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Everything you need to know about sola wood flowers

January 05, 2019 322 Comments

Sola wood flowers (or shola) are an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to cut flowers. Made from the renewable wood of a marshy plant (not tapioca or cassava as commonly misunderstood), sola wood flowers look like real flowers and last a lifetime.

Sola flowers are easy to dye and are popular for bridal bouquets, DIY crafts and interior decoration. We’ve put together your complete guide to sola, answering commonly-asked questions and sharing our best tips! We’re here to help your floral dreams come true!

What are sola wood flowers made from?

Sola (or ‘shola’) wood flowers are made from a plant called Aeschynomene aspera (rolls off the tongue, right? No wonder they’re simply called ‘sola’!).  It’s a plant that grows wild in marsh areas. Because it grows quickly, it is a renewable resource and one of the lightest known woods. If you’ve ever touched balsa wood before, it’s a very similar feeling.


The plant has a layer of bark that covers the internal, cork-like center of the plant (called the ‘cream’). In most flowers, the bark is stripped and the center is made into thin sheets. It is these sheets that are hand-cut to make sola wood flowers.


Sometimes, the bark is left on before the creation of sheets, creating a unique two-tone effect on the flower. These are called ‘bark’ or ‘skin flowers’.


How are sola flowers made? 

We’ve already told you about where the wood comes from, but how are the flowers actually created? Every single sola flower is created by hand and no machines are used. Every flower is composed of petals that are hand-cut from the delicate sola wooden sheets, and then composed to create gorgeous, realistic flowers. It’s an artisanal process that can’t be mechanized.


Our Luxe line of sola flowers is individually hand-crafted in small batches by skilled artisans. Using sola wood from Thailand, which can be shaped differently than the sola wood from India, this collection delivers an elevated level of craftsmanship over and above our already top-quality regular line.

What do I need to know to select the perfect sola wood flowers?

Even though all sola wood flowers are made by hand, there are differences in terms of quality. When shopping for high-quality wood flowers, you want to ensure that the flowers are made from whole sheets and that the final flowers do not have any flaws. Flowers with visible flaws are less expensive (produced by the desire to maximize the entire thin sheet, which is time-consuming to produce), but result in a less-desirable finished product.


Sola wood flowers are available in over 150 flower styles, so pretty much any bouquet idea you could create with cut flowers can be replicated with sola! You’ll want to read our post on selecting the ideal number of flowers for your bridal bouquet, and then from there, we recommend collecting inspiration photos and noting the mix of sizes and textures. Sola wood flowers can easily be dyed any shade (more info on that, below!), so all you need to do is select the individual flowers that best match your inspiration image. 


If you’d like a little help, our sola wood flower assortments are designed to be a beautiful blend of shapes, sizes and textures.

I’d love the best sola wood diy project recommendations! 

We’ve got you covered! The amazing thing is that if you can hot glue a flower onto it or stick a stemmed flower into it… you can do it with sola wood flowers. We love them so much because they are such a versatile medium (and you don’t have to worry about watering or wilting like you do with cut flowers).


While the list would be a truly long one, these are some of our favorite projects with sola wood flowers:

o   Wedding bouquets

o   floral arrangements of all sorts

o   wreaths

o   wall decor

o   baby mobile

o   floral crowns

o   jewelry

o   holiday ornaments


Can’t wait to get started on your next project? We’ve gathered our 5 most popular sola wood flower tutorials right here for you:

Want even more inspiration? You’ll want to check out our tutorials for inspiration as well as our facebook page, where we post craft projects twice a week. Also, check out our sola wood flower project video library!

How do you shape sola wood flowers?

Sola wood flowers can become squished in the box from shipping (you would be too if you were stuck in a box!). Fortunately, shaping wood flowers is easy to do.

 

Wood flowers are easily shaped by using a bit of room temperature water. Simply place the flower into a bowl of water, tap off the extra water and then use your fingers to gently shape the petals. Here is a quick video we’ve made that shows you this method: 

Just so you know, we would never ship out a flower that is this squished! But we wanted to show you that they really are quite shape-able.

You can also use a spray bottle of water to moisten the flower for the same effect. 

