Sunday, August 15, 2010

#159 Dye Your Clothes Naturally

Check in your pantry, you probably have everything you need to dye your clothes. You will need either salt, vinegar, or alum to use as a fixative. And then the berry, spice, vegetable, fruit, grass, root, flower, etc. that you will use to dye your clothes.

My daughter and I took a class on Natural Dyeing at River Bend Nature Center and we dyed my swimsuit cover (which was stained and this covered the stained nicely) using black tea and a cami & pair of socks (using red cabbage). They were also dying items with carrots, but it only dyed items a very pale yellow.

At home we used grass and tumeric to dye items. I placed everything on a white sheet so you could see the color difference better. The tumeric dyed items an orange color. What is strange though is when I put it in the wash it was orange, when I took it out it was bright yellow, and then I hung it on the line to dry and it then turned back to orange. Strange.

The grass dyed items a very pale yellow. The difference is not very noticeable and you could not see the patterns left from the rubber bands (like you can notice on the orange tumeric dyed items). So after talking to my daughter, we decided that we will use the items and try dyeing them with coffee. FYI - for both coffee & tea you do not need a fixative and they seem to absorb the color much more quickly.

What I have noticed it that items are not dyeing a solid color very nicely and it's better to use rubber bands to create patterns so that the inconsistency in color looks like it was done on purpose. Although, my tea dyed swimsuit cover did dye consistently. We'll have to see how to the coffee works.

If you would like to dye your clothes with items from your pantry, yard & gardens, then check out this website for instructions and color ideas.

I plan on using this idea for natural dyeing in combination with another craft to have a Ladies' Craft Night in the future.

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