Eco Dyeing, the Earth friendly craft that anyone can do; transferring shapes and colours from nature onto textiles and paper.
Inspired by the New Year and a long summer with time to get crafty, we decided to learn more about Eco Dyeing and to encourage you to do the same too. It's suitable for kids of all ages, and I even thought it would be a fun activity for a baby shower - eco dyeing muslin wraps or little onesies.
Here is your How to ~
Decide what you are going to dye; we used two muslin wraps, one an un-dyed cream colour, the other we had previously dyed with cutch, to give it a coral pink colour.
While still wet or damp mordant your fabric, we use alum - available at the
Dye plants will yield the best results and chances are, you will find some of these plants already in your garden or neighbourhood; marigold, sunflowers, eucalyptus, madder, woad etc. Do note fruit/food plants like blueberries, onions, cabbage and beets will work and produce bright colours but as a dye they aren't colour fast, meaning the colour will fade with every wash. If you don't recognise any dye plants there is no harm in experimenting with what you can find in your back yard, try barks, leaves, flowers, seeds, stems, buds and roots sometimes they give the best surprises. These objects of nature can be used both fresh and dry.
Lay your muslin or textile out on a large flat space, and take time to place your collection of nature onto only half of it. We tried to lay out the pieces equally, but you could try to make a shape, play with symmetry, go for a minimalist look or throw it all on there, get creative and have a bit of fun with it. We used eucalyptus leaves and bark which can give reds/browns, marigold - yellow, lichens - colours vary from yellow to purple, weld flowers - yellow, avocado pits - pinks, harakeke/NZ flax flowers - browns and yellows and we had some indigo powder which I sprinkled on the coral muslin. For natural dye powders and ready to use dyes in NZ, again the Hand Craft Store
in Christchurch is good.