Last of the Solar Powered Natural Plant Dyes of the summer, ’18

Dye Pots of Natural Plants

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

From left to right:  Rue Seed Pods & Stems, Oregon Grape Berries, Hollyhock Flowers, Crocsmia Flowers, Fennel Flower/Seed Pods

In Victoria there was a window of high heat from the sun these past two years that created a perfect opportunity to dye with plant materials using solar energy.  This year I used the pails pictured above for convenience and found that the glass is a higher heat that lasts even as the sun went down.  I also found that dye in glass left  more consistent absorption of dye into the material.  .

Rue Seed Pods & Stems

The dye from the Rue plant parts creates a nice tan with yellow tones.  I found infusing the plant in water under the suns solar heat takes a couple of days for the dye to emerge.  Rue can be used as a repellent so I used the water to steer ants away from my front door and off my driveway after I was finished with the dye!

Oregon Grape Berries

I found the dye infusion was immediate with Oregon Grape Berries.  To begin it was a beautiful purple that after a few days in the sun deepened into a navy blue shade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hollyhock Flowers

The Hollyhock flowers create a beautiful shade of pink.  I love being able to pick fresh flower heads to add to the dye pot to continue adding depth to the colour.  This is one of the first plants I began infusing in water to create a dye.

Crocsmia Flowers

This plant turns the dye water to a bright orange.  However the dyed material turns a bright yellow with orange tones to it. This plant is also one of the first plants I experimented with.

Fennel Seed Pods & Stems

This plant creates a bright green with yellow tones.  It takes a few dyes to infuse with water in the sun before the colour emerges for dyeing. One has to be patient.

Read more and see pictures of Hollyhock and Crocsmia plant dyes


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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.


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Making Natural Plant Dye using Buddleia davidii

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

 

Commonly called the Butterfly Bush in our #yyj region, the plant parts of the Buddleia davidii can be used to create deep shades of yellow dye for paper, wool and fabrics.  In the above photo I chose to dye 2 pieces of cotton fabric using different parts of this trees plant material. The fabric on the left is a dye made from the flowers of this tree and the fabric on the right is created from the branches and leaves.  The deeper color on the left reminds me of the vibrant colors often worn by Tibetan Buddhist Monks.

Creating plant dye naturally is fun, simple, educational and easy.  I wish they would engage kids in our classrooms in their art or science classes!  

The steps to  create the dye – you can substitute other flowers, leaves, stems and roots!  

  1. I began by picking diminishing flowers from a friends tree remembering to  cut higher up the branch to get limbs and leaves.
  2. Separating them into two batches and putting them into two large pots.  The flowers in one and the leaves and limbs in another.
  3. Filling the pots with water completely covering the plant materials and heated to a boil.  Once boiling turned down to simmer for 20 minutes and then left to sit overnight.
  4. The plant materials where then strained out leaving the liquid to infuse the material.

The dye bath created from the flowers was thicker and much deeper in color than the bath created from the leaves and limbs.

Here are some samples of the dye bath water at intervals.:  The first picture was taken immediately after adding water to the pot and covering the materials.  Each of the next photos were taken as the water came to a boil at 5 to 10 minute intervals.

 

 


The material was added to the natural dye water and brought up to a boil on the *stove and reduced to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  This was then left to sit for a number of hours (overnight).  You can leave this to sit longer.  I have left dye infusions to sit for a few days to obtain a solid colour.

*I have begun to explore with solar energy to dye by placing a glass jar of water, plant parts and material in the sun to heat and sit infusing!  Wouldn’t this be interesting for children?

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