How to make Rainbow, Multicolored Roses


Rainbow roses, with their exotic, multi-colored blossoms and individually colored petals, are both attractive and unusual. For crafty do-it-yourself types, home-made rainbow roses can be given to friends or used as decorations for special occasions. What’s best, they can be made at home using standard materials that many people already have onhand.



Gather the appropriate materials before beginning your rainbow rose project. What you don’t already own should be easy to track down from local stores like florists, grocery stores, craft stores and big box retailers.

Essential Materials

  • Hand-held pruning shears or scissors
  • Bucket
  • White or cream-colored roses (preferably freshly cut)
  • Box cutter or pen knife
  • Ruler
  • Several tall glasses
  • Food coloring
  • Spoon
  • Tape, twisty-tie or string

Optional Materials

  • Tray (for containing the dyed water and preventing spills)
  • Gardening gloves (to prevent injury from thorns)
  • Rubber gloves (to prevent dye from getting on your fingers)
  • Rags (for cleaning spilled colored water)

Obtaining Roses

Freshly cut roses are best for this project because the capillaries in roses die quickly after being cut, influencing the rose’s ability to take in water. In other words, waiting a long time after cutting the flower will result in less dye reaching the blossom. This in turn results in weaker colors, and in some cases, the roses will not take in any water at all.

If it is not possible to get roses from your own yard or a friend’s garden, buy roses from a reputable florist. Roses from florists are often treated with preservative or conditioner to keep the flowers fresher for longer.

If you obtained your roses from a store, trim an inch off of the stems before beginning this craft project, then place the roses in a bucket of warm water while you prepare to begin your project.

Some tips for cutting fresh roses:

  • Cut flowers in the early morning or late afternoon.
  • Look for long, straight stems that are strong and wide enough to split into many pieces.
  • Bring out a bucket of warm water and put the stems of the roses directly into the water after cutting.
  • Once indoors, re-cut an inch off the stems while the bottom of the stems are still in water. Exposure to air causes inner the parts of the stem to die.


Rainbow roses are easy to make at home in just a few simple steps.

  1. Choose the colors that you wish to use to dye the roses. There must be a corresponding glass for each color.
  2. Fill each glass with 500 ml of warm water, and put 50 ml (or more) of food coloring in the water. Stir the water with a spoon to mix in the food coloring. Note that using more food coloring will lead to a darker, more saturated blossom.
  3. Add two teaspoons sugar and two teaspoons vinegar to the warm water. This is meant to increase the flower’s ability to take in water and will produce more deeply saturated colors in the petals.
  4. Select the first rose. Cut the stem of the rose to 40cm in length, using the pruning shears or scissors. Note that shorter stems will cause the roses to absorb water more quickly and the blossoms may become darker faster.
  5. Use the box cutter or pen knife to split the bottom of the stem into several different parts. The incision in the stem should start approximately half way up the stem. An easy way to ensure the cuts are clean and even is to make a series of short, separate incisions in the stem of the rose, then connect the incisions with a longer, straight cut.
  6. Place the rose into the water, with each section of the stem dipped into the colored water. This sounds simple, but getting the rose to stand up straight under these conditions can be trickier than it sounds. To keep your rose upright, try taping the rose to the glass. Better yet, if placing multiple roses into the glasses, try tying the roses together at the stems with a twisty-tie or string.
  7. Leave the roses to sit for at least 24 hours. The longer you leave the roses standing in the colored water, the darker the blossoms will be. Leaving the roses in the food coloring for multiple days may result in very dark roses, but be careful that your roses don’t dry up and wilt before you’re able to enjoy them.
  8. Remove the roses from the water when they are as dark as you want them to be. If desired, cut off the split portion of the stem.
  9. Place the rainbow roses into a vase. If the stems are noticeably damaged, you may wish to place the roses into a ceramic vase, rather than a clear glass vase.


  • If you’re hoping for darker colors in your roses, try this project again with shorter stems, and increase the amount of time that you leave the roses into the colored water. Do this multiple times, trying different stem lengths and with different amounts of dye in the water, until you’ve perfected your technique and found a way that works best for you.
  • Wear gloves at various stages of this process to prevent your hands from getting dyes or injuries from thorns.
  • To avoid stains, do not attempt this project on a table cloth or wooden surface.
  • This project is suitable for children as young as 8 years old, with adult supervision. Do not allow children to handle the pen knife.
  • As a variation of this project, roses can be dyed to a single color by leaving the stem intact and placing the rose in warm water that has been dyed with food coloring.

Keeping Your Roses Fresher Longer

Place your rainbow roses in a cool room without much exposure to sunlight. Roses will deteriorate and dry out more quickly when exposed to warm air and sunlight. If you wish to keep your rainbow roses for many days, try placing the vase of roses into the refrigerator at night, then remove the vase during the daytime when you can enjoy them. Consider using flower conditioner or preservative to keep the flowers fresher for a longer period of time.

Rainbow Rose Uses

Of course, rainbow roses make excellent mother’s day gifts and beautiful birthday presents as well. Use rainbow roses to decorate your home at holidays, for graduations or any special occasion.  Rainbow roses make creative and unique props if you’re staging a room for an open-house event, and they make excellent conversation pieces as well.

The first time you make rainbow roses, you’ll likely make mistakes. This is a project you’ll try several times before finding a method you’re comfortable with.

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