Weekly updates from BLDG 25

Eco Dyeing With Flowers: Part 1

I have always loved experimenting with natural dyes.  The colors found in nature, in flowers, plants, and vegetables are so much more vibrant and beautiful than artificial colors, and it’s extremely rewarding when you are able to capture that color on a piece of fabric and wear it.  It’s also just really fun to do, and something I’ve been wanting to experiment more with ever since my first experiment with fruits and vegetables.  I recently discovered India Flint, an innovator in the art of natural dye, and her work completely blows me away.  She is an expert when it comes to eco dyeing and her book “Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes For Beautiful Textiles” is a must-read if you’re interested in learning more about this practice.  She and other eco dyers use a method of covering a piece of fabric with your plant materials of choice, and wrapping it around a stick and tying it into a little bundle that is then steamed.  I was intrigued and knew I had to attempt it!

eco dyeing with flowers

What you need: A piece of fabric, a stick, and flowers.  You’ll also need a stove, large pot and a colander (if you don’t have a steamer) to steam the bundles.

eco dyeing with flowers

Lay out your piece of fabric and start placing the flowers on it.  The first batch of flowers was a bouquet that included roses, lilies, and chrysanthemums. I decided to take the petals off of the rose and spread them out a bit.

eco dyeing with flowers

I couldn’t resist… ;)

eco dyeing with flowers

I decided to keep the rose petals towards one end and more green towards the other end.

eco dyeing wtih flowers

Once you’re happy with how your flowers are arranged, place the stick on one end and roll your fabric around it.

eco dyeing with flowers

eco dyeing with flowers

I decided to make two bundles because I wasn’t sure how the flowers I chose would work out.  For the second one I used some primroses, begonias, African violets, and more rose petals.

eco dyeing with flowers

I love the deep red color of these African violets, and their leaves have a nice color too that I hope works well for this!

eco dyeing with flowers

eco dyeing with flowers

eco dyeing with flowers

eco dyeing with flowers

Once your bundles are rolled up, wrap them with twine to secure them.  When I get home I’m going to steam them for an hour.  I don’t have a steamer, if you don’t either, just place a colander inside a large pot and fill with water up to the bottom of the colander.  Place the bundles in the colander and boil the water to let them steam.  After an hour you can remove them and let them cool over night.  If you want to give them more time, put the bundles in airtight Ziploc bags and let them sit for a few days.

I can’t wait to see how this works! Stay tuned, I’ll reveal my results next week!

UPDATE: Check out the results in Eco Dyeing with Flowers, Part 2!

More DIY Projects from the BLDG 25 Blog.

Photos by Julia.


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Zoe -January 22, 2013, 8:36AM

Really cant wait to see how these turn out.


Brooke -January 22, 2013, 8:56AM

I loved the veggie dyes, and this looks like even more fun. Can’t wait to see how it turns out and try it myself. And thanks for sharing the book, I’ll have to check it out!

MacK Mars -January 22, 2013, 9:34AM

What a cool idea! Can’t wait to se how they turn out :)

MacK @ SoulMakes Blog

Eva -January 22, 2013, 9:47AM

this is great- excited to see the final result!

Lindsey -January 22, 2013, 10:00AM

This woman creates some amazing natural dyes and projects. Check it out.

fp julia -January 22, 2013, 10:17AM

Lindsey – yes! That’s India Flint who I mentioned in the post :) She is amazing!

paige -January 22, 2013, 10:34AM

I love Eco bundling!! I’ve done this on silk velvet and it turned out so beautiful because silk takes dye so well–also try giving the fabric a light dusting of turmeric in certain areas before you steam it and it will add a bright yellow in between the pinks…I also used a lot of purple wildflowers to create a darker variation. If use the right combo of flowers you can get some really beautiful dye techniques!! I like to call it rainbow unicorn surprise

elizabeth -January 22, 2013, 10:49AM

This is so cool. I have a question about the steaming…do you have a lid on? Thank you for bringing such interesting things to all of us.

fp julia -January 22, 2013, 10:56AM

Hi Elizabeth! I would keep a lid on if possible, just to keep all the steam in the pot :)

fp julia -January 22, 2013, 10:57AM

Thanks Paige, i’ll try the turmeric next time! great idea :)

Kylie Sartini -January 22, 2013, 11:59AM

Yay!!! Just add this to the list of reasons why I love free people :) such a lovely idea! Xo

Kylie Sartini -January 22, 2013, 11:59AM :))

Savannah Marie -January 22, 2013, 12:20PM

This is a beautiful idea! I have tried natural dyeing once (different method) & wasn’t too impressed with my results. This seems like it may work out better. I’m headed to Amazon to pick up that book you suggested! Much thanks.

