Just when I thought crafting sola wood flowers can’t get any better, it can! Softening the wood flowers makes them so much easier to handle and the finished texture does not only look but also feel almost real.
So how do we achieve this? How do we soften sola wood flowers? I use our own softening brand, the Sola Softener. I usually add the softener to my paint bath before dip-dyeing but other times, I’d like to spritz it on the raw flowers before or after dyeing. Any of the methods work which I will discuss in detail in this tutorial. One thing is certain though, sola softener will elevate your wood painting to the next level.
Craft Supplies Needed
- Raw Sola wood flowers
- Bowl/Large goblet
- Warm water
- Acrylic paint or flower dye
- Spoon or stirring stick
- Drying stand
- Sola softener
- Spray bottle
Three Methods in Using Sola Wood Flower Softener
I have experimented with these procedures and while I prefer the one-step dye/softener method, I recommend that you try all three. It would still be a matter of preference. Use the process that works best for you. You might even discover a more efficient way of doing it along the way. If you do, please come back and share your innovation.
Method 1: Pre-treat the flowers with softener before dyeing
Step 1: Prepare the water and softener mixture.
For optimum softness and flexibility, my preferred ratio is 10 parts water to 1 part softener.
We start by boiling water. While it’s still hot, we add in the softener and mix thoroughly. Why use hot water? Sola softener is heavier than water, and will sink to the bottom if cold water is used. We then allow the mixture to cool before we proceed to the next step.
The softener can be fused with the flowers in two ways. We either spritz or mist using a sprayer or dip and dunk.
We fill our glass sprayer with the solution. I’m partial to eco-friendly materials hence my preference for glass over plastic but by all means, use what’s readily available. Just make sure the nozzle is heavy duty so it doesn’t jam when misting.
I just love the look of fine mists showering the wooden flowers. We can go easy or go liberal in our misting depending on the denseness of the flowers. We continue spraying until the petals become pliable.
Dip and Dunk
When we fuse the softener and water, we notice that the water starts getting murky or cloudy. This is a good sign that the mixture is blended well. We proceed to quickly dunk the raw flowers into the softener mix.
Once the flowers are misted or dipped, we let the flowers sit out a bit. I prefer to wait until the petals are dry to the touch before we start dyeing them.
Step 2: Dip-dye the sola flowers
We prepare our dye bath by mixing 1 part acrylic paint or sola dye to 2 parts water. Dip or swiftly dunk the flowers. Let the excess dye drip then set aside to dry. You may check our earlier post on How To Dye Sola Wood Flowers for the step-by-step tutorial.
Method 2: Dip the sola flowers directly into the softener, water and dye mixture
This is my typical way of dyeing with the addition of sola softener to the mixture. We start by mixing a 1:10 ratio of softener to water. We prepare it the same way as method one; boil water, add in the softener, and then set aside to cool. We now add our acrylic paint, 1 part of that to 2 parts of the mixture we did earlier. We give it a thorough mix so that all elements get blended well.
We proceed to dip-dye as we normally would, painting one flower at a time.
Give at least 24 hours for the dyed flowers to dry before we use them.
Method 3: Post-treat the flowers with softener after dyeing
This process is just the opposite of method 1. We dip-dye the flowers in our dye bath of 1 part paint to 2 parts water. We let the flowers dry fully before saturating them with softener or simply misting them using a sprayer. We will use the same ratio of 10:1 water to softener.
We may also come across or buy dyed sola wood flower that has not been softened. This is quite stiff and may turn brittle in the long run. We can apply the same procedure as above. As soon as the petals become hydrated, they’ll start to become supple and pliable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I soften raw flowers without dyeing them? How?
Yes you can soften raw flowers and keep it that way. Raw flowers may be soft but they can tear easily if handled roughly so treating them with softener keeps them flexible for a long time. Refer to Method 1 above. Follow Step 1 then stop there.
Can I soften the flowers with just water?
We highly recommend adding sola softener to the water. This is an essential ingredient in making long-lasting soft squishy flowers.
What is the best ratio for sola softener to water?
A 10:1 ratio of softener to water guarantees optimum softness and flexibility. You can mess with your ratios and apply what works best for you. Keep in mind though, that adding too little softener may not lead to your desired softness and adding too much may oversaturate the petals.
Can I soften the flowers with anything other than sola softener?
We recommend sola softener over any other alternatives. We have tried using fabric softener and dish soaps as suggested by other crafters and while they work, the result is not at par with what sola softener can do. (Sola softener is pure glycerin while the others have other chemical components in them.)
Can I use cold water in making the water and softener mixture?
The reason why we suggest hot water is because sola softener is denser than water. It will sink on the bottom if the water is cold. You will need to keep stirring to keep the solution fully incorporated. Hot water will make it so much easier for the elements to blend.
How long do I need to soak the flowers to soften?
A quick dunk is sufficient. Just make sure that all parts of the bloom have been coated with the softener-water mixture. Oversaturating the petals can prolong drying time and the resulting texture may still feel damp even after they are fully dried.