Botanical Dye
August 3, 2023
Botanical Dye

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Tie-dye at home using colorful dyes made from plants!

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People have been using natural materials to create colorful dyes for thousands of years! Join in the tradition by creating dyes from plants, some of which you might already have at home.

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Materials

  • Large, metal pot
  • Water
  • Strainer
  • Plant material
  • Something to dye (natural fiber like cotton or linen)

Instructions

  1. . Place the plant material in the pot with enough water to later submerge your fabric and bring to a boil.
  2. . Reduce heat to simmer for at least 20 minutes. Often, letting the plant material steep overnight will achieve the best color.
  3. Strain the plant material from the dye bath.
  4. Still on low heat, add clean fabric and let soak for at least 15 minutes to over an hour.
    The longer the soak, the brighter the color!
  5. Rinse your fabric and dry out of direct sunlight.
  6. Care for your dyed fabric with pH-neutral soap.

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Hibiscus Turmeric Black Tea Onion Skins
The dried petals of these showy flowers make a tasty tea as well as a vivid pink dye. This spice produces a vibrant golden-yellow dye.
Tip: place turmeric in a tea bag or piece of pantyhose for easy removal from dye bath.
Brew an extra strong pot of tea to give your fabric a light tan hue. Don’t throw those away! The papery outer skins of red and yellow onions create colors from gold to ochre.

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Black Beans Red Cabbage Citrus Rinds Get Creative!
Soak beans in water overnight and simmer this liquid to create a dye that ranges from steel gray to dark blue. Boiled cabbage creates a pastel purple dye.
Bonus: add vinegar to create pastel pink; add baking soda to create pale blue.
Use just the peel of oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits to make a light yellow color. Experiment with
different items from your fridge, pantry, or backyard. Avocado pits, pine cones, carrot tops… The colors you make may surprise you!

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