Have a beautiful day!

Savannah Marie

Lauren -January 22, 2013, 12:29PM

What a beautiful woodsy plan! I’m very excited to see how this goes for you and then I will copy it. :)

Ladaisi Blog
Ladaisi Etsy

Angie Rask -January 22, 2013, 12:38PM

I love experimenting with different dying techniques as well! As a designer, I am always looking for new methods to try. Great idea! Can’t wait to see the results!

diyearte by L & S -January 22, 2013, 3:49PM

can’t wait!!!!!

DIY and more:
diyearte by L & S

Sarah -January 22, 2013, 6:08PM

Man! I wanna see the finished results real bad…just came across this on Pinterest and am quite intrigued at the idea of natural dyes. I work with yarny fibers and might have to try this with that. Or something of the likes.

Megan -January 22, 2013, 7:00PM

I can’t wait to see the finished results!! I really want to try this

Tiara -January 22, 2013, 8:29PM

This is so cool. I wanna try this!

Kimberly Watson -January 22, 2013, 9:36PM

I love how Free People won’t hire someone without a college degree, but they will let someone take a picture with a manicure that looks to be several weeks old. Gross.. if I were taking the photos, I would not allow this… Thank GOD I am a photographer, and you don’t need a degree to be an artist to spot what looks good in a photo and what clearly does not.

Ashley -January 22, 2013, 9:48PM

Free Spirits don’t need perfect manicures.
Crunchy left over nail polish might actually be preferred. :)
And I think the photos are lovely.

Maggie -January 22, 2013, 10:57PM

It makes me so sad when people are unnecessarily rude :(
Anyways, I can’t wait to see the results! I wish I could try this – but I can’t in my dorm room. Guess it will have to be a summer project. Keep up the good work, FP! <3

Dian Wahyu -January 22, 2013, 11:44PM

Hi, Julia!
This is an interesting method.
What size of your fabric that you use in this experiment?
I want to try this eco dying in a large fabric approx 1.5×1.5 yard.
Can you please tell me how to do it?

Brie -January 23, 2013, 2:42AM

Such a great idea!!! I can’t wait to try it!!! I wonder what other plants and flowers will work– will have to do some experimenting. What will you use the finished fabric for?

As for the nail polish, mine looks similar right now… hehe. Some of us are just too busy having fun! :-)

Have a beautiful day and keep the awesome ideas coming!

Jennifer -January 26, 2013, 10:57AM

I was just curious how this project is going so far. I would like to try it but want to know if it really works. I look forward to seeing the results…. good or bad.

Anonymous -November 5, 2013, 12:17PM

what flower works best with dye and why

Katherine -March 28, 2014, 3:37PM

Do you have a picture of the final work??

colored Printing -October 12, 2014, 9:44AM

Hi, i feel that i saw you visited my blog so i came to return the
desire?.I am attempting to find issues to enhance my website!I assume its good enough to make use of some of your ideas!!

jacqueline -June 9, 2015, 4:07PM

so you didn’t use a mordant? did the color last?

sunita -June 26, 2015, 7:37AM

I loved this idea and will try for sure…Thanks

Tarun Modi -October 2, 2015, 2:10AM

This’s another beautiful post from you! Natural dyeing is indeed an appreciation in terms of feel of freshening colors and no risks of synthetic harms!

franco -October 11, 2015, 11:36PM

You need to use a mordant (usually vinegar), and sun exposure to fix the stamp to the fiber.

Christiane -June 21, 2016, 10:16AM

Do you use anything to set the dye, like vinegar, etc? I want to try this. would this work on felted fabric as well, or could you use muslin?

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