How to Dye Flowers Using Food Coloring

Written by kate carpenter
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How to Dye Flowers Using Food Coloring
Carnations are easy to dye with food colouring. (carnations image by Jaroslav Machacek from

Dying flowers using food colour is a project you can share with your children. It is educational and entertaining as the flower draws the food colouring up its stem to colour the white petals of the blossom. Dying flowers to include in your centrepiece or bouquet can turn an ordinary flower arrangement into extraordinary.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • White flowers
  • Glass or plastic clear container
  • Food colouring
  • Water
  • Scissors or hand pruners

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  1. 1

    Fill a clear glass or plastic container at least one-half full with water.

  2. 2

    Add 10 to 12 food drops of food colouring in the colour you want to dye the flower. The more food colouring you add to the water, the darker the shade of your flower. For smaller containers, start with four to five drops, then add more food colouring until you reach the desired water colour intensity.

  3. 3

    Cut 2 to 3 inches off the end of the flower stems using scissors or hand pruners. Trimming the end of the flower stem before you place it in the coloured water will help the flower take up the coloured water.

  4. 4

    Place the newly cut flower stems into the food colouring water.

  5. 5

    Check your flowers after two hours to see how much coloured water has been taken up the stem. For many flower types, after two or three hours the flower petals will begin to show spots of colour, particularly at the petal edge. After 12 to 24 hours, your flower petals should be the new colour.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a sharp knife and slice the flower stem to create two sections. Place one section of the split stem in a container with coloured water and the other split stem section into a container with a different colour. The end result will be unpredictable and surprising.
  • Do not add flower preserve to the coloured water while you are colouring the flower petals. Additives tend to slow the process.

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