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How to Dye Fresh Flowers and Foliage

Use Floral Absorption Dyes Before Pressing or Drying to Compensate for Fading

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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




How to Use Flower Dye to Compensate for Natural Fading

I recommend color treating flowers and foliage that are prone to fading. This is especially helpful if you make sun catchers, plan to use your in high humidity or sunlight or humidity, such as a bathroom or kitchen, or if you're pressing flowers that may fade quickly.

You can change the colors of flowers or you can dye flowers that are prone to fading in their original colors for peace of mind. Flowers dyed in this manner keep a nice natural look.

Absorbit by Design Master is a nice systemic floral dye. This will color your fresh flowers by absorbing the dye through the stem and up into the blossom. It's fun to watch too.

  • Let your flowers sit out of the 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.

  • Before dying 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. Conditioning is vital, but you can skip using the hydration solution if you don't have it.

  • If you'll be pressing the botanical materials, it's best to mix the dye solution weaker than recommended for a more natural look.

  • Put the freshly cut stems in the warm water/dye solution and let them sit a few hours before pressing.

Even Roses Maintain a Natural Look When Dyed Properly

Dyed Fresh Roses Using Floral Dyes

These roses were all the same natural white color before dying. The pink and purple roses were treated for about a day... I love the results! If I had taken them out earlier the colors would have been lighter pink and lavender.


  • Strip leaves from the portion of the stem to be submersed.
  • Prepare dye solution of:
  • Very warm water, not hot, not cold.
       - 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)
  • Cut off several inches of the stem under water, then dip the stems ends in hydration solution.
  • Immediately place in the warm dye/preservative solution.

The dye is absorbed by the stem and leaves too, which may or may not produce some interesting effects.  If you don't want those "interesting effects" reserve some leaves to be pressed separately.

It should take a 3-12 hours average to dye your flowers. Once the flowers are dyed, make a fresh cut and put your flowers in your vase with warm water and cut flower food.

Remember, as flowers are pressed, the color will darken slightly, so take them out of the dye when they're a bit lighter than you'd like.

Use a vase that's large enough to avoid crowding the flowers, they're alive and need to breathe and have room to open.

 Make your own cut flower food:

Mix together

  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (controls PH)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (feeds the flowers)
  • 1/4 teaspoon bleach (acts as a bacteriostat to keep water fresh)

Where to get 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 Absorbit and lots of other floral supplies online. sells Absorbit 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 flowers across the web (by igor at dresshead online). Problem is, it's very clear that they've been written by someone who's never actually dyed a flower with the intention of drying or pressing them... The color just won't last

I've been dyeing flowers over 20 years so I know a little bit on the topic. My methods are easy and have stood the test of time. Please don't take short cuts and risk ruining your flowers.


Floral Absorption Dyes cost me around $12 to $14 for each color you need. Seems high for an experiment.

If you want to play around with these dyes before making the investment, I'd be happy to send you samples of absorption dyes in each of the colors I have so you don't have to go out and buy it until you know for sure you want it. Just send me your address and I'll get that right out for you for only $4 plus postage. You can email me for this.

The colors I have in absorption dyes are  Ice Blue ,  Deep Blue ,  Green ,  Basil ,  Purple ,  Lavender ,  Pink ,  Red , and