Finally, you can also shape flowers using a steamer, which is super-fun (but not necessary if you don’t want to invest in a steamer). Obviously, don’t allow your hand to get burned by the steam… it’s hot! 

Do sola wood flowers look like real flowers?

Depending on how the flowers are dyed, sola wood flowers can look very realistic. Don’t believe it? Have a look at this gorgeous bouquet:

 

But unlike real, cut flowers, sola wooden flowers don’t begin drooping the minute they’re arranged. Your bouquet will remain just as beautiful as the day it was created. With sola wood flowers, you don’t need to worry about timing at all. With cut flowers, time is of the essence, adding stress to already-busy days like weddings and parties. With wood flowers, you can create your arrangements well in advance and rest assured that the arrangement will still look stunning.

 

Sola wood flowers have a superior look to silk flowers, and have the bonus of being made from a natural material.

 

Did we mention that you’ll want to dye your flowers for a realistic look? That brings us to...

How do you dye sola wood flowers?

There are a number of ways to dye your sola wood flowers, including: 

  • Dipping your flower into watered-down acrylic craft paint (we’ll show you how!)
  • Spray painting (use a light touch!)
  • Painting the flowers with watercolor
  • Applying paint with a brush
  • Dip-dyeing your flowers with fabric dye or… wait for it, wine. Yup.

 

The three basic methods are using a brush to paint the dye on, spraying the dye/paint on (such as with a spray paint can or airbrush) or dipping the flower in a container filled with the liquid dye (or wine. You probably don’t want to drink it afterwards, but we won’t judge.) Have fun and get creative!

 

The simplest way to dye sola wood flowers is to use watered-down acrylic craft paint. Craft paint is affordable, comes in tons of colors and is easy to find at any craft store or even general supply store. Check out our step-by-step tutorial for how to dye sola wood flowers with acrylic paint. You can also use latex paint (with a 1:1 paint to water ratio) for the same effect.

 

Ready for the next level? You’ll love these 8 advanced techniques for dyeing sola wood flowers.

 

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

Most sola wood flowers will retain their shape after dyeing. However, the rosa and blanche particularly, are prone to uncurling. The techniques for reshaping these flowers is either to dry them in a particular way or to recurl the wood flowers. Here is a youtube tutorial we did showing a few other dyeing techniques including those flowers that can be a bit tricky! 

 

How do you stem sola wood flowers?

If you’d like to do a project that requires the flowers to be on a stem (such as creating a flower arrangement or bouquet), then you’ll need to add a stem. But fret not, this is SUPER easy to do!

 

To add a stem to your sola flower, simply cut a piece of wire (that you’d like to use as a stem), poke a hole in the base of the flower, remove the wire and add a dab of hot glue, and then re-insert the wire into the hole you created. Easy-peasy.

 

Want to see that in action (plus a few more tips)? Here is a video tutorial: 

As a side note, we typically stem my flowers as the last step before starting the arrangements. So, get your shaping and dyeing done before you do the stemming step! 

 

How many sola wood flowers does it take to make a bridal bouquet?

Sola wood flowers are an eco-friendly choice for bouquets for the modern bride. Brides (and their guests!) are often surprised by how realistic quality sola flowers look… they can be difficult to tell apart from cut flowers! But sola wood flowers have a number of advantages over cut flowers:

  • Whereas cut flowers have a limited lifespan that requires that the bouquet arranging be done just days before the wedding, sola wood flowers have no such expiration date. This means that you can arrange your bridal bouquet (as well as your bridesmaids bouquets, wedding florals, mother-of-the-bride corsage, flower girl basket…) weeks or even months in advance, reducing the stress and to-do list in the time leading up to your wedding.
  • And since sola wood flowers remain beautiful for months (even years!), your bridal bouquet will forever remain just as gorgeous as the day you walked down the aisle. This eliminates the need to pay for a pricey bouquet preservation service.
  • Sola wood flowers are an affordable alternative to cut flowers, especially considering that many bridal bouquets contain flowers that need to be flown in from all over the world to catch the perfect point in the growing season. Sola wood flowers come in over 150 varieties of flowers, so you can find exactly what you need for your perfect bouquet.
  • Wood flower bouquets are an eco-friendly way to create your dream bridal bouquet. Sola wood flowers are created from a renewable resource without the use of harsh chemicals and intense shipping distribution requirements of cut flowers.
  • Sola wood flowers can be dyed to perfectly match your bridal colors… which can be tricky to accomplish with cut flowers!

