Recycling Old Silk Flowers and Garlands

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Recycling Old Silk Flowers and Garlands

You have seen them everywhere– bags of those ugly old silk flowers and garlands. I even have a few in my garage. Well, believe it or not there is a use, even for those.

  • I have spray painted things like faded silk geraniums red and tucked them into my flower boxes with my real flowers and people can’t tell they aren’t real.
  • Try different colors. For example, if you like the shabby chic look then spray paint all of the silk flowers white and tuck them in different places.
  • Silver or gold will look great with many different styles of decorating.
  • Spray paint your old silk flowers black and use them to decorate for Halloween. The more worn the better.
  • Don’t forget you can paint those ugly old vases, too. They work especially well for things like Halloween decorations.
  • I just found a bunch of glass pop bottles. Instead of tossing them, I am going to spray paint them all white and line them along my kitchen window sill with a colorful flower in each one.

You can buy special silk flower paint, but I just use regular spray paint. I don’t stress about it if they don’t turn out or if the paint starts to peel after a bit. I was going to toss this stuff anyway, so I don’t have anything to loss and I might have a lot to gain.



Photo By: Brianna Lehman


  1. Bea says

    I like the Shabby Chic look and I like flowers too, in fact, I was just putting out some silk wildflowers today in an old water pitcher I have, and also some silk sunflowers in a vase. I put away the Christmas flowers and brought out some Spring ones. I don’t care if it’s only January, I’m looking forward to Spring.

  2. Gayla T says

    When my youngest child went to school I went to floral design school and then worked as a florist for over 20 years. I only changed career fields than because I have fibromyalgia and needed something less strenuous. I could not begin to tell you how many flowers I’ve dyed over the years. The floral paint you refer to is actually a dye that soaks into the fabric instead of laying on the surface and it is routine in the business. Many customers would come in with a swatch of fabric and want a flower that matched exactly and of course it didn’t exist until a florist makes it match. The same thing is true of Brides. No matter what you use to change the color it works best if you hang them upside down to dry. An inexpensive thing to use if you don’t have floral foam to stick them in is sand. It’s heavy enough to keep the vase from tipping over, too. I always use sand in the things I take to the cemetary. Florists use a lot of ribbon in arrangemnts and that’s because ribbon is cheaper than flowers and fills up a lot of holes. You also see a lot of sticks in arrangements and the sticks you buy are not any prettier than the ones you cut yourself. You can bend a stick that is fresh cut into any shape you want as long as you don’t bend it too far too fast. I often tape a stick into a curved shape on a piece of cardboard until it dries into the shape I want it to be. Since I moved into this house last April, I’ve been spraying flowers a lot. My last house had woodwork painted white so I used all pastels with a shabby chic motif but it looks silly in this stately old home. It has the most wonderful woodwork and ceiling beams so I’ve gone with a bit of a darker Victorian theme. The dining room still has it’s original stained glass windows above a buffet/china cabinet at one end. They have red,gold and green in them so I sprayed a lot of flowers red and use the lighter yellow from the old house for accents. You would think if you saw them that I had bought all new flowers to match this house. This house has 9 ft. ceilings so none of my drapes would fit. I priced fabric and searched high and low for drapes for all these big windows. I happened to stop at a store called Big Lots and found enough to do all the windows for $8.00 a pair and they are beautiful. Not only are they long enough to fit my long windows they are long enough to puddle. If you don’t watch the decorating shows on TV, that’s having some fabric that “puddles” on the floor. When these stately old homes were new, being wealthy enough to have fabric to waste was in. Actually it still is unless you shop the discount stores. LOL So, now you know my secrets for home decor on a dime.

    • says

      Good ideas Gayla. I know what you mean about the decor not fitting the house. You and I need to do an exchange of things. : ) I lived in a big Victorian house with all the dark wood and antique furniture to go with it and tall ceilings. I now live in a 1940’s very small low ceiling house and the victorian furniture is not working at all. I am really think shabby chic would look better but I hate just dumping my antiques in case I move someplace I use them. Thank goodness Tawra likes them and I have given her quite a few of them. Anyway right now my house looks like it is having an identity crisis with antiques, shabby chic and modern all throw together and no it isn’t the cute eclectic (sp) look either.

      Good tips on the flowers. One thing too always start with your greenery when doing an arrangement and use lots of it then just tuck a few flowers in because that way you can get by with using less of the more expensive flowers and use more of the cheaper greenery or sticks like Gayla mentioned. Love painted sticks.

  3. Ruth says

    Thanks. I didn’t know that flowers could be dyed/painted. I volunteer at a thrift store and people often donate tired looking arrangements. Now I know how to revive them.

  4. says

    When I lived in my log cabin I had a ton of windows and flower boxes for each window. I wasn’t able to do real flowers one year but I had a bunch of live greenery growing in the boxes. I had these dead looking silk geraniums and sprayed them a pretty shade of red and tucked them in with the greenery. It made the cabin look so cute and people couldn’t tell the flowers were fake because of the live greenery.

  5. Alma says

    I have people bring me the flowers that have been thrown away off of the headstones from the cemetary’s. I just take them apart clean the flowers up and put them in other arrangements. One would never know were the flowers came from.

  6. Sandra Lee says

    Refreshing tired flowers. Get or maybe you have some of those small bottles of acrylic craft paint (Plaid, etc.) in the colors you like. Mix it in about 1/2 cup of water and dip your flowers then hang upside down until dry. Try orange or red or pink on tired yellow roses and you can have a varigated ” peace rose” effect that looks much more natural than the all one shade bright colors.

  7. Myra Dolence says

    Years ago, my father – who was a painter by trade = would take flowers that were new and spray them LIGHTLY with a clear varnish. We used them on the graves of the relatives and they could be used for years.

    I pick up flowers all the time from Thrift Shops, that are in good shape – spray them and use them over and over.

  8. Mary Jane says

    Individual “petals” of silk flowers can be separated from the stems and then flattened and appliqued onto clothing. Finish off with a few beads or a bit of embroidery. Plain ladies’ cardigans can be refreshed with flower petals on the area where a brooch would be worn. I once did a plain mock neck t-shirt scattered with silk maple leaves in fall colours, tumbling down the front. Use your imagination…even old blazers or denim jackets can be given new life. I especially like the idea to cover up a stain or tiny hole in an otherwise serviceable or much loved item of clothing.

  9. Trudy says

    All these ideas are GREAT and I am definitely going to use them—-can’t wait to dye some of my silk flowers—-you ladies have wonderful ideas, so glad I came upon this site, THANKS!!!!!!!!!!

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