Natural Dye Experimentation
A great way to refresh your wardrobe is with fabric dying. I wanted to experiment with dying fabrics and clothing. A much more sustainable way of doing this is with natural dye. Luckily many of these can be made from products already found in your kitchen cupboards:
- Oranges – Onion skins
- Pinks – Avocado skins and stones
- Browns – Walnut shells, coffee
- Yellows – Turmeric
- Greens – Spinach, nettle
I started with turmeric as it’s a beautiful colour, and I already had a large pack in the cupboard!
As it was my first time experimenting, I decided to just dye some cotton cord. Natural fabrics such as cotton, silk or linen take dye on much better than man made fabrics.
Firstly, I heated a big pan of water and either vinegar or salt, this helps prepare the fabric for dying, its roughly 4 parts water to 1 part salt or vinegar, I used salt. Then submerge your fabric, and boil for approx. 1 hour.
In a separate pan mix up your turmeric dye, their are exact recipes online, but I just guessed and added half a pan of water and a few heaped tablespoons of turmeric and brought to the boil. After it has simmered for 10 mins or so it’s time to add your fabric. Submerge in the turmeric dye pan and simmer on a low heat, stirring every now and then.
The longer you leave your fabric in the dye, the more it’s going to take to the fabric and the stronger and more vibrant your colour will be. I left mine in for about an hour or so. After that I rinsed until the water ran clean and saved the remaining dye for another project. Because natural dyes can be used again and again, but lose pigement over time.
Then hang it out to dry on the washing line and let the sun do its magic. As you can see when it’s finished the colour is a lot paler, the main downside of natural dyes, but I love the soft yellow cord I have created and can’t wait to start using it.
I’d love to hear if you try out natural dying and how you get on, comment here or head over to my insta here more updates.
11 thoughts on “Natural Dye Experimentation”
I’ve heard of natural dye before but didn’t know how to do it. I love natural things so thank you for these instructions. That’s really helpful and I’ll definitely try it!
Awesome, definitely try it, it’s always a fun experiment. Let me know how you get on.
I love to dye with beets. 🙂 great advice here!
Ooh I haven’t tried beets yet…maybe I’ll do that next!
They grow and use indigo to dye here in South Carolina and it’s such a beautiful process. It’s mostly on John’s Island outside Charleston. I know one of the ladies and have a hand dyed quilt if you ever want to try it. Looking forward to see what else you do. Love it!
That’s so cool, I’m actually going to do a indigo dye and shibori workshop in spring with my mum. So I’m excited about that
This is so cool and helpful! The tumeric makes such a pretty color.
Thanks so much, yeah turmeric is my favourite of the natural dyes I’ve found. Although it does fade over time
I need to look into this!
It really is so much fun, I’m going to try some other dyes soon