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How to Dye Flowers Using Food Coloring

By Kate Carpenter
Carnations are easy to dye with food coloring.
carnations image by Jaroslav Machacek from Fotolia.com

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

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

Add 10 to 12 food drops of food coloring in the color you want to dye the flower. The more food coloring 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 coloring until you reach the desired water color intensity.

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 colored water will help the flower take up the colored water.

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

Check your flowers after two hours to see how much colored 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 color, particularly at the petal edge. After 12 to 24 hours, your flower petals should be the new color.


Things You Will Need

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


  • Use a sharp knife and slice the flower stem to create two sections. Place one section of the split stem in a container with colored water and the other split stem section into a container with a different color. The end result will be unpredictable and surprising.


  • Do not add flower preserve to the colored water while you are coloring the flower petals. Additives tend to slow the process.