Florists often dye flowers to make the colors more vibrant, to match a particular color scheme, or to make the flowers shine in the light. Whatever your reason or desired effect, there are a few options for how to dye the perfect flower.
Any flower can be dyed, however cut flowers that are lighter in color will have the best effect - both because they are easier to handle and because the light color will allow your selected dye to be the most vibrant. Roses, mums, orchids and daises are among the most popular flowers for dying.
Absorption dying is best with white or very lightly colored flowers. You can use store bought dyes or mix food coloring with water. The store-bought dyes are strong and should usually be diluted at about 1-2 ounces per gallon of water, but you can always mix the dye to your desired color strength. Make sure to read the directions on the product, since recommended ratios can vary. According to Koch Color manufacturers, one pound of their product can dye between 5,000 and 10,00 flowers.
Fill a vase with water and drop in the desired amount of dye. Mix the water until the dye is fully blended. Place the stems of freshly cut flowers into the water and leave them for a few hours until they have absorbed the water and you begin to see the color in the petals. You can alter the strength of the color by leaving the flowers in the dye mixture for longer.
For the best results, cut the stems of your flowers at a 45 degree angle and deprive them of water for a few hours before placing them into the dye. That way, the flowers will be thirsty and will absorb the dye faster.
For a quick DIY version, just use a few drops of food coloring in place of purchased dye.
Once you’ve mastered the art of absorption dying you can start to get creative with it. Crafty florists have been able to create amazing effects with simple absorption dye. For a cool, tie-dye technique, split the bottom of a long stem into two to three sections. Place each section into a separate vase with a unique dye or food coloring mixture. Follow the same steps as the absorption dye process and leave the flower for a few hours. After awhile, the petals will have a tie-dye effect that marbles your different colors together.
Fabric dye can be used on dried flowers, but the boiling process will kill fresh flowers. Select flowers that have been drying for at least two weeks. If possible, try to use flowers without spots or discoloration. Since drying can cause flowers to become brown, lighter colored flowers are best for this process to avoid ending up with a murky, muddy color in the end.
Purchase powered or liquid fabric dye and follow the instructions by boiling the product in a pot of water. Using tongs or holding the stem of the flower, dip the flower into the boiling dye and hold it for five to ten seconds. Take your flower out and check out the color, for a darker look repeat the dip again. You can repeat until you have the desired look.
Hang your dyed flowers upside down until they dry but be sure to place cloth or newspaper below them so you do not stain your floor or counter.
Spray dyes are similar to traditional spray paints but they are more delicate and manufactured specifically to be gentle on flower petals. Some florists use metallic or glittered spray paints to add an effect to their flowers, while others use opaque color dyes to completely change the color profile of the petals.
Spray painting can get messy, so make sure you protect your clothes and work space. Put down a cloth or newspaper to avoid spraying your surface, floor or table. Use gloves to avoid getting dye on your hands. Hold the spray can about 15 to 18 inches away from the flower itself and spray to completely cover the petals. Avoid touching the wet paint and set the flowers in an upright vase where they can dry in isolation without smudging.
Dip dying must be done with specialty dye that you purchase online or in florists shops, food coloring will not work with this technique. The dyes typically come in ten assorted colors which you can mix for the desired hue.
Since you are coating the petals in dye, you can use a wider variety of flowers for this process, including darker colored flowers. Keep in mind though, that the color is not completely opaque so you might see the original color underneath, depending on how dark it is.
Chose flowers that are in full bloom. Since you are dipping the flower into dye, you want to select flowers where the petals are open wide. Place newspaper or cloth under your work surface to avoid splashing or staining. Hold the stem of the flower and dip the bloom into the dye for a few seconds and then wash it gently with fresh water. If you want the color to be darker, repeat the dip as many times as needed. Wash the flower gentle for the final time and leave it to dry.
Avoid shaking the flower after it has been dyed to avoid splashing the dye onto something that could stain, like your clothes!