Today I’m going to share a really simple method for making patterns with iron water. Iron or rust water can be use as a “colour changer” with almost all types of plant dyes. When iron comes into contact with plant dyed fibres, it shifts the colour to a deeper tone: we say that iron “saddens” dyes. You can modify an entire piece of fabric with iron to make a darker colour, or you can apply iron with a paint brush and create a darker pattern. Painting with iron water is one of my favourite ways to create patterns: it’s so simple and not messy at all!
In this blog post I’ll show you how to quickly and simply extract dye from coreopsis flowers using hot water. This makes a beautiful dye that can be used like watercolour paint. Then we’ll play with lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to make a wider range of colours. The paint only takes a few minutes to make and is lots of fun!
In this blog post I’ll show you how to dye a scarf with mahonia berries (also known as Oregon grape) with a simple tie dye stripe pattern. These are my local berries – in the early summer, the bushes are laden with hundreds of strands of these little purple jewels. Maybe you have other local berries growing abundantly. You can follow this recipe and use the berries of your choice. Berries are pH sensitive, so I’ll show you how you can adjust the colours and make multiple shades.
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.
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!
I’m really excited to launch my new eBook today called Botanical Dyes on Wood! You can order and download immediately as a digital download here.
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.
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.
Have you tried avocado dyeing but were hoping for brighter pinks? Or maybe you’ve been meaning to try for a while but had a few questions before you started. I hope the tips in this blog post will help you.