How to Dye Flowers

Use food coloring to brighten a Queen Anne's lace bouquet.

Girl with colorful Queen Anne's lace bouquet

Girl with Queen Anne's Lace

Gathering, cutting and coloring Queen Anne's lace is a fun summer tradition for the author and granddaughter Emily (above).


By Dianne Cogar
Springfield, Ohio

We never know who or what we’ll run into on the trails and roadways around our quiet country acres. For instance, on a walk last summer, my 5-year-old granddaughter, Emily, and I made the acquaintance of royalty!

Queen Anne’s lace grows throughout our fields, meadows and fencerows, covering the ground like white umbrellas. According to legend, it’s named after Queen Anne of England, an expert lace maker who reigned in the early 1700s.

Both Emily and I agreed the wildflowers are uncommonly beautiful. But we wondered how they’d look in other colors. For fun, we decided to brighten up the royal wardrobe a bit by dyeing the lacy florets.

The process couldn’t be easier:

  1. Cut flowers, leaving about 2 feet of stem on each. Store them in water until you’re ready to begin dyeing.
  2. Fill containers (we use margarine tubs) three-quarters full of cold water. Add a few drops of food coloring—try lavender, yellow, blue and green. Mix well.
  3. Submerge clusters of blooms, one at a time, in the dyes, and keep them in for about a minute. Then spread them out in the sun on paper towels to dry.
  4. Spritz lightly with a spray-type craft glue, once the dyed blooms have completely dried.
  5. Sprinkle glitter across the florets.
  6. Place flowers in a vase, or whatever container suits your fancy, and keep it filled with water. Use one or multiple colors in your arrangement.
  7. Display outside on a patio or porch. While the blossoms remain lovely for days, they will eventually shed and require clean up.

After we finished, Emily helped me scatter our lacy rainbows around the deck where our family and friends like to congregate for meals on warm summer weekends. We got more than a pretty centerpiece out of this interesting project. It gave Emily and me an understanding and appreciation for nature, and a new tradition we look forward to sharing summer after summer.

Photo by Dianne Cogar.

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