 

Now that you’ve chosen sola wood flowers to make your wedding dreams come true, let’s get started making your bouquet! You’ll want to head on over to our blog post how many flowers do you need for a bouquet for the full details!

 

In addition to purchasing the number of flowers recommended for your bouquet, we recommend buying a few extra flowers to allow you to experiment with your dyeing and find the perfect color for your special day! This allows you to play around with your technique and exact color without needing to use these sample flowers for the bouquet.

What basic tools do I  need to make a sola wood flower arrangement?

Craft Paint 

As we mentioned above, craft paint is an easy and affordable way to dye your sola wood flowers. One bottle (which isn’t expensive!) will dye A LOT of flowers. Really.

 

Clippers

To cut the floral wire for your stems, you’ll want a pair of clippers. Here is the link to the ones I use.  

 

Floral Wire

In order to add stems to your sola flowers, you’ll want floral wire. The higher the gauge number, the more flexible the wire is. We typically use an 18 gauge floral stem wire for vase arrangements as well as bouquets, but we recommend playing with a few different gauges and find your favorite. 

 

Floral Foam

Floral foam is great for holding the wires (stems) in place for vase arrangements and it’s easy to find at any craft store. To cover your floral foam, you can use things like paper, moss, or not cover it all depending on the arrangement!  

 

Some folks suggest using crack filler foam (like, for house insulation), and although it’s cheaper, there are pitfalls. First, you’ll want to make sure to fill your containers only half full because it will expand A LOT. Second, once you open a can, you need to use it right away, so it’s best if you have a ton of vases to fill. The nozzle tends to be really difficult to clean for multiple applications. Third, this stuff is pretty hard to get out of the vase once it dries. So, there’s that. But sola wood flowers last forever, so that might not be a worry for you! 

 

Hot Glue Gun

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! We use a power Ryobi hot glue gun (really, we love this guy so much, we’ve named him Vikram), but we’re professionals and you might not have that much glueing to do in your life! Any low or high temp glue gun will work just fine for your sola wood crafting projects. High temp glue tends to be more durable than low temp glue, and we haven’t had any of our glue loosen over our many years of hot glueing. 

 

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!  

 

Floral Tape 

We use this as a way to hold stems together while making a hand-tied bouquet. We also often use zip-ties or floral vinyl tape as great methods for holding stems together!


Ready to take your skills to the next level? Look out for Advanced tools for Crafting with Sola Wood Flowers blog coming soon! 





100 Responses

Jessica Walker
Jessica Walker

February 26, 2019

Very informative thank you. I can’t wait to try this now

Tracy
Tracy

February 26, 2019

Got my flowers in and have dyed them. Cant wait to make my bouqet out of them :)

Brittany Dove
Brittany Dove

February 26, 2019

Love your flowers and all the videos you do!

Katie
Katie

February 26, 2019

I wish I was talented enough to do this

Kim Haney
Kim Haney

February 26, 2019

Great wealth of information. I love that all the basic information to get started is here in one spot. Thank you so much for sharing.

Ruth
Ruth

February 25, 2019

My sister and niece use Sola flowers to make their arrangements. They are quality flowers! Love them!

Andrea
Andrea

February 23, 2019

Love your flowers and can’t wait to start assembling my wedding flowers!

Milley
Milley

June 26, 2019

I have never heard of this. I love your blog already

Sandra R.
Sandra R.

February 23, 2019

Love that I have been introduced to these flowers! Will have to try dying them with wine next!

Monica Blair
Monica Blair

February 23, 2019

Great info for Newbies like me! I love the quality of your flowers!

Kristy P
Kristy P

February 23, 2019

Thanks for all the great tips and videos.

