Natural Dye Plants

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP–Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com

Right from the dye Pot – Dyeing Cotton with Natural Fibers

Right from the Dye Pot – Cotton Dyed with Plant Fibers

Here are a few examples of cotton dyed with plants from the front and back yard!

Looking at the photo’s you may notice that some of these plants and material where dyed using solar power!  It’s fun and easy, simply put plants in a jar, fill with water, add the material and put the lid on.  Let it rest until for up to 4 or 4 days, if you can!

Once the material was taken out of the dye bath and hung to dry I didn’t want to throw the dye and plant material in the compost. Longing to capture some of its beauty I made plant fiber paper from it!

This post may contain Affiliate Links for your convenience, thank you in advance for your support! Renee


The garden plants & weeds used with dyed cotton

Bamboo – Leaves

 

Light shade of sage green 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

In this dye bath the bamboo leaves where brought to a boil and simmer with the cotton for a time and left for 24 hours.  More leaves where added and it was re-heated.  This was left for another 24 hours.  For future bamboo dye baths I would choose using solar and continue this process to achieve darker colours.


Bamboo – Stalks

 

Yellow highlighted pale shade of green!

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

In this dye bath the bamboo stalks where brought to a boil and simmer with the cotton for a time and left for 24 hours.  More leaves where added and it was re-heated.  This was left for another 48 hours.   For future bamboo dye baths I would choose using solar and continue this process to achieve darker colours.


Butterfly Tree –  Flowers

 

Rich Shade of yellow! 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

One can use fresh or dried flowers.


Butterfly Tree – Leaves & Stems

 

Bright yellow!

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

.more on dyeing with plants


Crocosmia

 

Bright Pale sunshine yellow!  

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.


Hollyhock

 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

Bright Shade of Pink with purple highlights! 


Maple – Pacific Northwest (red stems, purple & green sided leaves)

 

Pale Green with blue highlights! 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.

.more on dyeing with plants


Thistle – Leaves

 

Warm shade of yellow!  

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.


Yellow Dock – Leaves & Seeds (that have turned red)

 

Deep warm yellow! 

This cotton was prepared with an alum mordant after a soda ash bath.


Recommended Reading:

Mordant Cotton: 2nd Step to dyeing naturally

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP:  –Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com

The second step to prepare cotton for dyeing naturally is to put it into a solution to increase absorption of the natural dye.  I used Alum (Potassium Aluminum Sulfate).

When researching the use of  Alum to prepare cotton it is usually recommended to follow a three-step bath process of using

  1. Alum, followed by a bath of
  2. Tannin,  followed by another bath of
  3. Alum

Well I was experimenting and only did one bath of Alum.  I was using a product from an art store for marbling fabric and realized that it may be possible to use one bath.  This one step is usually done when using aluminium acetate, not sulfate!  The only difference is going to be in the depth of the colour.

The Process:

  1. I added 1/3 cup of Alum into a small dish of  hot tap water to dissolve.
  2. Filled a pot with hot tap water
  3. Rinse cotton in warm water and added it to the Alum bath to infuse overnight.  (you can leave material in alum water for up to 4 days!)

Once you take cotton out of the alum you can let it dry without rinsing out Alum or use it to dye!  Remember to leave Alum in.


Dyeing naturally with plants


One should be careful using any product like Alum ensuring not to splash it on bare skin or breath in the chemical reaction of adding the ash to the water.  With this in mind one is advised to wear gloves, glasses and a mask.  This is not to create fear of experimenting yourself, just advice to be cautious.  If splashed, flush with water.  

 

Scouring Cotton: 1st step to dyeing naturally

by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP – Living in Natures Love Lifestyles insideawareness.com

 

 

 

Scouring is the first step for preparing cotton or plant-based fabrics such as bamboo, linen or hemp. The purpose is to remove fillers and additives added in the manufacturing and marketing process.

This post may contain Affiliate Links, thank you in advance for your support!  Renee

To scour the fabric I use Soda Ash. Soda Ash, Sodium carbonate Na2CO3, is the water-soluble sodium salt of carbonic acid.  It is usually found in laundry soap.  In the pictures above you can see the differences in the colour of the solution before and after the scouring process.  The solution has turned yellow, yet, this material was washed and bleached before hand.  The chemicals used to give the material a stiff finish has been scoured out.

I weighed one piece of material before and after the soak as I was curious about how much would actually come out of the fabric.  Here are the results:

  • Cotton weighed 15.2 oz (434 grams) before scouring
  • Afterwards it weighted 5.9 oz (167 grams)
  • That is a difference of 9.3 oz (267 grams)

Imagine 9.3 oz!  That is more that  the weight of the cotton, itself.  What are we putting against our skin and using in our homes!

The Process of Scouring

The soda ash was slowly added to the water.  Once the water became clear I brought the pot ingredients up to a boil and then added the material.  I turned down the pot and simmered for two hours stirring every 15 minutes to unfold the fabric.

  • I used 1/3 cup of soda ash in this pot of water which is about 40 grams.  

If you take your material out and the solution is grey and dirty you make wish to repeat this process before dying.

Washing Soda with no additives has been used for this process, however the amount increases 3 times that of soda ash.  The results are not as good as if using soda ash.

 

More on:

 


One should be careful using any product like soda ash ensuring not to splash it on bare skin or breath in the chemical reaction of adding the ash to the water.  With this in mind one is advised to wear gloves, glasses and a mask.  This is not to create fear of experimenting yourself, just advice to be cautious.  If splashed, flush with water.