I absolutely love flowers. They always catch my eye at the grocery store, and they color the gardens in my backyard. However, there are times in the bleak midwinter or perhaps during the early spring where I'm looking for a pop of color but I don't have the money to buy flowers, or the time to take a trip to my local flower shop or grocery store.
These flowers will last through the years, and look bright and beautiful on a desk, shelf, windowsill, or anywhere you'd like to put them! They also make a lovely mother's day gift-- you can place them next to your cards, in gift boxes, on brunch trays, or anywhere else and it will give anyone a pleasant surprise.
Step 1: Materials
These flowers are made from salt dough, which is long lasting, easy to work with, and cost effective! For the salt dough, you will need:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup warm water
These are also just ratios of the ingredients. If you would like to change the amount of dough you make, you can scale the recipe up or down! For one flour, you should only need about 1/2 cup of flour and the respective ratio of salt and water.
You will also need:
- Food dye (color of your choice)
- Parchment paper
Some optional items:
Step 2: Making the Salt Dough
Mix all of the ingredients for the salt dough, until it makes a mixture that has a consistency similar to play doh.
Step 3: Color the Dough!
Separate the dough into two balls.
Taking one of the dough balls, make a well in the dough with your thumb. Add a few drops of your food coloring, knead the dough until it's a consistent color. This is where you can use latex gloves, as the color can get on your hands, however it washes off quite easily.
The various colors can get tedious and tiring to mix!
There are a few ways you can knead the dough, but I prefer rolling it into a fat worm shape and then folding it over. This places less of the work on my hands than if I were constantly kneading with my fingers.
Step 4: Creating the Gradient (Part 1)
This is where the fun begins! The idea here is that we will gradually add more and more of the colored dough to the white dough in order to make a gradient of dough balls.
Beginning with the white dough, pinch off a small chunk (about a 1 inch diameter) of the white dough and set it aside. This will be the center of the flower.
Take about a same size chunk from the colored dough, and add it to the big ball of white dough.Keep kneading the dough until it is a uniform color. It should be a very light hue.
There are more pictures of this process in this instructable I made about gradients!
Step 5: Making the Gradient (Part 2)
Repeat the step you did with the original white dough, this time taking a small ball from the light colored dough and setting it aside.
Again, pinch off some of the colored dough and add it to the big ball of the light colored dough, mixing until a uniform color.
Continue this process of setting aside small dough balls and adding more color until your mixed dough is the same size as what's left of the colored dough. You're now ready to start making the flower!
Step 6: Making the Flower!
To begin the flower, take the white dough and flatten it into a circle patty, about 1/4 inch thick. Roll the circle at an angle so it makes a spindle shape.
This will be the center of the flower.
If you have any more of the white dough, use it in the next step in adding petals.
Step 7: Adding Petals
Taking the next lightest color, roll out the dough to about the same thickness as the dough used to make the center of the flower.
Using the butter knife, cut petals from the dough. I like to make mine rounded, sort of like ovals with flat bottoms. You can also make the petals pointy! It's up to you how you want the flower to look.
You can also just pinch bits of dough and smush it into a petal shape with your fingers if you're feeling lazy-- it won't come out totally uniform that way, but it can also add charm to the flower by giving it a natural look.
For the first petal, press it onto the flower center so that the tip of the petal is about the same height as the center. It'll look a little strange standing upright, but keep it that way for now until a few more layers of petals are attached.
When adding the next petal, overlap it onto the first petal. Keep adding petals in the direction you choose (clockwise or counter, up to you), so that they make a spiral around the center. Once you run out of petals in your lightest color, cut petals that are slightly larger in width, and keep adding to the spiral.
Step 8: Finishing Up : the Flower
Once attaching the last petal, I like to go back and flatten out and curl the petals to create more of a natural look.
As you've been adding petals, you may have noticed a large buildup of dough on the bottom of the flower. There are two ways I like to deal with this:
You can pinch the extra dough off of the flower, and make salt gift tags! More on this in the next step.
You can also roll this extra dough on the flower to create the base for a stem:
- Taking a skewer, rod, or other long stick-like material that you want to use as a stem, push through the stem base you've created, through the flower's center.
- You can try to dry the flower with this inserted, however if you're baking the flowers to dry you will have to remove the stick and glue it in after it's completely dried.
Your flower is now done! In order to finish it up, it needs to dry. Place it on parchment paper, and consider the following options:
You can try to air dry it, which will take about 3 days (this is what I do!). You can also bake it at a very low heat in your oven (around 200 degrees F) for a few hours, making sure to check it out every once in a while.
Step 9: Finishing Up: Leftovers
You can pinch the extra dough off of the flower, and make salt gift tags!
To do so, you can simply roll out the dough, use cookie cutters or cups to cut out designs, and a straw to make your tag hole. This would be perfect if you're sending these flowers as gifts. Sharpies write well on the dried salt dough material, however you can make some messages and designs with rubber stamps on the wet dough as well.
You can also cut little shapes to go with the flowers, such as the stars depicted above.
You can also make a whole new flower with the leftover dough you pinched off the first! It won't make the same gradient effect, but it has its own charm in the variety of colors in the petals.
Step 10: Make Lots!
You now have a beautiful ombre flower! Feel free to make lots, and have fun with color combinations!
You can use the same method, and color both balls of dough to make a gradient between two colors.
If you use petals with all the colors of the rainbow, you can also make a rainbow flower!
These flowers are cost effective, and turn out as beautiful pieces that can be given as gifts! Have fun, and happy (belated) Mother's day! If you enjoyed this instructable, please consider voting for me in the flowers contest-- Thanks for reading!