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How to Color Enhance Pressed Flowers and Botanicals

Using Alcohol Based Pigments to Color Flowers That Have Been Pressed and Dried

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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

 

 


Of course, we love when our pressed flowers remain vibrant, but with some varieties it's not always possible. Widen the scope of flowers you can press by colorizing them to perk up faded flowers, or to keep them looking good indefinitely.

Mix And Apply Pigments

  1. Using a pipette to measure Isopropyl alcohol, 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 or visit my Etsy Shop.
  2. Use more alcohol to make a lighter color and less
    alcohol to make a darker color.
    Clear Plastic Transfer Pipettes for Measuring out Alcohol.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.0.15cc Pigment Scoop
  5. Dip the tip of a small fan type artists brush into the dye solution, picking up just a tiny bit.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 looked barely passable; but not great.

I tape a small piece of pressed Queen Anne’s Lace to the jars so I know exactly what the color looks like when storing a mix.

Blending To Getting The Color You WantPressed Bouganvilla and Queens Anne Lace Flowers Dyed Turquouse and Coral

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 are were made by mixing only primary colors.
 

Tweak Colors by Adding Tiny Amounts of Pigment or Alcohol

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

  • A little black will "brown out" a reddish tint.Color Enhanced Pressed Flowers, Sweet Autumn Clematis

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

  • A little yellow will make red more orange.

  • A little white will make a pastel color such as pink.

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.

  • White will only whiten your pressed flowers a little; it's mainly useful for mixing mixing. It has a UV inhibitors to help prevent normally occurring discoloring. White is vital in creating tints (like pastels)

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

Benefits Of Using Pigments For Your Pressed Flowers

  • Specifically designed for Pressed Flowers; very high purity.

  • Permanent, UV resistant, non-bleeding, and exceptionally transparent with high color strength.

  • Dries almost instantly! Your pressed flowers won’t get wet like they would using watercolors, dyes such as Rit, or other methods.

  • The alcohol acts as a bacteriostatic agent, killing the microscopic creepy-crawlies that take their toll on your pressed flowers, even with vacuum sealing or lamination.

  • Use only approximately 0.15cc of pigment to 3.5 ml alcohol. 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 very healthy supply of colors for your pressed flowers. It's a good idea to store your dye solutions in small jars.

Pressed Flower Dye KitPowdered Pigments Designed For Pressed Flowers 
Dye Kit - Includes 7 colors: red, yellow, blue, purple, green, black, and white plus 10 pipettes, and 10 scoops
$58 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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