How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace

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One of my favorite wildflowers is Queen Anne’s Lace (a.k.a. Wild Carrot and Bird's Nest). And one of my favorite things to do each year with Queen Anne’s Lace is to dye it, dry it and place it in a dried floral arrangement or use it in craft projects.

Queen Anne's Lace can also be used as a teaching tool.  If you have kids, dying Queen Anne’s Lace would be a fun summer science activity. With this simple kitchen science and STEM experiment, kids will magically see and learn how plants drink water.  Scroll to the end of this article for the Kids Flower Science Project.

For more fun gardening crafts and ideas, visit our Gardening and Foraging page.

Learn how to dye Queen Anne's Lace flowerheads by watching this video or keep reading this post for a photo tutorial with step-by-step instructions.

Watch our video tutorial below or click the link if you prefer to watch How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.


How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Plant The Queen Anne's Lace plant grows about four foot tall along roadsides, in vacant lots, in fields and meadows, and I actually allow it to grow in my flower garden.  WHY?  Queen Anne's Lace acts as a host plant for the black swallowtail butterfly.  It can be considered an invasive weed but I consider it an attractive addition to my butterfly garden.  To control the spread, I give it adequate space and deadhead flowers before the seeds have a chance to scatter and pull out when necessary.

How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Plant Close Up The plant has a lacy flowerhead of flattened clusters of tiny white flowers with a single purplish/reddish floret in the center, most of the time.  They bloom from May to October.  The stiff, solid stem is hairy. 


How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Finished Bouquet


  • Queen Anne's Lace
  • Vase, Jars or Cups
  • Food Coloring
  • Water
  • Scissor



How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Cut StemsHarvest Queen Anne’s Lace flowers by using a scissor to cut the stems.  The shorter the stem the quicker the flowers will dye.

STEP 2: 

How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Mason Jar with Colored WaterFill one or more glasses halfway full of water and squirt 10 to 30 drops of food coloring into the water.  The more food coloring you use the darker and quicker the flowerhead will change. 

STEP 3: 

How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Diagonally Cut StemCut the flower stems diagonally.   

STEP 4: 

How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Stems in WaterPlace the stems in the vase making sure no leaves are in the water. 


Watch the flowers change colors.  Check the flowers every couple of hours and observe any changes. After 12 hours the flowers should be more colorful.  After 24 hours every more vibrant.

This year I wanted to dye the Queen's Anne's Lace orange and yellow to use in an autumn craft.   Here is a photo series of the flowers changing colors:

How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Stems taking in ColorThe flowers in the orange dye show a slight change in color.

How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Stems taking in more ColorThe bunch of flowers in the yellow food coloring dye has changed quite a bit already.

How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Stems taking in more ColorThe flowers are orange.

How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Stems taking in more ColorYellow is even brighter.

How to Dye Queen Anne's Lace - Finished Bouquet in VaseThe Queen Anne's Lace bouquet is a vibrant autumn color.

Now I can enjoy it as a floral arrangement or dry it to use in a craft project.

If you don't want to dye the Queen Anne's Lace, you can enjoy their summer beauty by just placing them in a vase with water.  However, to keep the flowers fresh and absorbing water, snip off a small piece of stem every two to three days.

Why do the Queen Anne's Lace flowers change color?

Most plants drink water from the ground through their roots. In this flower dying experiment, the colored water travels up the stem, via the Xylem, to the leaves and flowerhead through tiny tubes in the plant by a process called capillary action.  This is similar to drinking through a straw.   The water on the leaves and flower petals evaporates which is a process called transpiration.  The colored dye is brought up with the water but doesn’t evaporate and stays to color the flower.  



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(Observe, record predictions and results. Take pictures.)

STEP 1: 
Start by filling four glasses halfway with water and add 10 - 30 drops of food coloring. Stir vigorously.  

STEP 2: 
Cut the Queen Anne’s lace flower stems short and diagonally to aid water absorption.   For this kid’s experiment, cut the stems short so the water will travel up the stems quicker.  

STEP 3: 
Place the flowers in the colored water.  Have the child observe the flowers immediately after putting them in the dyed water and have them draw or take a picture.   

STEP 4: 
Now it time to sit down, relax and have a discussion on how plants and flowers drink water.  

How does your child think it happens? If necessary, lead the discussion in the proper direction.  For small children, make the explanation simple.   For older children, use some of the scientific terms.  Ask the child what they think will happen to the flower in the colored water over time.

Read them a book on how plants grow.  A few book recommendations are at the end of this article.

STEP 5: 
After a few hours, have the child check on the flowers.  Do they see any change? Record the results and take a picture.

Check again after 12 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours.


Some other ideas for flower dying experiments?

  • What happens if you use longer or shorter stems?
  • Does one color come through faster than another color?
  • What if you use a different white flower such as carnations, daisies, chrysanthemums or roses.
  • Split the stem vertically and place each half in different colors of water. What happens?
  • Show them how to mix primary colors together to make other colors.


Crepe Myrle Crepe Myrle - The dried seed pods and branches are an excellent resource of free craft material.

Propagate Geraniums Geranium Propagation - Never buy geraniums again! Learn how to start geraniums from cuttings.

Bird Bath Planter Birdbath Planter - Don't throw away a cracked birdbath or a birdbath that does not hold water. Learn how to make it into an attractive birdbath planter.

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

How a Seed Grows

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This Let's-Read-and-Find-Out picture book shows how little seeds become the plants and trees that surround us. by Helene J. Jordan - Paperback Affiliate Link to Amazon

How Plants and Trees Work

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This eye-opening book explores the amazing diversity of the natural world, examining how plants grow, reproduce, defend themselves, and survive against the odds in some of the harshest climates on Earth. Packed with pop-ups, booklets, and flaps and accompanied by detailed artwork, this hands-on, fact-packed guide explains key curriculum knowledge in an accessible and fun way that’s perfect for budding botanists. by Christiane Dorion - Paperback - Published 2017

Sun, Water, and Soil

Sun, Water, and Soil #ad

Teaching Kids How Plants Grow! Put in healthy soil, add some water and let it grow in the sun. This is how a plant would thrive. But there are many other things to know aside from this general truth! by Baby iQ Builder Books - Paperback - Published 2016

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