You may be thinking about getting sola wood flowers for your wedding because of how real they look and feel, how long they last, and because of their eco-friendliness. But what exactly are sola wood flowers made of?
Sola wood flowers are made from one of 3 plants: a woody shrub known commonly as yuca or cassava (Manihot esculenta), a sola or shola plant (Aeschynomene aspera), or balsa wood (Ochroma pyramidale). With bark removed, the lightweight, corky inside of these plants is shaped to mimic real flowers.
I recently bought sola wood flowers for my own wedding from a company called Oh You’re Lovely (which I highly recommend and even have a coupon code for, which I’ll share with you below) and I became really curious about what the flowers are made of and how they’re created.
Here I’ll talk about what I’ve learned in my research: The plants that make up these gorgeous organic and artificial flowers, where sola wood flowers come from, and how the artisans make them.
You might also want to check out my post: Do Sola Wood Flowers Last Forever?
Coupon code for Oh You’re Lovely: You can use the code Wayfaring20 to get 20% off on your next order from Oh You’re Lovely! 🙂 (one code per customer)
Why are they called “sola wood” flowers?
Many companies and artisans use sola (also called shola) plants, which look and feel like wood, to create sola flowers and so it makes sense that they would be called sola wood flowers.
As wood, or “wood-like” flowers have increased in popularity, more lightweight woods, roots, and shrubs have started to become used to make flowers as well. All of these flowers, regardless of the exact plant used to make them, look and feel very similar and have all come to be called “sola wood flowers.”
What are sola wood flowers made of?
As I mentioned, sola wood flowers are mostly made of one of three plants, depending on the company and the artisans. I’ll talk a bit about each one here.
1. Yuca or Cassava Roots: Some sola flowers are made from a woody shrub called yuca (not to be confused with yucca), and also called cassava depending on who you ask. Its scientific name is Manihot esculenta and it’s native to South America. Yuca is a starchy, edible root and a good source of carbohydrates — a huge source of food for half a billion people! That being said, do NOT eat your sola wood flowers because eating raw yuca is not safe! You may have eaten tapioca before — a starch which comes from the cassava plant.
Yuca (pictured above) is shaped like a long tapered tube, and has a thick brown outer layer which is usually completely removed to make sola flowers. Although there are some designs that keep some of the brown skin on the flower and they look really beautiful.
2. Sola or Shola Plants: Some sola wood flowers are made from sola, also called shola, plants, whose scientific name is Aeschynomene aspera. Sola plants are native to many countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, and Thailand. It’s one of the lightest woods in the world and feels corky to the touch making it ideal for mimicking the look and feel of real flowers. Oh You’re Lovely artisans use sola plants to make their flowers — the ones that I purchased for my own wedding. I highly recommend checking them out and making sure to get 20% off (with the discount code Wayfaring20!).
3. Balsa Wood Trees: Some companies, although I couldn’t seem to find many, use balsa wood trees, scientifically referred to as Ochroma pyramidale, to make flowers. These are fast-growing trees with lightweight, spongy wood that are native to Mexico.
How are sola wood flowers made?
The process of making sola wood flowers differs from artisan to artisan and company to company, but seems to be generally quite similar. All sola wood flowers that I’ve seen so far are created BY HAND by artisans! No machines. How cool is that? It means that every individual flower is slightly different and unique… just like real flowers!
One of the plants described above (yuca, sola, or balsa) is stripped of its bark or skin, and then the inner white cork-like center is sliced into thin sheets. In some cases, the bark, or parts of it, are kept on the flowers for a different, natural multi-colored look.
The white sheets are soaked to soften them up and then gathered and shaped by hand into any number of incredibly realistic looking flowers. You can watch the process of making sola wood flowers out of cassava plants in this video:
Are sola wood flowers made of eco-friendly materials?
Sola wood flowers are made of completely eco-friendly and sustainable materials. They’re 100% biodegradable and don’t require nonrenewable energy to create. Their creation celebrates artisans and craftsmanship over mass machine production.
I only learned about sola wood flowers really recently and fell in love right away! I see them as a great alternative to other, less environmentally-friendly flower options at your wedding, and also a cool way to be really creative and involved in the crafting process of your own wedding decor, bouquets, headpieces, etc… I’m really excited to start making stuff that will last long after my wedding — and be a lot cheaper!
You may also be interested in learning more about eco-friendly (and not-so-eco-friendly) flower options in my other posts:
Can you make your own sola wood flower arrangements?
Yes! Of course! It’s awesome! You can buy sola wood flowers of any sizes and shapes that you want, stem them, dye them, and arrange them with any greenery your heart desires. To arrange your own flowers (be it bouquets, flower crowns, centerpieces, boutonnieres, etc.) you may need some of the following materials:
- sola wood flowers of your choice
- acrylic paint (if you want to make your sola flowers all different colors — they come in their natural cream-white)
- a hot glue gun, to add the stems
- greenery (which you can find at Michael’s or any hobby store, or at Oh You’re Lovely)
Is it possible to make your own sola wood flowers?
Sola wood flowers can be made at home but they take some work and you’ll probably need to practice a bit before you get the hang of it. For the petals, you can make wood shavings yourself, or buy wood shavings/thin sheets of pre-cut balsa wood (or yuca or cassava plants). You’ll need to hand cut the petals and join them together using a hot glue gun.
This can be fun if you’re reallllyyy crafty or into wood-working, but personally I would rather buy the flowers already made by the artisans and then arrange and dye them myself.
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed reading about what makes a sola wood flower! If you’re now excited to buy your own and start crafting, visit Oh You’re Lovely, check out some of their awesome arrangement and dying tutorials on YouTube, and happy experimenting!! 🙂