » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:10 pm

Sorry for double-post (can't edit... :twisted: )

Regarding the mould damage, the question should have been:

What's the best way to kill off any mould spores to prevent further damage?
........Áine JGF SGF FTB
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Postby osgood » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:23 pm

Áine,
10 minutes in sunlight should kill mould spores.

I have a customer who dries wedding floral bouquets for other people and I am happy to ask her more about the procedure and pass it on, if she will tell me about it. I don't know whether she has an email address, but if she does it might be best if you correspond with her.

I think she uses silica gel on some flowers. I remember that she told me that in some cases, the flowers are unsuitable for drying after a whole day of being carted around by the bride and she has to replace some flowers because of that.

I'll try to remember to phone her today. She lives in another town about 35 miles from here.
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Postby Spit » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:30 pm

Read on a website that you bury the flowers gently with silica gel crystals, leave them 3-7 days in an airtight box - but that's only for fresh flowers. I think you can get a dried flower preservative spray - try hobbycraft if you have one over there, other arts & craft shops may stock it.
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Postby Spit » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:32 pm

On holding things in place ask your local florists for some of their wire.
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Postby John » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:26 pm

Spit wrote:Read on a website that you bury the flowers gently with silica gel crystals, leave them 3-7 days in an airtight box...
Some experts accelerate the process using a microwave oven and then bring back the colour, if necessary, using an air brush.

I believe that the going rate for this service is around £600 for a bouquet.
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Postby realhotglass » Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:44 pm

Google - UK Freeze Dry Drying Drier Dried Flowers

A few quick links found . . .
http://www.pollenpetals.co.uk/freezedryingflowers.html
http://www.floralkeepsakesofireland.com/uk-brides.htm
http://www.forist7.com/freezedried/index.html

. . . and my flower lady here in Adelaide South Australia . . .
http://www.hedgerowflowers.com.au/index.htm

Freeze drying method is far superior to silica gel (my flower ladies used to use SG here many years ago).

You can dry out the SG crystals once they lose their blue colour (they turn pink / clear), either just spread out on a board in sunlight (in low humidity, moisture environment, mmmm may be a problem there in the UK), but most times needs to be oven dried (heat or microwave).

SG gives off carcinogenic fumes if drying in microwave (not sure about conventional oven dried).

Contact a few results from Google search, find the closest FD machine and people experienced with flowers, develop a relationship with them for referrals.
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Postby realhotglass » Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:48 pm

John wrote:
Spit wrote:Read on a website that you bury the flowers gently with silica gel crystals, leave them 3-7 days in an airtight box...
Some experts accelerate the process using a microwave oven and then bring back the colour, if necessary, using an air brush.

I believe that the going rate for this service is around £600 for a bouquet.


Freze drying a bouquet here runs about AUD$100 - $150.
600 pounds seems a bit excessive, even though a bride does have an emotional link in her wedding day, most would be limited by that sort of cost.

Here, my flower lady freeze dries, resets to frame under my convex glass (around 4" depth) and supplies the complete framing job for around AUD$500 - $600.
Or a full dried bouquet in a glass case with spike for around AUD$400 - $450.

Convert to GBP here . . . http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Regards,
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Postby Moglet » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:27 pm

realhotglass wrote:600 pounds seems a bit excessive, even though a bride does have an emotional link in her wedding day, most would be limited by that sort of cost.

Les, I have no idea how much people spend on their wedding day "down under", but it's not uncommon up here for people to fork out for a total bill for the "Day Out" that would be in the realms of AUS$50,000 (€30K, GBP20K)!!! :shock: It's insane!! :roll:

Please note, I do not agree with rip-off pricing! John, did that £600 you quoted include framing?
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Postby Moglet » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:47 pm

(Sorry for double-post - optical meece is acting up again, and last post went off half-baked.... :roll: )

Thanks to all for advice and links.

Les, great idea to develop a relationship with a specialist service provider. It will be another great customer service "value add" for my business! :D

Ormond, thanks for the "sunlight" tip. Steve, the florist's wire tip is good for future reference, too!

The problem that my customer has is that the petals are dropping off the pressed flowers. I don't want to really get involved in the repair of the piece unless really pushed. I have had a quick scout around the web, and the craft sites I have visited regularly recommend the use of hairspray to "fix" the dried flowers. Does anyone know what the ramifications of using hairspray might be from a conservation perspective. Also, for the loose petals, would small dabs of PVA be suitable to reattach them to the support? Again, would the use of PVA have any negative conservation effects?
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Postby Roboframer » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:49 pm

I'd say that they've done well to last this long and they will be very very fragile now.

The best preserved flowers I have ever seen are in paper weights - totally encapsulated in poxy resin.

Anyway - here's all I could find on TFG
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Postby Roboframer » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:57 pm

and this
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Postby Not your average framer » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:58 pm

Hi Áine,

Does any company or institution in your area have a vacuum chamber they will let you use, or a vacuum pump and a vacuum rated bell jar with rubber sealed base. Lots of high-tech companies and universities have these.

As the pressure drops, so does the boiling point of water. In a vacuum any moisture will evaporate and be sucked off. This how electronic components are encapsulated or potted without moisture or air bubbles being included in them! It also dries flowers too, I've done it myself and it's doesn't take very long to do!
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Postby Roboframer » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:08 am

You never said it was pressed in your first post :roll:

If you are willing to remove and replace the bits - (I think I would seek the services of a restorer) photograph the thing (how big is it?) first so you have something to copy when you re-assemble.

Tell customer the worst case scenario is that you at least have a nice photo that you can frame - only 15% serious there - but may be a good suggestion to do that as well. Scanning would be even better if it's not too big!

I think micro dots of wheatstarch paste might be good - applied with a 'very expensive tool' (a long thin triangle of mountboard - tiny dab of paste on point of) maybe on a padded fabric and then a Mylar/Melinex/whatever PEL call it - overlay - not encapsulation.

OR a Stabiltex overlay - never done that - never even seen stabiltex - but I have some samples coming!
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Postby Roboframer » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:13 am

Not your average framer wrote:In a vacuum any moisture will evaporate and be sucked off.


I wouldn't be too happy if that happened to me either.

(sorry!)
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Postby Not your average framer » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:22 am

There are consolidating materials you can spray flowers with, to stop the petals coming off. Somone in the conservation business might be able to advise about this.
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Postby Spit » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:36 am

Roboframer wrote:
Not your average framer wrote:In a vacuum any moisture will evaporate and be sucked off.


I wouldn't be too happy if that happened to me either.

(sorry!)


I dunno, that's got me thinking about volunteering to become an astronut. :wink:
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Postby Moglet » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:44 am

Not your average framer wrote:Does any company or institution in your area have a vacuum chamber ....

What is it with these people. NYAF? They just don't appreciate the sheer poetry of Boyle's Law....!!! :wink: :D
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Postby Spit » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:46 am

Boil's law? Is that the one where you get one on yer bum minutes before you're due to be sat down for a three hour recital?
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Postby Moglet » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:49 am

Philistine!!! :roll:

(See wot I mean??) :wink:

(PS: Does this count as hijacking my own topic? :shock: )
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