Carve your own beads for dyeing

Today I’m thrilled to invite Merlin Fox from Knives Fox Spoons to my blog with a fantastic bead carving tutorial. With just a few tools, you can make your own beads from elder branches – then dye them to make beautiful jewellery (or leave them a natural colour and simply oil them, if you prefer). It’s an easy and rewarding beginner project.

In the photo below you can see the beads after they’ve been dyed – the yellow is from pomegranate skins and the warm brown/red is from avocado skins. I show you how to dye wood in my new eBook, and in this blog, Merlin shows us how to carve our own beads!

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How to dye paper with natural dyes

In this blog post I’ll show you how to dye paper with homemade plant dyes. The pink dye is made from avocado skins and the yellow is from pomegranate skins. With just a few tweaks to my usual fabric dyeing method, we can easily dye paper.  Can you see the patterns on the pink paper? We will make those by painting paper with milk. It’s such a quick trick and I’ll show you how.

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The Nature Creative – An interview with The Dogwood Dyer

Have you ever wondered how to start a dye garden? Which plants should we begin with? If so, then you’ll love this interview with Liz Spencer – The Dogwood dyer. I started a small dye garden on my balcony this summer and one of the people who inspired me to do this was Liz, the textile artist behind The Dogwood Dyer. Today I’m honoured to welcome Liz to my blog. Liz is an incredible designer, natural dyer, grower and inspiring artist. So go and grab a cup of tea (it’s quite a long one!) and enjoy this inspiring chat with Liz about her plants and the tips she has for us…

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Painting with milk & dyeing with tea

If you’re just dipping your toes into natural dyeing, tea is a great dye to try first. But years later, I still love dyeing with tea. This tutorial is a little bit special… wait until you see the patterns!

Why do I love dyeing with tea so much? Almost all of us have some tea in the back of a cupboard, it contains tannins and dyes fibres amazingly well. Plus you don’t need any special equipment – you can use your cooking pans as we are working with entirely edible dyes.

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to dye your own furoshiki-inspired fabric wrapping cloths. It’s a perfect project for an absolute beginner in natural dyeing. I’ve used black tea, rooibos and dried nettle leaves for the colours.

Plus, this is a great zero waste idea. I used an old cotton bed sheet and tea I had in my kitchen. You could certainly reuse old tea bags or loose tea leaves to make the dye!

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The Nature Creative – An interview with Nurturing Soul

I’m delighted to introduce the first in a series of interviews called THE NATURE CREATIVE.

The first guest is Rebecca Fisher who is the maker at Nurturing Soul — a line of natural soap and botanical care products hand crafted in Scotland.

Rebecca uses botanicals to colour her soap and as you can imagine there lots of things I’d like to chat to her about. The cross over between dyeing cloth with plants and using botanicals as colorants in cosmetics is so exciting! For example, the red in the soap below was made with madder which is a traditional textile dye. It’s incredible!

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Dyeing with nettles

One of my favourite plants to dye with in the spring is the stinging nettle – it’s one of the plants I most look forward to. The leaves give me a soft grey-green hue at this time of year (maybe you get a slightly different colour?) – the colour just feels so fresh and “alive” at the beginning of spring.

In this blog post I’ll give your some of my nettle dyeing tips for the freshest colours, and also chat to two nettle-loving herbalists, Kim and Vicky, from Handmade Apothecary. They’ve answered some of my questions about nettles and helped me understand why lower heat works best when extracting dye from the leaves.

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