Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dyeing Fabrics Naturally

I think nature is so miraculous and all it's beatiful colors are delightful to look at.
I thought that there would be no better way to bring those colors into our house than to use nature itself to dye some fabrics, and then of course make a new cuddly quilt to show them off.
For a quick reference I checked online but didn't really get the info I was after. Maybe I was too impatient but instead I ended up resorting to my own common sense and started an exciting afternoon project.
It really was easy and fairly low on the intensity scale.
I am quite impressed with how it all turned out, and now I am commited to making the quilt....oh darn!! HeeeHeHe.
Before you start...
WARNING!!! IF YOU ARE UNCERTAIN OF THE PROPERTIES OF THE MATERIALS YOU ARE USING CHECK WITH THE POISIN CONTROL CENTER. AND USE RUBBER GLOVES TO BE SAFE.
I chose materials I was familiar and comfortable with as I was doing this with the kids.
What you will need:
Cotton Fabric, cut into desired sizes. I used an old sheet and cut into long strips.
Large Stainless Steel Pots, one for each color.
Wooden or Metal Spoons
Thongs or a Slotted Spoon
Salt
Natural Items to use for your Color. Check online for ideas if need be.
Step #1: Cut all the fabric.

Step#2: You will need to prep the fabric in a tub with 1/2 salt and 8 cups cold water. Let soak for an hour. Alternatively you can boil for a while in a pot. This is to make the fabric retain it's color.

Step #3: Choose your coloring materials and set each into a pot and fill with water to make a solution approximately 1/2 and 1/2. The longer you let it sit and soak the darker the fabric will become but I wasn't prepared to soak for days so I settled for 3 hours. Once it dries the color will lighten a bit though.

The dying materials I used first was a strong tea mixture of 5 cups water and 15 tea bags. I boiled them together, then removed from heat and added the fabric to soak.

I mashed a bunch of blueberries and it worked really well with just a bit of hot water mixed, ratio again of 1/2 and 1/2. The fabric soaked the color up fast. I thought it might as I often see its' staying power on the kids clothes.

I tried tumeric, dandelions, and cherries as well. I didn't use enough cherries but it turned out a nice mellow pink.

Here is my stove at about 1:00 o'clock this afternoon.

Step #4: When you think you have reached a color you would like, remove carfully and place in a bowl to bring to the sink.

Step#5: Rinse the fabric until the water runs clear.

NOTE!! If you use anything other than stainless steel , it may absorb the dye. In this case this awesome, but cracked, pot was purchased at a garage sale for this purpase, or I would be mighty sad.

Step #6: Once fabrics have been rinsed, hang to dry. Be inspired by your new colors and have fun bringing them into your home. Make a skirt, a table cloth or a quilt.

10 comments:

  1. Hi from Spain!! :D

    I love this! I would try it with mi little ones, thanks for sharing :)

    hugsssssss
    meni

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Saw this on Crafty Crow.
    This is fab! Thanks for sharing x

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this!! I saw this on Craft Crow and linked to it on Craft Gossip Sewing:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-dye-fabrics-using-natural-materials/2010/05/16/

    --Anne

    ReplyDelete
  4. his is great! Gonna try this for real!

    ReplyDelete
  5. wonderful! I am going to give this a try with all my dandelions! a good way to use up the weeds!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great idea. I once saved onion skins for months to use as a dye bath. It worked out well. The red skins dyed the yarn a lovely pink and the yellow skins a warm golden color. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oooh. You might want to put them through the wash before you get too excited. Things never turn out the color you think. Unless it's yellow.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm surprised by the incredibly bright colors you were able to get naturally. Have the colors faded at all? Did you rinse them after dyeing, and if so - how much color rinsed out? Which dye made the bright bright yellow color?

    thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I just love this post and the ideas and methods you shared. Very inspiring!

    I have a bunch of frozen raspberries - more than we can eat before they are available fresh again, so this would be a great way to use them!

    AND - I am going to share the results on my own blog soon when I use the fabric you have inspired in a little project I am sharing!

    ReplyDelete