DIYdiy projects

DIY Solar Dyed Bouquet Ribbon + Buttons

by Natalie Stopka

There has been much written about the beauty and sustainability of natural dyes recently. Rightly so: they are an eco-friendly and gorgeous part of our artistic heritage. And happily for us, natural dyes needn’t be complicated to be gorgeous. This elegant bouquet wrap is dyed using dahlia blossoms and solar power. Both the silk ribbon and natural shell buttons are protein fibers, which have an affinity for natural dyes. The only special ingredient you’ll be using here is the mordant alum, a naturally occurring compound that binds the dye to the fabric fibers. And rather than stand over a hot stove, you can let the sun gently set the dye over a stretch of several days. –Natalie Stopka

*Click here to check out Natalie’s DIY flower-dyed thank yous…


The full how-to continues after the jump…

• 1 1/2 teaspoons alum (aluminum sulfate or potassium aluminum sulfate) • flowers, see below (we used dark pink dahlias)
• 1 quart glass or plastic jar
• 1 yard silk, cotton, or rayon ribbon
• natural shell buttons
Many plants and flowers contain the natural dye colorants, notably those with the species name “tinctoria” following their genus name. Here are some of the many options:
Black Hollyhock Daffodil
Garland Chrysanthemum Golden Marguerite Goldenrod
Lady’s Mantle Marigold
Queen Anne’s Lace Russian Sage Sunflower
Yellow Cosmos Zinnia


Bring a kettle or water to a simmer. Chop or crush enough flowers or leaves to fill the quart jar at least half full and place them in the jar. Pour the hot water over the plants. Cap the jar and leave in on a sunny windowsill to steep for 24 hours, or up to one week.

Strain the plant material from the dye liquid, and return the dye to the jar (the wilted plants can now be composted). Add 1 1/2 teaspoons alum to the dye, and give it a shake to dissolve. Add the ribbon and buttons, cap, and return the sunny windowsill for 48 hours or up to one week.

Strain the ribbon and buttons from the dyebath, rinse, and dry. Sew the buttons onto the ribbon, and you have a charming wrap for your bouquet.






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  • This is GORGEOUS and to be honest seems like something I could (shockingly) pull off. I’ve got hydrangeas in my garden ready and waiting, so all I’d need to make is a quick trip to the store for the rest of the supplies. I love this idea!

  • I love the idea of using flowers for dye. It makes sense that not only do flowers smell beautiful, they can also bring amazing color to something else + make that more beautiful. I will def try this sometime! Thx for sharing!

  • Lovely to use flowers, etc. as dyes. I’m all for it! However, I wish you’d chosen a more “colourful” colour for your demo. I can get a colour like this in no time flat using tea, also a natural dye.

  • Would have been nice to see what color flower petals were used. Even though this is a lovely bouquet, an exampke to also achieve a bright color such as blue or pink or yellow would have been helpful.

  • I can’t believe the ingredients for such a nice dye is very easy to come by in our area. It really is about time that we use eco-friendly and sustainable materials once again.

  • I feel like the dye was the less interesting part of this. It just seemed like an afterthought. The bouquet is absolutely gorgeous, though.

  • I’ve discovered this kind of dye a month ago and I’ve used it twice since then. The best is that it is completely non-toxic. It can also be applied everywhere. Just awesome!

  • Love this, and I love the neutral color, I tend to always use something in this shade for my bouquets, I think it makes the flowers stand out more, simple is beautiful : )

  • Just curious, is aluminum sulfate safe for the environment? I thought sulfates were bad or something. Please let me know, I’d love to try this out! (I’ll probably try it anyway!)