As many of us are in lockdown whether voluntarily or mandatory now is as good a time as any to distract ourselves with some simple projects. Considering that many of us can’t leave our homes & some of us may be feeling the economic pinch, this project is based on using food or food waste you may have without having to purchase anything. Here’s an easy natural dye project you can do at home with a few simple ingredients.
In order to keep things simple & skip the mordanting part which I spoke about in a previous article, you will need to choose ingredients that have Tannin or Tannic Acid in them. The tannic acid naturally present in various ingredients will act as a mordant, fixing the colour to the fabric and increasing wash and lightfastness. A few things that are high in tannin are yellow onion skins, avocado stones, black tea or coffee. All you need for this project is a pot, whichever dye you choose & something to dye, water and your stove.
As you will all be using different size pots, don’t get caught up on quantities or ratios at the moment. Just use what you have and see this as an exploratory project. If using avocado stones you will need at least 4, if using tea bags I would recommend at least 10 & for onion skins the skin from at least 5 onions. Of course, if you want to add more to get a stronger dye please do. You will need something to dye, maybe a pillowcase, napkins or an old top that you no longer wear. I would recommend starting with something cream, white or off white in colour. You will need to wash what you have to remove the oils. Do this by washing with either 1 teaspoon of dish soap or 1 tsp of baking powder ( do not add detergent ).
Something to dye , we recommend any of our dye ready 100% linens
Natural dye ingredient
1. Fill a pot with water & add dye ingredients, bring to boil & reduce to simmer.
3. Simmer noticing when water starts to change colour and dye is released, this will be different depending on dye ingredient used.
4. Strain dye ingredients, top-up water if needed & add material making sure piece has enough space to move around freely, do not cram the pot.
5. Keep on the lowest heat, stirring occasionally, leave the item in the pot until it starts to take up the dye & you are happy with the colour. This will be different for everyone & could range from 10 minutes to overnight, again depending on the colour you like & what dye you use. When satisfied remove from the pot.
6. You can hand or machine wash as normal.
Something to note, depending on what you choose to dye with each will take different times to release the colour. Tea and coffee will be the quickest with avocado stones taking a few hours to release the dye.