Eco Dyeing With Flowers: Part 2, The Results!

It’s time to share the results from last week’s eco dyeing experiment! I can’t stress how much I enjoyed this project…it is something I am excited to practice at and do more of. We left off last week with the steaming – I steamed my bundles for an hour and then let them sit in plastic bags overnight to try and let the colors steep a bit more. As for the results…I have both good news and bad news.

If you missed part one, be sure to go back and read for instructions on how to prepare your bundles!

eco dyeing with flowers

When I removed the bundles the next day I knew immediately that one had worked and one most likely had not.  The one on top was the bundle made with a bouquet of roses, lilies, and chrysanthemums. The one on the bottom was a mixture of primroses, begonias, African violets, and more rose petals. I could see that the one on the bottom was much more colorful and had some dye seeping out of it. The bad news is, I was right about the first bundle.  The rose petals, lilies and chrysanthemums did not seem to have had any effect on the fabric and all I was left with was a slightly greenish tint to the cloth.

eco dyeing with flowers

The second bundle, however, was much more promising! It even looked pretty when I first unrolled it. Remove all of the petals and leaves from the cloth and hang it up to dry. Tip – save your plant materials! Let them dry out and use them to make some potpourri :).

eco dyeing with flowers

eco dyeing with flowers

I absolutely love how this came out! The flowers that worked the best from this first experiment are definitely the primroses (which were pink and purple) and the begonias (the ones I used were a reddish orange color). I think I’m even more excited about taking what I’ve learned and experimenting further…testing out new colors and patterns, there’s no end to what you can do with this! I was originally thinking about using this to make a scarf but I think I may just hang it right on my wall as a tapestry. If you are dying something that you want to be able to wash/wear, be sure to fix the fabric first.  To do this, let it boil for one hour in a large pot of 4 parts water to one part vinegar prior to dyeing.

eco dyeing wtih flowers

For instructions on preparing bundles please refer to Eco Dyeing With Flowers: Part One.

If any of you try this I’d love to see photos! Send ’em to :).

More DIY Projects from the BLDG 25 Blog.

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11 years ago

oh it came out so LOVELY!! the colors are perfect. that is such a fun project. i can’t wait to try it.
peace & love

11 years ago

It came out so pretty! This would be a beautiful scarf, but your right, I think it looks good on the wall as well.

11 years ago

This is fantastic! I can’t wait to try!

11 years ago

Hi Julia… We love this post..x We do a lot of plant dyeing within our range.. We use the local flowers of the tibouchina, gum leaves and she-oak to create our little pieces of art on silk..x check them out if you get a chance we’d love to know what you think..xx
Good luck with your plant dyeing..xx

11 years ago

Something tells me this will turn brown with time…. It would be awesome if it didn’t. I guess I’ll have to try and see!

11 years ago

i bought some cheap couloured flowers fom the nursery and tried this. i will put up my photos, the material actually turned out quite well!

10 years ago

Hey! I did this project on a white shirt…but when I washed it after wearing it the colors went away :/. Do you think there is anyway we could make the colors stick?

please and thank you,

10 years ago

I think I might try this with white pillow cases as well as a tapestry.
Love this idea!

Dawn Savage
10 years ago

Hi, I love your textiles you did, they are great and thank you so much for sharing how you did it. I have been anxious to try this method and plan on doing it soon. I live in Az. and want to try out some of our native plants etc. to see how they work. And leaves, need to find some of them. Blessings, Dawn

8 years ago

I used a vegetable dying technique and cooked the cloth and yarn in 1:4 vinegar solution too, but the color easily came out??

8 years ago

Can you imagine the colors if you used thinly sliced beets, broccoli and bits of orange zest? I think Ill try some fruits and veggies with this method!

7 years ago

My friend dyed fabric using a large hibiscus. She layered freezer paper, fabric, flower more freezer paper. taped every thing together and then pounded it with a hammer.
Se didn’t fined a recipe for setting the fabric.

7 years ago

When using plants and flowers to dye fabric, mordanting the fabric first will make the colors more permanent. Mordants bond with the fiber, and the natural dyes bond with the mordant, forming a more permanent bond. A common mordant is Alum. Silk can often be dyed without using a mordant, but cotton and linen usually need treatment first to get the colors to “stick”. Flowers and berries are usually less colorfast than using leaves. and a number of other websites have instructions on how to mordant different types of fabric before dyeing with plant materials. As far as I know, vinegar does not “fix” the colors when using natural dyes, but can modify colors because it shifts the pH to more acidity. Hope that helps with the colorfast issue… keep experimenting!

Ginny Heinzen
7 years ago

I am a silk artist and I am trying this right now, I put the silk and flower bundle in my pressure cooker for 1/2 hr, then I will place the bundle in a silk dye fixative. Hope it works.


7 years ago

HI Ginny, could you tell me what involves a silk dye fixative? I am dying using silk and making nightdresses. Thanks so much, can’t wait to try this it looks so beautiful!

Gloria Stone
7 years ago

Ginny, how did the silk dye fixative work on your dyeing and what fixative did you use. I am a novice and am just beginning to dabble in dyeing with different items and love the idea of silks.

7 years ago

This is lovely! May I ask how do you keep the color intact after many washes/laundry?

7 years ago

Ohh.. This really came out well, sure I am going to try this on weekends as I have received beautiful mixed flower bouquet on my birthday. Thanks for sharing.

7 years ago

Interesting. I must do and will try on silk firstly. THANK you so much for your help.

7 years ago

Hi, I think this project is beautiful and am anxious to try it. I know ordinary dyes set with boiling in a strong solution of salt but it might need to be done by adding salt to the steaming water as boiling later might remove the colours anyway.
A bit of trial and error I think.

7 years ago

Loved it! !!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!!!!

7 years ago

I tried it on silk it turned out beautiful. But I want to know how to permenent it.

7 years ago

Ohh, i’m very excited in this thing, i’m going to try this, not really done yet, but my mind is blowing with the nature!!! Thanks for being instructive, you’ve been a good bridge for this space of art. thank you person of the blog and people !!! bye bye

6 years ago

Anonymous there are a few things first pre wash with supricol or DAwn dish detergent. This gets all the stuff off the fabric then soak for 20 min or so in soda ash. Make sure you use safety first when working with soda ash. Wring lightly and hang to dry. Use the fabric, dry and iron that should do it. IF you want to re dye you will want to re soak. SOada ash opens the finer at a cell level which allows the fabric to accept the dye.

5 years ago

Have you thought or tried making the leftover petals into a loose leaf tea???