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Dyeing Pressed Flowers

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"How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers" - a cute little book from my collection. Over a century old, fully scanned. scans are copyright annepost 2008



Using Dye to Enhance or Change the Color of Pressed Flowers and Botanicals<

We love our pressed flowers to remain true to color, but with some varieties it's not always possible.

Why not ncrease the scope of flowers you can press by dyeing them to perk up faded flowers, or to keep them looking good indefinitely?

Mixing Your Pigments:

Use a pipette to measure Isopropyl Alcohol 99.5%, and a scoop to measure pigment, dissolve your pigment in the alcohol starting at a rate of 0.15cc pigment to 3.5ml of alcohol. You can email me to get pigments, pipettes, and scoops.

Clear Plastic Transfer Pipettes for Measuring out Alcohol.Use more alcohol to make a lighter color and less alcohol to make a darker color.

Dissolve pigment in a non-metal container such as a small glass or plastic jar with a screw on lid to prevent evaporation during storage. I use clear 4 oz plastic jars for both mixing and storing.

When storing your mix, either brush a little on the cap or on a spare petal dyed and taped to your jar. When you go back to your dye collection you'll know exactly what color is in the jar.

If the seal on your jar is not airtight, you can still reuse your already mixed dye. Just add more alcohol and the dye stuck to the inside of your jar will completely dissolve the pigment and it's as good as new.

Apply Your Dye:

  1. Dip the tip of a small fan type artists brush into the dye solution, picking up just a bit.
  2. Before you dye your pressed flowers/foliage test your dye solution to see how it will look when you are done. Touch it on a piece of scrap paper.
  3. Gently touch the tip of your brush on the pressed flower. You will see the flower "grab" the dye and absorb it, spreading it out naturally and leaving your pressed flower dry in just a few minutes or less.
  4. Some things with a very silky-like texture won't absorb well, like tulips. For me, tulip flowers keep a good color, but not the foliage. After using 2 coats of green dye they look passable; but not great.

Blending Dye To Get The Color You Want Pressed Bouganvilla and Queens Anne Lace Flowers Dyed Turquouse and Coral In Your Flowers:

You can easily blend the colors when mixing in the alcohol. You can deepen or modify the color of an already dyed pressed flower by applying another color on top.

You can even make “fantasy” colors to get colors not found in nature. These colors were made by mixing only primary colors.

Tweak Colors by Adding Tiny Amounts of Pigment or Alcohol:

  • A little red will "warm" a greenish tint.

  • A little green will "cool" a reddish tint.

  • A little black will "brown out" a reddish tint. See "shade" above.

  • A little white will make a pastel color such as pink. See "tint" above.

  • White will only whiten your pressed flowers a little; this is useful for mixing tints. But the UV inhibitors and optical brighteners help prevent normally occurring discoloring. And white is vital in creating tints (like pastels)

  • Black is great for creating shades and is pure enough to create a true dark black flower. I get requests for black flowers; I'm guessing you do too.

Here's a great online interactive color wheel from Adobe to help when mixing the colors you want for your pressed flowers. This color wheel even serves up color themed palettes that correspond well with one another.

Benefits Of Using Transparent Pigments For Your Pressed Flowers:

  • Use approximately 0.15cc of pigment to 3.5 ml to 7 ml of clear 4 oz plastic jars. A half ounce goes a very LONG way. With 130 scoops per half ounce, these pigments are very cost effective.

  • Get exactly the color you want: Transparent color allows your pressed flowers to retain natural details, such as the veining of the plant material.

  • You'll find yourself mixing so many hues, tones, and shades that you'll end up with a healthy supply of colors for your pressed flowers. It's a good idea to store your dye solutions in small jars. If they dry out, it's okay, just add some clear 4 oz plastic jars to your dried out jar and the residual dye will readily dissolve.

Where to Get Pressed Flower Dyes

Dyes to Color Pressed Flowers

Dye Kit for Pressed Flowers
7 colors - red, yellow, blue, purple, green, black, and white plus 10 pipettes, and 10 scoops. Everything you need to blend the colors you want.     $52 USD + shipping


Important:  This dye is PERMANENT. Do not get it on your clothes. Use a protected work surface such as aluminum foil or Styrofoam plate. If you don't want your hands stained for a day or two, wear latex gloves.

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