diy natural plant dyes

We are constantly creating and thinking. There are days we spend only at the computer, but then other days we crave to use our hands and connect to something a little more primal, our instinctual creativity we have as women. Creativity is such a gift and our feminine energy is restored while we create with our hands, even if it doesn't turn out right, just the act of doing, fills up our hearts.  

Last week ,we decided to have a little fun and dye our canvas bags that our Earth Mood perfumes come in. It took us about a full day, theres quite a bit of waiting time, but then we also played around a bit. The whole procedure is pretty simple, you just have to have some patience and channel that ancient female in you that actually did this on a regular basis. Let's get back to natural with some vegetable and fruits dyes!

time details: these will overlap!

  • fabric prep: approx 1 hour 
  • dye prep: approx 1 hour, the longer the more saturated the color 
  • fabric dying: varies 1 hour- overnight, this is entirely up to you, the longer it is in the more saturated the color will be. We chose to go a shorter amount of time for more pastel look.
  • dry time: overnight or whenever you decide!

what you will need: 

  • fabric you want to dye- we like to use natural fabric! Also, have some test fabric to practice with first! Then use that shirt you love. :)
  • 1 large bucket or several depending on how many dyes you make
  • 1 large cooking pot or several, again depending on how many dyes you want to make
  • wooden spoon or something to stir with (it will get dyed so make sure you do not care about it or would like a little extra spice to it)
  • string to create drying line
  • clothes pins 
  • vegetables and fruits
  • vinegar if using vegetable dye
  • salt if using berries to dye 
  • apron! 

Step 1:  Go to the store and pick your vegetables and fruit!

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Get a good amount, the more plant matter the more dye you can make. 

  • Orange: Carrots + Turmeric 
  • Lilac: Blueberries
  • Green: Spinach + Grass (outside, obvi)

Step 2: Prep the fabric!

Grab your large bucket, vinegar, salt, + water! We did this outside by a hose to make our life easier and we just love being outside, but you could easily do this in your sink and plug the drain, so there would be no need for a bucket!

1. Make the appropriate mordant depending on what you are making 

  • Vegetable/Plant matter (anything but berries) : 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water
  • Berries: 1/2 cup salt for 8 cups water

2. Add fabric to the mordant for 1 hour

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Step 3: Begin your dyes!

This part is really fun, it is where you get to experiment and create! Grab your big cooking pot, spoon, test fabric, and plant matter!

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1. Cut up your plant matter, it makes it easier for the color to seep out. 

2. Add twice as much water to plant matter in the pot and bring to a boil.

3. Then bring to a simmer and let sit for 1 hour or longer depending on how saturated you want your color! Keep using your test fabric to see what your color looks like. 

4. You may feel like adding more plant matter or boiling for longer depending on your color, just do what feels right to you!

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Step 4: Time to dye your fabric!

Once you get your desired color, its time to dye your fabric, outside and wearing an apron, unless you want to dye your outfit, thats up to you. :)

1. Grab your bucket and pour the dye into it. Make sure you strain out the plant matter as you do so! We made the mistake of not doing it because we were so excited!

2. Add your fabric to the dye! Your fabric should not be dry, but should wet from the mordant solution it has been sitting in. Do not forget your fabric that has been sitting in salt goes with the berry dye and the fabric sitting in vinegar goes with any other plant dye! 

3. Let the fabric sit in the dye for at least one hour, but maybe a lot longer depending on how saturated you want the color. We left all ours in for about 1 hour to get a pastel look. *Remember that the color will become lighter when it drys and when you wash off the excess dye.

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Step 5: Dry the fabric

1. Set up the dry line! We used a tree, a fence, and some string to create a drying line. Just tie the string between two sturdy things to create your own line.

2. Once you get your desired color, wash off the excess dye with water. We just used a hose outside. 

3. Squeeze your fabric of excess liquid and then place on drying line. You can either drape it over the line or pin it up with clothes pin!

4. Let the fabric sit for as long as it needs until it drys! 

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Step 6: Congratulations! You have beautifully naturally dyed fabric! Yay! 

Remember to play and experiment and make this recipe your own! There's so many alterations or tricks you can do, this is just the basic recipe for natural dyes. Unleash that inner creative goddess and get lost in the process. 

 

with love + gratitude,

Finney + Lyndsey

 

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Finnigan Jones