As a retired chemical engineer, I thought that it couldn't be too difficult for me to find a perfect way to dry, preserve and coat orchids with resin.
Well ... I was wrong!
It took me more than half a year of hard labor and a lot of money to work it out.
As I didn't want to use the conventional method of drying the flowers in silica gel, because it does not give very good results, the first problem was to make a liquid that dehydrates the flowers and preserves them. I started with formalin and acetic acid, but that didn't work.
The next problem was that each flower gives off like 1 gram of water.
After 50 flowers, 1 liter of liquid contains 5 % of water. And then it doesn't dry the flowers anymore. I tried drying the liquid with silica gel pellets, but they "pop" and absorb also the alcohol.
After soaking the flowers, they must be kept in a dry environment, to let the liquid evaporate. A plastic box with silica gel pellets works fine. But when the petals are not supported they lose their shape. So I had to make molds. I started with clay, metal gauze, wire, cardboard, polyester and whatever in any kind of form and shape. It was frustrating at times, but on the other hand also very satisfying to find a solution to each and every problem.
Although my first free tutorial became a lengthy story, there is still a lot to tell:
Which chemicals work best for which colors? Which desiccants are most suitable to dry the liquid? What kind of resins work well and in what sequence must they be applied and why? What is the easiest and best way to make good molds? And so on and so on ...
It was quite a challenge to work out the process. But as I am retired with a very good pension scheme, I don't see myself spending my retirement doing flowers. It is pure production work and one also needs lots of patience to do it. And unfortunately patience I have in very short supply. I have been thinking a long time about expanding on this eBook on it, so that other people can benefit from what I have learned. But I also felt a bit reluctant about giving away all the secrets in great detail. But then ... what good does it do if it stays an eternal secret?
So here it is!
With all the DO'S and DONT's and all the secrets.
Enjoy and good luck!