What Are Sola Wood Flowers?

What Are Sola Wood Flowers?

You may have heard about sola wood flowers as an alternative to real flowers and silk flowers — and I agree that they’re a really unique and beautiful choice for your wedding! But what exactly are they?

Sola wood flowers are biodegradable artificial flowers handmade out of lightweight cream-colored sheets of cassava, sola, or balsa wood plants. The thin sheets are crafted by artisans into both life-like and abstract flowers of all shapes and sizes. They last forever with proper care and storage.

Each sola wood flower is made by hand (no machines are used), meaning that no two flowers are exactly alike, and that each one will have slight “imperfections” just like a real flower.

Interested in learning more about these wooden beauties?! I’ll let you know where I bought the sola flowers for my wedding, give you a coupon code to save money on your next order, and let you know all things sola wood below!!


COUPON CODE: If you want to get started with your first batch of sola wood flowers today, head over to Oh You’re Lovely, a great small company with a huge selection of gorgeous flowers (plus greenery and supplies)! This is where I’ve purchased my own sola wood flowers for my wedding, and you can get a 20% discount on your order with the coupon code Wayfaring20 (limited to one per customer) 🙂 Enjoy!

Some of my sola wood flower roses!

What are sola wood flowers made of?

I wrote another article that goes into detail about what sola wood flowers are made of and how they’re made which I recommend you check out. Basically, sola wood flowers, despite all being called “sola wood” are generally made out of one of three plants, depending on the brand or artisan that you source your flowers from.

They’re mainly made of either (1) cassava/yuca, (2) sola/shola, or (3) balsa wood. Cassava is sometimes called yuca, and also sometimes mistakenly called “tapioca plant” because it’s used to make tapioca starch. And sola plants are also sometimes called “shola.”

All three of these plants (cassava, sola, and balsa) have very lightweight, ivory-colored wood which is usually completely stripped of its brown bark and then hand-carved into super thin sheets. These thin sheets are soaked in water by the artisans and then hand-shaped into many different flower shapes. Once dried, they’re ready to be delivered to customers!

Here’s a picture of two sola flowers with bits of wood that weren’t completely removed.

How long do sola wood flowers last?

If taken care of and stored properly, sola wood flowers last forever! I also wrote an entire article on how to properly protect your sola wood flowers from molding, and keeping them looking beautiful forever — check it out to avoid making the mistakes that many first-time sola flower owners make 🙂 I also talk about how to safely dust and scent your sola flowers.

In general, sola wood flowers are somewhat delicate — more delicate than say, silk flowers or other fake fabric flowers. They last forever, as opposed to real flowers, but they have to be taken care of. Because sola wood flowers are organic, there are really two main issues: MOLD and DRYING OUT.

If your flowers are stored in an airtight container, or in humid air, there’s a possibility that they’ll get moldy. I know… gross. You don’t want to go to open up your box of stored sola wood flowers to find them covered in fuzzy mold. That will not be fun. So keep them in a dry place, and if you’re keeping them in a box, make sure it has some airflow. And always let them dry completely after dyeing them.

On the other hand, sola flowers can become really dry and brittle, and can even begin to crack. This usually happens when you purchase flowers that are cut really thinly and then dyed without using glycerin. Glycerin is a chemical that you can use in the process of dyeing your sola wood flowers to keep them soft and pliable. I wrote about how to dye your sola wood flowers with vegetable glycerin in this article — don’t make my mistake! Avoid drying out your first batch of sola wood flowers by not skipping this step in the dyeing process.

Follow these pieces of advice — keeping your flowers dry, and using glycerin in your dyeing process — and they’ll last forever.

Sola wood flowers, one dyed (right) and one un-dyed (left).

What color are sola wood flowers?

Naturally, sola wood flowers are a creamy ivory color. And some, depending on the type (or “cut”) of flowers you order, will have some bits of barks left on them as part of their design (these ones are really interesting looking!). They also have tiiiiny little, barely noticeable, lines running through them that look like the veins you would find on natural flower petals. I talk a lot about the differences between the look and feel of sola flowers vs. real flowers in another post.

