Update: This post originally ran on September 21st 2011 but we wanted to bring it back as a reminder of how fun and environmentally friendly natural dyes are!
It’s time to share the results of my natural dye experiment! This was such a fun project – I definitely recommend it as a great rainy day activity :) For my first experiment I used beets, onion skins and spinach. While the spinach did not work (as one reader also mentioned after my previous post) I was really pleased with the beets and onion skins!
The beets were such a beautiful deep red color! I chopped them up and added water and when I started boiling the water turned red almost immediately.
For the onions, I peeled off the skins and used only that part – I have seen other examples of this online that yielded really nice results but I was actually doubtful that this would really work. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised!
I had high hopes for the spinach… if anyone has tried this with spinach and gotten good results let me know what your secret is :)
After bringing each ingredient to a boil, I let them simmer for an hour while I prepared the fabrics to dye.
Since I was working with all vegetables, I used a fixative of four parts water and one part vinegar. I let the fabric simmer in this mixture for an hour, while the dye ingredients were also simmering.
Finally, it’s time to see the results!
I put the fabric in the dye and let it sit for a little while – the longer you let it sit, the deeper your shade of color will be. I removed the fabric when I felt like it had reached a nice shade of reddish pink – such a pretty color:
I was happiest with the color I got from the onion skins – a beautiful amber that worked so well on the fabric.
Wouldn’t it be cool to make friendship bracelets using naturally-dyed string?!
By the next day, the fabric dyed with the beets faded into more of a light pink color, but it was still really pretty! I think next time, though, I would leave the fabric in the dye for longer. The fabric dyed with onion skins actually held out really well, and I LOVE the color it created. I loved it so much, I tried it out on one of my Free People bras :)
Now that I’ve got the technique down, I can’t wait to experiment and try to make more colors. The drop cloths I was working on ended up looking tie-dyed, and now I want to try tie dying with natural dyes as well!
If any of you have tried this, let me know what ingredients you’ve had success with!
For instructions on making natural dyes, view the post here:
Wednes-DIY: Making Natural Dyes