Let's Experiment!

Here’s a quick question: what is the best way to dye a sola wood flower?

Before you answer - just know that it’s in all likelihood an impossible question at the moment. Different styles of flowers need different techniques and you may not have access to the tools that seem to work for others. All of this will impact your end product.

But what if, instead of searching for the answer from others, there was a definite way to perfect YOUR methods? With definitive proof? Next time you made a bouquet, you could rest easy without having to worry about guesswork, allowing you to better focus on other tasks at hand. 

“Your method,” then, becomes the goal we’re after in order to perfect our output.

The more of these “methods” you find, the more guesswork you eliminate, and therefore the easier your process will be. Less thinking. More production. Less guessing. More consistency. 

So then the question becomes: how exactly to eliminate guesswork?

And the answer is: with experimentation.

Let’s Talk Experimentation

So why all this lead up to discussing experimentation? Because experimentation is the only way to perfect your process and to create your own methods and style!

Here’s a peek behind the curtain: a lot of the crafty blogs we publish are a result of experimenting and discovering new-to-us methods. In some cases, the thing I wanted to write about morphs into something completely different!

We experiment. We find a method. If it doesn’t work, we try something different. And when that method is locked in and works: we write about it and publish it. (If you’re looking for us to tip our hand, you can find some post-experiment blogs here, here, and here.)

In other words, the quickest path to expertise is through experimentation. And today, we’ll walk you through how to do just that.

First: Design Your Experiment

Before you get started, you’ll want to have some idea of what it is exactly that you’re exploring. Let’s go back to our opening question - what is the best way to dye a sola wood flower? In this case, you’ll likely have some built in parameters (for instance, flower style, paint type, and so on.) 

Once you know those parameters, try to play around within them. For instance, you may know you want a lovely red color for the flower. But what shade of red? Fire Engine? Candy Apple? Oxblood? Do you want full coverage or an ombre effect, do you want to use craft acrylic paint or house paint, etc.? You’ll still need to explore shades of red, but you know you can ignore shades of blue, orange, purple, and so on.

Have an idea of WHAT you’re trying to discover (is it the shade of red, the opaqueness of the paint, or some other flower painting mystery?). Ignore the other stuff. Then, tailor your efforts around finding a solution!

Next: Minimize Variables

This is one of the trickiest parts. In order for an experiment to be valid, as many things as possible need to match in experimental trials. 

For instance, we are aiming for the perfect shade of red for a sola wood flower. We should use the same flower style, the same water/paint glycerin ratio, the same method of painting (dip dye, hand paint, airbrush). The only thing we should be changing is the paint color.

In case you're wondering, craft smart "Holiday Red" is my go-to red!
Now, if we are instead testing the best paint to water ratio for the ideal opaqueness, the only thing that would change in our experiment is the amount of water used with paint. You will want to use a measuring cup for this type of experiment.

In other words, only change the thing you’re testing!

See If You Can Repeat The Experiment

So heads up: there is such a thing as the scientific method that is used by scientists the world over. We’re loosely following it here, but not word-for-word.

However, one key thing we’re borrowing is to see if you can recreate the results of your experiment in successive trials. If you can’t, the first one might have been a fluke. If you can, you may be on to finding your method! In other words: your experiment isn’t done when your experiment is done. You’ll need to try it again in order to verify!

Accept it as Your Method

As mentioned earlier, with every method you discover, you eliminate more guesswork. Not only does this speak to your growing expertise, but it ultimately makes your work more efficient as you’ll know the “recipe” for the things you’ve uncovered.

Now comes the really cool part: more experiments! Specifically using what you’ve uncovered!

Using the examples above, let’s say you’ve PERFECTED an opaque, beautifully red sophia. You can produce it every time and it looks great.

The next step, then, might be testing that red paint on a flower with curled petals. Will the color look the same if you need to use Mod Podge clear acrylic spray to hold the curls? Or maybe it is time to find the perfect navy.

Once you’ve found that next experiment, then find another method that works for YOU. With each discovery, you’ll get better, faster, and stronger at your craft.

Go Forth and Experiment!

Again, I want to reinforce that we all got where we were more or less directly through experimentation. Even with being given a recipe on the best way to dye sola flowers, there is a chance that will not end up being your best way. There is no one way to do it but there is YOUR way.

Experimentation is the key to finding that!

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