Sara Cadima
Sara Cadima

February 23, 2019

Your videos are fun and informative. Thanks for the great info.

Whitney Foster
Whitney Foster

February 23, 2019

I just love flowers from Oh you’re lovely! Thank you for always posting amazing tutorials!

Evey Alvarez-Flores
Evey Alvarez-Flores

February 23, 2019

Looove these flowers! You guys are the best!

Monica🍹 Eisenman Patterson
Monica🍹 Eisenman Patterson

February 23, 2019

Have enjoyed the awesome ideas, so helpful, I will be decorating baby shower for a cousin with the Solos as well as a wedding for my Daughter in Sept.

Katherine Bakula
Katherine Bakula

February 23, 2019

I love the flowers and being diy!

Becky
Becky

February 23, 2019

I’m a sola addict! I love your flowers and they are always so beautiful! I’m glad to have found your blog and YouTube because you give out such great information!

carla swiney
carla swiney

February 22, 2019

So pretty

Carolyn
Carolyn

February 22, 2019

These flowers are so fun and beautiful. Will make beautiful decorations for my daughters wedding someday soon.

Shannah Ellenbecker
Shannah Ellenbecker

February 22, 2019

How long do the flowers hold colors? Is there an estimated time frame for each different type of “dye”?

Melissa Briones
Melissa Briones

February 22, 2019

So happy i found this site! The thought of having beautiful forever blooming flowers it amazing! And what a wonderful gift idea!!

Sarah
Sarah

February 22, 2019

Love!

Chelsea
Chelsea

February 22, 2019

Thanks for the helpful videos. These are great for first timers like me!

Kim Hunt
Kim Hunt

February 22, 2019

Has anyone used tea to dye flowers? Also I’ve sent a couple emails over the last week and haven’t heard back. Have you received any from me?

Nicole M Pierce
Nicole M Pierce

February 22, 2019

Great way to learn for beginners

Erica
Erica

February 22, 2019

I just started playing with Sola wood flowers and I can’t wait to incorporate them in my art and even better… my wedding flowers!!! Thanks for such a great product and thanks to 3Monkeys Home Accents for getting me hooked!!!!

Caitlin
Caitlin

February 22, 2019

I can’t wait to get my hands on some flowers. Learning how to dye them is what tipped me over the edge between observing and making!

Kristin Davis
Kristin Davis

February 22, 2019

So thankful for such a fun product!

Sheila Bond
Sheila Bond

February 22, 2019

The information in the Blog is so helpful. I love that these flowers are all hand made and they are so beautiful.

Megan
Megan

February 22, 2019

I have had so much fun with these flowers! I started playing with them so I could make my own bridal bouquet but now I’m obsessed!!!

Aldo
Aldo

February 22, 2019

Interesting, never thought of the Nu Wave. Thanks for the tips!

Teri
Teri

February 22, 2019

I love sola flowers from oh you’re lovely!! Thanks to the tutorials you have made it so easy to work with them and give great ideas for creating amazing pieces! Thank you so much!

Teri
Teri

February 22, 2019

I love sola flowers from oh you’re lovely!! Thanks to the tutorials you have made it so easy to work with them and give great ideas for creating amazing pieces! Thank you so much!

Teri
Teri

February 22, 2019

I love sola flowers from oh you’re lovely!! Thanks to the tutorials you have made it so easy to work with them and give great ideas for creating amazing pieces! Thank you so much!

Marissa McBain
Marissa McBain

February 22, 2019

This makes me want to put together all my wedding floral arrangements myself now! Thank you for this post!

Marilyn
Marilyn

February 22, 2019

I recently attended a wedding where your flowers were used in all of the bouquets. They were so beautiful that I was surprised that they weren’t fresh flowers.

roni gordon
roni gordon

February 22, 2019

Love it!

Kaylee Shuster
Kaylee Shuster

February 22, 2019

Very helpful information and very helpful ladies. You guys rock!

Molly W
Molly W

February 22, 2019

I ordered from Oh You’re Lovely and was so impressed! The flowers are beautiful, the staff are unbelievable, and the shipping time was so fast. Will definitely be returning!

