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!
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.
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.
I couldn’t resist… ;)
I decided to keep the rose petals towards one end and more green towards the other end.
Once you’re happy with how your flowers are arranged, place the stick on one end and roll your fabric around it.
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.
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!
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.