Painted flowers of all sorts have become extremely popular over the last year or two. There are basically two different methods for painting flowers—stem dyed and surface painting. One of the most popular by far is the stem dyed multi-colored rose. You may hear them referred to as rainbow, tie dyed, or kaleidoscope roses. This method, used to achieve a multi-colored rose, is one of the more complicated processes, but the results are stunning! While the flower growers that we work with at have this process down to a science, it’s also a fun project to try on your own. This was actually the first time I tried it myself, and it was so interesting to see how the petals on each rose accepted the various dyes a little bit differently, creating a bouquet of roses that is as unique as it is beautiful!


Stem Dyed Rose

Supplies for stem dyed roses:

Ingredients for Stem Dyed Flowers
  • White roses
  • Stem dye for fresh cut flowers – 3 different colors
  • 3 plastic cups
  • Sharp knife
  • Large container big enough to hold the 3 plastic cups

Step by Step:

Choose white roses that have already begun to bloom and are slightly open. For best results, store your roses out of water and on a shelf in a cooler or cool location overnight.

When you’re ready to dye your roses, first remove all foliage from the stem.

White Roses for Stem Dying

Cut the ends of the stems so that the length of the stem is close to the length that you’ll want it to be in your vase. The shorter the stem length, the easier the process will be.

Place each rose on a flat surface and split the bottom of the stem into three sections (one for each color) using a sharp knife. The split sections should be at least three inches in length.

Stem Dying- Splitting the Stem

Fill 3 plastic cups with water and add the flower stem dye according to the package directions.

Mixing Color for Stem Dye

I found it easier and safer to put the three cups of dye into a larger container before adding the rose stems. Insert the roses with the split stems one by one into the cups of dye, making sure each section of the stem goes into a different color. For added security I wrapped a pipe cleaner or chenille stem around all of the rose stems and taped the ends of the pipe cleaner to the outer vase. If your roses are shorter, then you probably won’t need to do this.

Keep the roses in the dye for 30-60 minutes.

Put Split Roses into Dye

Remove from dye, rinse off the bottom of the stems, and place in a container with clean, room temperature water and allow to hydrate for 24 hours.

Tie Dye Rose Bouquet

At this point the rose is completely hydrated, the dye has reached the rose petals and your rose has been transformed into a beautiful Technicolor spectacular!

Complete Tie Dye Rose Bouquet


Spray painting is by far the easiest way to change the color of most varieties of fresh cut flowers. There are different brands of paint available as well as various types of paint. There are also a few different methods of painting.

I used paint from a company called Design Master. They have a great site with all kinds of information and inspiration that I recommend checking out:


Firecracker Mums

Decorate your next summer soirée with exploding fireworks! All you need are:

  • White spider mums
  • Red and blue floral spray paint
  • Small piece of cardboard
  • Exacto or sharp knife
  • Newspaper, craft, or any scrap paper
  • Latex gloves (optional)

If you don’t have latex gloves available you can insert the stem of the spider mum through the center of a piece of scrap paper to protect yourself from getting painted along with the flower!

Before starting it’s important to read all of the directions on the paint can! Believe it or not, there are people (like me) who don’t always bother reading the directions – not smart!


You can simply spray various spots of the spider mum using the red and blue paint, or if you want a particular pattern you can create a template with a small piece of cardboard. For the “target” effect that I was going for I first cut a small hole, the size of a quarter, in the center of a square of cardboard that is slightly larger than the spider mum.

Flower Surface Air Brush Painting

Put the circle to the side, for later use, place the square template with the circle opening over the mum and spray into the center hole with the red paint.

Step 3 Spray Red Paint Onto Flower

Make a second template using the same size square of cardboard (approximately 5”) cutting out a larger circle this time – about 3”.

Cut Larger Hole in Cardboard

Place the new template with the larger circle opening on top of the same mum and place the smaller circle from the first template over the red center that you just painted. You’ll now have a “donut” showing through the template that you’ll now spray using the blue paint.


With tipping you are only applying the paint to the end or the tips of the petals. I recommend wearing a glove for this method.

Tipping Method Painted Flowers Step 1

Hold the head of the spider mum in one hand, cupping it so that the petals are closing in towards the center. Don’t hold them too tight though or you won’t get enough petal surface to apply the paint.

Tipping Method Painted Flowers Step 2

Turn your hand so that you’re also applying the paint to the back of the petals for more impact.

Spray back of petals

Release the flower and see if you are happy with the effect and the amount of coverage. If you want more color, simply repeat the process, holding the flower a bit looser and more open this time.

Open up painted flower


With the misting technique you apply a light coat of paint over the entire surface of the flower. You should hold the can 15-18” away from the flower. You can repeat this process a few times, depending on the depth of color that you’re looking for. It’s amazing how realistic the color looks on fresh flowers, and now you can have whatever color flower you want—whether nature created it or not!

Both methods, stem and surface painting, and all of the techniques are fun and easy to do and look great alone or combined within one arrangement.


Julie started her career in the floral industry over 30 years ago in a small, family-owned flower shop. From floral designer to author and lifestyle expert, her insight has been instrumental in developing the brand. Representing the company’s floral lifestyle vision, Julie has shared her talent and passion in numerous television appearances and national magazine features. She is an active fundraiser and longtime friend of IGHL, a group dedicated to facilitating a more independent life for developmentally challenged adults.

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