Staci Engle
Staci Engle

February 22, 2019

I can’t wait to make my wedding bouquet from the sola flowers I just ordered from you!

Lindsay Bussick
Lindsay Bussick

February 22, 2019

My mom has been working with Sola flowers for a while now and they are amazing. I’m excited to take some of these tips and tricks back to her! These flowers are amazing- cheaper than so many other types and last forever.

Michele Mcbane
Michele Mcbane

February 22, 2019

This was great info!. super helpful!

Michelle Webb
Michelle Webb

February 22, 2019

Great advice!!

Marcy
Marcy

February 22, 2019

Love this 🥰🌼

Teressa
Teressa

February 22, 2019

I love sola flowers. Discovered them when I was helping to plan my brother and sisters-in-law’s wedding and used them to make all their wedding flowers. They were gorgeous and everyone kept commenting on how they’d never seen anything like them. Plus they can keep them forever. Now it’s my turn and I’m using sola flowers (natural and some dyed rose gold) and succulents for my bouquets, corsages and boutonnières. So excited for the final product.

Kristen Simmons
Kristen Simmons

February 22, 2019

This was so helpful! Thank you for posting!

Kara
Kara

February 22, 2019

Thank you so much for all of these tips and tricks!

Bethany W
Bethany W

February 22, 2019

I just discovered Sola flowers and cannot wait to try them!!

candi brown
candi brown

February 22, 2019

Very helpful. Thank you so much for do these! I was struggling with some of these and now my questions are answered!

Deborah Romero
Deborah Romero

February 22, 2019

Got my first order in this week and I’m so excited!

Kim Cummings
Kim Cummings

February 22, 2019

You are always so helpful! Thank you for your wonderful flowers!

Heather F
Heather F

February 22, 2019

I love these flowers!! We had so much fun dying them and they are beautiful!!

Kendra Teague
Kendra Teague

February 22, 2019

So many helpful tips!

Shannon
Shannon

February 22, 2019

This is very helpful.

Chloe
Chloe

February 22, 2019

I bought some Sola Wood Flowers for my wedding reception centerpieces and these instructions were super helpful on how to stem them and arrange them!

Sue
Sue

February 22, 2019

Thanks for all the tips and tricks! Love the things I’ve created with your flowers!

Erin
Erin

February 22, 2019

I LOVE this company and this product so much! Stefani and Maggie are so informative and kind, couldn’t ask for a better team!

Hiliary Wolfe
Hiliary Wolfe

February 22, 2019

sola flowers saved my wedding budget :) thanks ladies! Thank you for the care you take to be sure we get undamaged, good quality products QUICK!

April Wilemon Caldwell
April Wilemon Caldwell

February 22, 2019

My flowers from here are always perfect. She never disappoints! Great quality!

Emma
Emma

February 22, 2019

So excited to make my own bouquet for my wedding!

Alexa
Alexa

February 22, 2019

so informative. looks fun!

Shelly Pender
Shelly Pender

February 22, 2019

Love the way the flowers can be easily reshapen.

Sue smith
Sue smith

February 22, 2019

I love your flowers. Check them out everyday on your Fb page. Soso many. And they arrive s pretty perfect. Plus now you have filllers. Thanks you two .

Nicole
Nicole

February 22, 2019

This blog post is going to be super helpful when I start putting together my bridal bouquets!

Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn

February 22, 2019

Wow this is super in depth!! I’d love to see some of those wine dyed flowers haha! Also almost sold me on one of those silicone mats – one day!! Lol

Julie Pratt
Julie Pratt

February 22, 2019

I have been admiring your flowers for a while. I finally bought some after Christmas but have been scared to do anything with them. After watching a few of your tutorials I’m ready! They are short and sweet and you make it look totally doable! Can’t wait to make my first project!

Maureen Marks
Maureen Marks

February 22, 2019

Awesome tips! Thanks for putting them in one place. I am a beginner so this was perfect for me.

Kylie Thompson
Kylie Thompson

February 22, 2019

Love love love sola wood flowers! I’ve ordered from this website before and it’s phenomenal! There’s so many options and things to create with sola flowers!

