How to Make Rainbow
Flowers With Floral Absorption Dyes
I don't like
food color, it can work on some flowers like Queen Anne's
Lace or Carnations, but over all it just doesn't do a good
job. Roses don't come out good with food color. Also you
would need a lot of it so it can be expensive. (30-40 drops
of each color per cup of water)
Dip dying won't
work well to make rainbow roses. It's hard to control which
petals are colored different colors, and as the dye dries there
will be color transfer from petal to petal. This will mess up
I would only
recommend Absorbit floral absorption dye. It's made specifically
for flowers and works very well.
To make a rainbow rose, you should leave your roses out of water
for a couple hours so they're thirsty. Then you would prepare
your dye solutions in warm water with cut flower food. Use water
that's almost as warm as bath water.
Cut a couple inches
from the bottom of the stem and then cut the stem lengthwise so you
can put each cut stem section in a different dye solution. Make your
cuts under water (a cheap box cutter is great for this) then
transfer them to the vases. There will be a portion of cut stem
between the dye and the stem that's intact. You need to wrap that in
wet paper towel or cotton balls right away so they don't dry out and
prevent the absorption of the dye.
It should take a 2-4 hours
average to dye, once your roses are dyed, make another cut above the
split portion of the stem and put the roses in your vase of warm water
and cut flower food. Use a vase that's large enough to avoid crowding
the flowers, they're alive and need to breathe and have room to open.
If you don't have cut
flower food you can make your own. Use a half teaspoon of sugar and
3-4 drops of bleach. The sugar feeds the roses and the bleach acts
as a bacteriostat to keep the water clean. Roses should have the
water change every 3 days using cut flower food. If you do this your
roses will last longer. This also prevents premature wilting.
I buy my fresh flowers from a
wholesale florist (Nordlie) and they sell rainbow roses that have already
been professionally dyed at the flower farm. If you need a lot, you could
probably have your florist order them for you. You can also do this with
You are right about the problem of
looking for this kind of information online. I see tons of bad information but I
rarely see good information, if at all. To me, it looks like the people who
write it never actually tried doing it, and then others take that bad advice and
repeat it over and over until it ends up being everywhere, even though it
doesn't work. I have read that you can use Kool-Aid but it sounded weird to me
and I never tried it because I don't trust flower information I read online, but
if you have it you could try it. If you do, please let me know how it works out
The instructions I see
on-line never bother to say to wrap the exposed stem with wet cotton or
paper towel. This allows the exposed stem to dry and prevents the rose
from taking up the water and dye. This is the reason your roses are
wilting. Roses are fussy about dry stems, this is why we cut them under
If you want to play around
with this method, I'd be happy to send you a little absorption dye so you
don't have to go out and buy it. There's a lot in the jars and if you don't
get the result you want you'd be out about $30 if you buy 3 colors. Seems
high for an experiment. Just send me your address and I'll get that right
out for you, no charge.
This is easy to achieve. Use up to
4 bud vases filled with different colored dyes, split your stem into 3-4
sections, then place each section in a vase of it's own.
Using Floral Absorption Dye
Absorbit by Design
Master is a nice systemic floral dye. This will color your fresh flowers by
absorbing the dye through the stem then out to the blossom. It's fun to watch.
Before pressing your flowers,
condition your ferns, foliage, and flowers as usual, but add the dye
to the warm water solution... your dye is added while you're conditioning.
Because you'll be pressing the botanical
materials, it's best to mix the dye solution weaker than recommended for a more
Put the freshly cut stems in the warm water/dye
solution and let them sit a few hours before pressing.
Avoid putting your flowers in
water before you dye them. A thirsty flower will drink up dye much better
then a well hydrated flower. If your flowers are already in water, take them
out to sit, then make fresh cuts and start dying.
Even Roses Maintain a Natural Look When Dyed
roses shown here were all the same white color before dying. The pink and purple roses were treated for
about a 8 hours... I love the results!
If I had taken them out earlier the colors would have been lighter shades of pink and
Strip leaves from the portion of
the stem to be submersed.
Prepare dye solution of:
- Very warm water, but not too hot.
- Cut flower preservative (Chrysal or Floralife)
- Systemic floral dye. Design Master sells this.
Pour 2" of Floralife's Quick Dip
Instant Hydration Pretreatment into a plastic cup if you have it. (optional)
then cut off several inches of stem
under water, then dip stems ends in hydration solution.
flowers in the warm
your own cut flower food:
of lemon juice
Obtaining Floral Absorption Dye
Design Master has a
store locator to
help you find a source for Absorbit near you. It's much easier to find the
floral sprays made by Design Master, you may even prefer it over the absorption
method. We all have our preferences.
LO Florist Supplies sells
lots of other floral supplies online.
at a pretty reasonable price online.
There's a good tutorial on using
Design Master's DipIt on the Pennock Floral Blog so I won't get into it
here. I don't need to, they've done a great job. <smile>
Hate to say this, but I'm
surprised by all bad "articles" and "tutorials" on dyeing
rainbow flowers across the
web. Those instructions range from incomplete to incorrect. Problem is, it's clear that they've been written by
persons who have
never actually dyed a flower.
I've been dyeing flowers over 20
years so I know a little on the topic. Articles parroting these ideas
are clearly written by content writers whose purpose is to bring traffic to the
website, sell advertising, or simply by well-meaning people who repeat what they've
read without actually testing it. Don't make the mistake of following those
Common mistakes in choosing
Fabric dye like Rit involves
boiling water and harsh chemicals. This will ruin both fresh flowers and
Food color will give you
some color, but never vibrant and your color will be short lived. Food
coloring is neither permanent or light-fast. To get decent color, you will need
to use a lot of the coloring, perhaps as much as 3 bottles, so the cost is
Ink contains alcohol, which is
never good for fresh flowers. And this could get costly.
Kool-Aid may or may not work,
I've never tried it. If you try this, get the kind that needs to have sugar
added, not presweetened. Presweetened uses chemicals that aren't good for
flowers. Adding your own sugar will provide some food for the flowers. I
will try this soon and update my opinion of this method. If you try this, I
would love to hear about your results and would love to see pictures. Just
What you read about using food
color can be partially true, but partially false... it depends on you're
purpose. If you're helping your child with a science project or just playing
around, food coloring can be fine.
Real floral dyes can get messy, food coloring...
not so much. The colors will be subtle and short lived rather than vibrant and
If the flowers will be pressed or
dried, stay away from food colors, they will fade quickly.