You can just leave your flowers like this, creamy and natural, pair them will some greenery, and voila — call it a day! This is a much easier route, and they look very beautiful and classy left in their natural state.

Sola wood flowers in their natural creamy ivory color.

However, if you want to dye your sola flowers, there are no limitations as far as color goes. You can completely design your dream bouquets, centerpieces, flower crowns, etc. to your heart’s desire… and do it way ahead of time if you want.

Sola flowers can be dyed any color and any design. They can be simply dunked in dye or hand-painted with a brush if you have more time. They can be painted natural “real flower” colors or you can go nuts and make them colors that don’t exist in nature. The choice is yours 🙂

After dyeing your sola wood flowers, you can stem them, and arrange them yourself in a bouquet of artificial or dried greenery of your choice.

What do sola wood flowers feel like?

Sola wood flowers don’t really feel like real flowers, but instead have their own unique texture. They feel soft and foamy, and are extremely light. To me, it’s like holding in my hand a flower made from super thinly-sliced Styrofoam.

Me holding my sola roses!

Are sola wood flowers eco-friendly?

Yes, sola flowers are organic, eco-friendly, and 100% biodegradable. The plants that they come from, which are also used to make many other products including tapioca starch, are hand-sliced (no machines involved). Artisans take these sheets, wet them, and then shape them by hand into flowers, tying them together at their base with a bit of thread.

They last forever unlike real flowers, and are biodegradable unlike silk or other artificial flowers.

The problem of eco-friendliness may be pretty obvious when it comes to a lot of fake, plastic flowers, but what’s the problem with real flowers? Unfortunately, many real flowers used in weddings have to travel great distances every day, causing a lot of unnecessary emissions from transportation. Many are grown using dangerous pesticides which are harmful for the workers and the ecosystem.

Sola wood flowers or real blooms sourced locally are probably the best options for eco-friendliness at your wedding.

A look at the “backside” of sola wood flowers, petals tied together with thread

How do you dye, fluff, and shape your sola wood flowers?

If you’re interested in getting started with sola wood flowers and are ready to dye your own, I suggest taking a look at this blog post from Oh You’re Lovely, which includes video tutorials on how to dye, fluff, and shape your sola flowers using water and acrylic paint.

If you decide to get your flowers from Oh You’re Lovely, don’t forget to use this coupon code to get 20% off your order: Wayfaring20 🙂

Me and an orange lotus that I painted 🙂

Why use sola wood flowers for your wedding?

So, what are the benefits of sola wood flowers? This is just my opinion but it will vary from person to person for sure. I’m interested in finding eco-friendly, budget-friendly, and unique wedding planning options. And I think that sola wood flowers satisfy each one of these categories.

They’re more eco-friendly than other artificial flowers on the market, and more eco-friendly than many REAL flower options (as discussed in a previous section!).

They COST WAY LESS than real flowers. Real flowers can cost couples between $700 and $2,500 according to a recent Wedding Wire report. Sola wood flowers cost a fraction of that… it would be really hard to spend that much money on sola wood flowers without filling your entire house with them.

And you can KEEP them after! Or use them to decorate your house, or give them away to friend… or make new decorations out of them. Unlike real flowers which simply die.

And finally, they’re super unique. There’s an intrigue about sola wood flowers because who doesn’t want to see and feel “WOODEN” flowers?! That’s how I felt when I learned about them for the first time and I’m excited to share them with others!!

Where to find sola wood flowers

There are a few places to find sola wood flowers online. As I mentioned before, I bought mine and was really happy with Oh You’re Lovely. My flowers were beautiful, shipped quickly (even though I’m currently in Canada and they ship from the States!) and they have really good customer service.

Brittany

Brittany is a writer, teacher, and a graduate student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She started the website Wayfaring Weddings as a way to share her research on affordable, eco-friendly, and less stressful approaches to wedding planning.