Ambre
Ambre

February 22, 2019

Cant wait to use these (the flowers and your tips/tutorials) to make my wedding bouquet!

SARAH SULLIVAN
SARAH SULLIVAN

February 22, 2019

So excited to use these for my wedding in September! You all have provided so many awesome tips!

Danielle Ingham
Danielle Ingham

February 22, 2019

I love all your work!!

Jessica Staley
Jessica Staley

February 22, 2019

I love diy projects. It’s so much fun.

bn100
bn100

February 22, 2019

looks nice

Misty Hill
Misty Hill

February 22, 2019

Love these flowers

shannon zeidan
shannon zeidan

February 22, 2019

These are awesome! Ive never heard of sola flowers before this.

Victoria
Victoria

February 22, 2019

Thank you so much! This is so much fun to do

Jennylyn Gross
Jennylyn Gross

February 22, 2019

Cool greats tips!

Jamie Osterhout
Jamie Osterhout

February 22, 2019

Cannot wait to try these flowers. They look amazing.

Jamie Osterhout
Jamie Osterhout

February 22, 2019

Cannot wait to try these flowers. They look amazing. Lov

Samantha
Samantha

February 21, 2019

Your work is so beautiful!!! I admire your gorgeous creations and only wish I had this talent!

Stephanie Grant
Stephanie Grant

February 21, 2019

Thanks for all the wonderful information, it will be very useful in the near future!

Tiffany
Tiffany

February 21, 2019

I just got some flowers and this is really helpful before I jump into dyeing these.

Jessica Stamm
Jessica Stamm

February 21, 2019

This blog and this community of sola lovers has changed my life! :)

Grace
Grace

February 21, 2019

Love Sola wood flowers! So versatile!
Also pool noodles work great for the foam!

Angie
Angie

February 21, 2019

Can’t wait to try this product! Many of my teammies use them to decorate their designs. They are absolutely stunning!!

Calvin
Calvin

February 21, 2019

I think it’s the first time I have heard of these wood flowers

Alexis Delaughter
Alexis Delaughter

February 21, 2019

Wow, this is very informative and helpful! I will be putting quite a few of these tips to use! Thank you!

Dani Patton
Dani Patton

February 21, 2019

These are so beautiful!!!

Molly
Molly

February 21, 2019

I helped my neighbor with her daughters wedding and she used sola flowers. I have been interested in them since. A lot of great tips in this article.

Whitney
Whitney

February 21, 2019

Thank you for sharing so many useful tips! You ladies are amazing!

Leslie Kouroupakis
Leslie Kouroupakis

February 21, 2019

Love her tutorials. Beautiful flowers and easy to follow her tips and tricks. Very organized and put together business

Kealah
Kealah

February 21, 2019

So glad I found this site!!

Brianna Nederlanden
Brianna Nederlanden

February 21, 2019

Your blog and Facebook groups are so helpful!

Kimberly Johnson
Kimberly Johnson

February 21, 2019

LOVE this Group!! You can do d everything you need to know about Sola here!! Very informative!! The flowers are perfect!! And great turn around time!! Watch their Crafting with Coffee!! Fun!!

Mary M Dargis
Mary M Dargis

February 21, 2019

I’m saving this post for future reference.
Great info for us beginners! Thanks!

Kristan
Kristan

February 21, 2019

So happy I discovered your website! I’ve been working with sola flowers for years and love the diversity and information your site brings! Thank you! 💗

Krista
Krista

February 21, 2019

I’ve got my flowers! Can’t wait to see how they come out after dying. 2 more months to my wedding and I love that I am able to make my bouquets myself!! Thanks for the great tutorials!

Krista
Krista

February 21, 2019

I’ve got my flowers! Can’t wait to see how they come out after dying. 2 more months to my wedding and I love that I am able to make my bouquets myself!!

Olivia franko
Olivia franko

February 21, 2019

This is very helpful. I’m using your sola flowers for my wedding :)

Sarah Taylor
Sarah Taylor

February 21, 2019

I love to watch your tutorials and even though I can’t always tune while you are live, I’m thankful I can go back and watch later. You have so many tips and tricks…now to find my courage to make pretties on my own.

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