Rainbow Roses

These last couple of weeks, the kiddos have been at home on summer vacation. We had intended on doing a lot of different projects and such but there were issues (an emergency root canal for me!) and so we didn’t do as much as I was hoping to do. Still, one of the things on the list were rainbow roses. When I was buying my mom flowers for Mother’s Day, I came upon these rainbow roses and thought, hey, I can do that! I thought it would be a fun project for the kids too. So here is how to do it:

How to make Rainbow Roses

I wish I had taken pictures of the whole process but it was hard to try to keep three kids entertained/included in the process and try not to cover everyone in dye. Basically what you have to do is:

  1. Cut the stems of the rose into several parts (I cut them into three parts because I wanted to use three colors).
    • One Crafty Tip: I cut the stems with a straight cut first underwater — this keeps air bubbles out of the flower’s stem, which can inhibit the uptake of dye. Then I took them out to cut on a cutting board with an exacto knife into three equal parts. I cut around 4 inches of stem. Put the rose back in the water.
  2. The next step is to prep your dye. I used regular food coloring that you can get at any supermarket (baking aisle). Some people put their dye in short, disposable cups (like the little paper dixie cups) but I figured the dye would be more  concentrated in less water, so I used teeny weeny soy sauce containers like this:
    I used plastic wrap to keep them all together. I also used a large glass container to keep the roses upright, as you’ll see below.

    • One Crafty Tip: Remember to buy containers that have a wide enough mouth to fit the stem.
  3. Wait. The Kindergarten Kiddo saw our first flower taking up the dye as we were cutting our second flower. It was very fast! The following results were from overnight.
  4. When your colors have been achieved, submerge stems underwater again and cut above your original cut. Place roses in fresh water and enjoy!
    • One Crafty Tip: You will see some of the dye leak into the water from the stems. It didn’t bother me any but if it does, I think the only way to avoid seeing it is to use an opaque vase.

So I started with white roses:


The plastic wrap stems:


These roses were supposed to be blue, yellow, and magenta but for some reason, I didn’t have very good luck with the magenta taking well:


A close-up of my “best” rose:



You can see some of the leaking dye here:



These two were our less successful roses. The one on the left was supposed to be pink and purple (as per two giggly girls) and the one on the right was supposed to be red, white and blue but for some reason, none of it took (I did this rose twice, so it might have been the rose).



Stuff we learned (AKA, more Tips): 

  • The girls ended up learning about how water is taken up from the stem of the flower up into the petals. K-Kiddo even saw some green petals and concluded that the yellow and the blue colors mixed to get green.
  • I learned that the red dyes weren’t taking very well. Not sure why. I had two different types of red dyes (all from the grocery store) and still they weren’t very successful, especially in the ones that were supposed to be blue/yellow/magenta.
  • Young roses with less woody stems took up the dye much better than the bigger, woodier roses (the “patriotic” rose was a little bigger and woodier than the others). The fresher the rose, too, the better.

So there you have it! Rainbow roses. I think I might do it again although it gets a little pricey buying white roses… maybe we’ll try daisies or carnations next.

Today I used:

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