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Everything you need to know about sola wood flowers

January 05, 2019

What are sola wood flowers?

Technically it is plant called: Aeschynomene aspera  but is commonly referred to as sola or shola across the world.  

It grows wild in marsh areas and is one of the lightest known woods.  

Many times the bark is taken off to expose the cream, cork like center of the plant.  That center is then made into thin sheets which are taken and are used to create the sola wood flowers by hand.  Yes!  every single sola wood flower you receive has been created by hand no machines are used!  Sometimes the bark is left on while creating the sheets to form the flowers and those we typically refer to as bark or skin flowers and create a two tone effect.  

  

How do you shape sola wood flowers?

The wood flowers are easily shaped by using a bit of room temperature water or you can use a steamer as well to help shape the flowers (this method is super fun but not necessary if you don't want to invest in a steamer) Here is a quick video we have created showing how to shape the flowers with a bowl of water.  

  

 

How do you dye sola wood flowers?

The simplest way to dye sola wood flowers is to use water-downed craft acrylic paint (its affordable, tons of color options, and easy to find)  once you get the hang of it you can try all sorts of different ways to color the wooden flowers (see below).  Here is a quick tutorial on how to use craft paint to dye your sola wood flowers. 

 

What kind of paint can you use to dye the flowers?

Besides craft acrylic paint here are a few other things you can use to dye the flowers have fun and get creative! 

  • Latex paint (similar 1-1 ratio of water to paint)
  • Spray paint (light handed, this will take a few days for the spray paint smell to dissipate) 
  • Watercolor 
  • Fabric Dye 
  • Wine (yup!  we have had a customer share with us their wine dyed sola flower project!)

 

How do you stem sola wood flowers?

All of our flowers come loose (minus the hydrangea flower) so what that means is if you are creating a floral arrangement or a bouquet most likely you will need to add a stem.  But fret not this is SUPER easy.  Here is a quick tutorial on how to do it! 

 

 

How do you reshape sola wood petals that have uncurled after dyeing?

With some flowers this tends to happen some of the most common that uncurl are the rosa and blanche.  They take a bit of extra time either with finding a special way to dry the flowers or a bit more extra work to recurl the wood flowers.  Here is a facebook live we did all about how to reshape some of those flowers that can be a bit tricky! 

 

What projects can you make with sola wood flowers? 

Pretty much if you can hot glue a flower on to it or you can add a stemmed flower to the vessel you can make a sola wood flower project but lets go over a few of our favorites!  To see a whole large library of project tutorials makes sure to check out our facebook page we do twice a week craft projects all about the sola flowers.  The library of videos can be found here!  

  • Wedding bouquets
  • floral arrangements of all sorts
  • wreaths
  • wall decor
  • baby mobile
  • floral crowns
  • jewelry
  • holiday ornaments

 

How many wood flowers do you need for a wedding bouquet?

This question will be based on a bit of the size flowers you get and the style bouquet you want but to get started here is what we suggest:

  • Small bouquet - 30 sola flowers in 2" sizes
  • Medium bouquet- 27 sola wood flowers ranging in 2-3" sizes
  • Large bouquet (around 12" in circumference) -  48 wood flowers ranging in 2-3" sizes 

We do suggest buying a few extra especially if you are new to dyeing the flowers so you can practice a bit and find the perfect color for your special day! 

 

What are some of the other tools you need/want when making a sola wood flower arrangement?

Sola wood flower tools

-Craft Paint 

As mentioned above we love using craft paint especially when you are starting out dyeing sola flowers at around $0.50 a bottle it's a great investment and you can dye a decent amount of flowers!  

-Clippers

Here is the link to the ones I use.  I have used these for over a year now and have to replaced them about 9 months in!  I use these to cut mainly my floral wire for stemming the wood flowers ( I have cut a lot of stems with these little guys!) 

-Floral Wire

I typically like to use an 18 gauge floral stem wire for vase arrangements as well as bouquets.  The higher the gauge number the more flexible the wire is.  I suggest playing with a few different gauges and find your favorite. 

-Floral Foam

You can get this at pretty much any craft store I prefer to use for my vase arrangements to hold the wires in place. (To cover the floral foam you can use things like paper, moss, or not cover it all depending on the arrangement)  Another suggest folks have made for affordability is to use crack filler foam, one tip if you go this route..... fill your containers only half full (it will expand A LOT) and have a ton of vases you will be filling because once you start to use the can its pretty much a one and done application, the can/nozzle tends to be hard to clean for multiple applications. 

-Hot Glue Gun

I use a power Ryobi hot glue gun link found here.  However, you do not need to use a power glue gun any low or high temp glue gun will work just fine for your sola wood crafting projects. I do prefer to use a high temp over low temp for durability I have yet to have any of my glue loosen or anything fall off on the projects I have done over the years. You will use the hot glue gun for stemming the flowers as well as using it to glue the flowers onto all sorts of home decor projects you come up with!  ( I do truly love this glue gun so much so though that over on Facebook during my crafty live videos we named the glue gun one time, his name is Vikram).  Another idea is to use a small crock pot and melt glue sticks in that, I have tried it once and it would probably work better in a pinch for a craft night with multiple people but it was a bit too messy for me.  

-Silicone mat

Now this supply isn't 100% necessary but, it is one of the handiest tools while hot gluing flowers and other various projects.  The silicone mat is great at catching the hot glue. Once completely cooled off you can peel the glue right off the mat and throw it away easy-peasy no mess!  Here is a link to the ones we sell in the shop. 

-Floral Tape (not pictured)

I primarily use this as a way to hold my stems together while making floral hand tied bouquet.  

A few other items here not picture but are fun to have as you grow your creative sola wood flower muscles:

  • NuWave Oven, I personally use this to dry all my flowers and when I was doing large craft shows it was a lifesaver  in terms of the prep work that needed to be done.  (I had mine set at 350 degrees for 5 minutes and then check, if they needed a bit more drying 1-2 minutes more but keep a close eye on them, since they are wood they can and will catch on fire) 
  • Steamer, this is a fun item to have when shaping a lot of flowers I however haven't found a brand that I absolute love as mine have always sputtered water. 
  • Airbrush, this tool is so much fun to use with those flowers that in particular uncurl when dip dyeing.  It also is a fun tool for helping create very realistic looking flowers.  I am still working on getting better at using this tool so I don't have many tips and tricks as I am still in the "making lots of mistakes" phase but the one thing I will stress is cleaning the airbrush after use is super duper important! 
  • Dehydrator for drying flowers, now I haven't tried this method yet but it has been recommended now a few times and since I have started one small fire with a batch of flowers from drying them in my NuWave oven I am intrigued by it, once I have one and have used it a bit I will update my thoughts on it! 

 

And there you have it all the ins and outs of sola wood flowers!  Did we miss something?  Have more questions?  Comment below and let us know and we will get you our thoughts, answers, and more in an upcoming blog post! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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