Crafting sola flowers will make you grab a few bags of flowers, the same amount of stems, a couple of bottles of dye, and fillers to complete the look. But lately, there’s been a lot of buzz around the understated Sola Wood Flower Softener. What is this bottle and what does it do? We know you want to know if it really is essential to the project and if there’s a real benefit to using it.
Before we discuss what it can and cannot do, let’s go over the sola wood and how it becomes a sola wood flower to understand better how softeners come into work.
What is Sola Wood?
The sola plant is a shrub native to tropical countries with very porous stems. It lives in swampy places so when freshly harvested, the stem of the sola plant is quite spongy due to the stem being waterlogged.
The sola wood is cut and dried before it is processed into sheets, then formed into flowers. By this time, the sola wood would have lost a lot of its water already and can become very dry and brittle. The flower artists would need to spritz the wood sheets with water multiple times before it can be shaped and fluffed, or else, the wood will flake and tear easily.
Why Use Sola Wood Softener?
This is where Sola Wood Flower softener comes in. Whether you’re working with raw or dyed flowers, it is important to treat the flowers with a mixture of water and sola softener (using a 1:10 ratio for the wood softener and water, respectively). This mixture will not only hydrate the sola wood, but also lock in the moisture, keeping the flowers soft and pliable when you’re working them back into shape or rolling and pinching the edges of the petals. When the flowers are pliable, they are less likely to tear during the crafting process.
There are two ways to use Sola Wood Flower Softener: Pre-treatment method and One-Step Dyeing method
First, you have to have two separate wood dye and softener mixtures. The Wood Flower Dye ratio will depend on how saturated you want the dye to be. For the softener, mix 1 part softener with 10 parts of water. Quickly dip the raw flowers into the softener mix. Let the excess softener drip and set aside until dyeing.
Many crafters are torn between letting the flowers dry before dyeing, or dyeing the flowers right away after pre-treatment.
We noticed that wet, pre-treated flowers show less color saturation (possibly because the sola wood is still waterlogged from the softener mix. Let the flowers sit out a bit or air dry them for 12-24 hours before dipping them in dye and you’ll get more vibrant colors from dyeing.
This method is best for dyeing a batch of raw flowers in different colors. You can pre-treat the entire batch, and mix different colors of wood dye the next day to get the assortment of colors you need for the project.
If you want to use raw flowers for your project, stop at treating the flowers with softener, and let the flowers dry thoroughly before going to the next step of your project.
One-Step Dyeing Method
This is your typical dyeing process, with the addition of sola softener to the mixture (a tenth of the dye-water solution). This is a simpler way of treating raw sola flowers, but is best used when dyeing a batch with the same dye color. Just dip the flowers and take them out as soon as the dye is absorbed by the wood.
Use a wide bowl for both methods so make sure that the wood softener and dye coats the entire surface, including the inner petals. Use plastic or rubber gloves to be able to manipulate, shape, and fluff the petals while treating and dyeing.
The benefit of using sola wood softener becomes more evident years after creating your sola flower creation. With the softener sealing mixture in the flower petals, the petals are less brittle and the dye will not chip away. If you’re creating something you wish to last for years, the softener is an amazing insurance policy that will keep it as beautiful as it was on the day you made it.
Bottom line, using the Sola Wood Flower softener is ESSENTIAL. On a really hot, humid summer, you do not want to see your table centerpiece’s colors chipping. No other crafting supply can make longer-lasting flowers like softener can. Don’t forget to add it to your cart every time you shop for your Sola Wood Flower craft supplies.