When I was making the wedding flowers for our friends, Kyle and Marcia, I found some instructions online for dyeing crepe paper streamers, which was appealing since there weren’t that many shades of crepe paper in their wedding colors, blue and yellow. The process was pretty easy, requiring only streamer rolls, food coloring and some shallow bowls, but it took several days for the rolls of crepe paper to dry, and I just don’t have that kind of patience.
Last month I was making another group of flowers for a friend who will be using them at her church. She requested pastel colors, and once again I ran into the problem of limited colors available in pastels, so I tried the dye technique again, and it worked really well. The instructions I found this time called for using alcohol instead of water, because it dries much faster. I didn’t have enough alcohol, and besides, I had another idea I wanted to try — using my convection oven to dry the rolls.
crepe paper streamer rolls in white or pastel colors
Although the rolls from the dollar store were cheapest, I found that for some strange reason they did not soak up the dye nearly as well as the ones I purchased elsewhere — I did end up using them, but it took longer, they are paler than the other brands, and I wouldn’t use them again.
The paste type was difficult to dissolve in water, so I tried the grocery store McCormick brand which worked well but only came in 4 colors — the best was the Wilton gel, which I found in 8 colors at Michaels.
shallow bowls that will accommodate the diameter of the crepe paper roll
I used the instructions from Brianna at CraftThyme (substituting water for the alcohol and using the food coloring mentioned above). For already colored streamer rolls, I only dyed one side of the streamer — the white rolls I dyed on both sides, sometimes with similar colors (pink/red or blue/teal) and other times with completely different colors. The colored water should soak into the roll almost immediately — if the color doesn’t come up as high as you would like, you can add a little more water to the bowl.
Place the dripping rolls on several layers of paper towel and put them in a convection oven at 175º until they feel light and dry. This may take 4 – 5 hours, and it helps speed up the process to turn them over halfway through. You might be able to use a regular oven to do this, but it would probably take longer.
Once they are out of the oven, peel off several of the outer layers, which are darker and kind of crunchy. This also removes the glob of wax, which sort of melts into the underneath layers.
Here are the rolls right out of the oven — they look darker on the outside than they actually are inside.
This is how they look once you have peeled off a few layers.
Here’s the flowers made from the dyed streamers . . . .
And here they are mixed in with the other solid colored flowers.
I managed to make some larger streamer flowers this time by sewing an extra half-width of streamer to my original strip before cutting and ruffling it. I’ll take some photos and write up a little tutorial, because the flowers turned out nice, and it wasn’t a big deal to add one more small step to the process.