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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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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How to dye even colours (and why you might not want to)

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is something along the lines of, “How can I dye fabric with natural dyes and get more even colours?”

The truth is that is is very tricky to dye with totally even results; it’s a challenge even for experienced dyers. However there are certainly some tricks for getting more uniformity across fabric and garments that you are dyeing.

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