Dying flowers is a classic science experiment you can do with the kids that produces beautiful results. Find out how we made these pretty rainbow flowers with some fun learning about plant biology and colors along the way!

Rainbow Dyed Flowers – Materials:

– White flowers (we used roses)

– Food coloring or gel colors (we used gels)

– Plastic cups or containers to hold the flowers

– Scissors and sharp knife (to split the stems if you want a “tie dye” effect)

– Cutting board


1. Strip all the thorns and leaves off the roses and cut each stem in a slant to make it easy for the colored water to travel up.

2. Place your food coloring or gel paste in each container and fill with water. We placed enough to get a bright, vivid color for each container and followed the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo).

3. If you want to try the tie dye effect, split the stems of a few flowers into two and place each stem in two different color containers. You could even split the stems into thirds or fourths, but we stuck with two.

4. Be patient, wait and observe as your flowers color and bloom!

Here’s a close up of one of the split stems which we placed in orange and indigo.

Day 1: you can clearly see the roses gaining color and observe it starting at the tips of the petals.

Here’s a close up of one of our tie dye flowers, pretty neat to see it starting to get two-toned on each side!

Day 2: The flowers look more vivid at this point and the coloration at the tips is more evident.

On day two, we took the tie dye roses out since the split stems were starting to break off a bit. Although we didn’t get the bright multi-colors we thought we would, I love the soft and almost water color like effects.

Day 3: the roses are in full bloom and colors are definitely brighter all around, especially compared to day 1.

This fun science experiment resulted in such gorgeous pastel flowers that almost remind me of pretty tissue paper flowers. My kids (ages 5 and 3) had so much fun partaking and observing the changes along the way. Here are some of the learnings we applied:

1. Mixing and preparing colors – the kids helped mix the containers of color with water. We also talked about how to mix colors (indigo and orange) from our primary set.

2. Hypothesize, observe, conclude – I asked the kids what they thought would happen once we placed the flowers into colored water. I explained how the water travels through the stem as “food” for the flower. We talked about the split stems and how what would happen if we placed them into two different color containers.

Each day we inspected the flowers and noticed the color change and how it was first appearing on the tips of the petals. We also observed the difference in bloom from day 1 to 3.

The flowers are still going strong (now in a vase) after a few days past the experiment and look so lovely. This was a fun and easy science project for both the kids and I. I’d love to try it again with a different type of flower and use food coloring instead of gel colors since I read that gels don’t transfer color as fast or vividly. I guess that would be another experiment and hypothesis to test out!

Have you ever tried dying flowers before?

Also see:

10 Ways to Make a Pretty Floral Crown

12 Dazzling Flower Crafts

8 Easy Preschooler Science Experiments

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